GENEVA PARK TUCK SHOP : A HISTORY

To the best of my recollection, the following is a recap of the events leading up to the creation of the “new” tuck shop:

I the late 70’s, early 80’s, I was a member of the Cottage and Program Committee (CPC), and ultimately chaired the combined committees CPC and the Building and Grounds (BG). I set up 4 sub committees, Land, Water, Social and BG. Each of these sub committees were responsible for consulting with staff on the programming for those areas and included running several work weekends. Land involved; (tennis, gym, fun run etc.), Water included; (swimming, sailing, canoe/kayak etc), Social set up; (Sunday service, discussion nights, support for David Clark’s “Cooch” book, the 75th anniversary etc.). It worked very well for a number of years. Every year in June, we would have an on-site meeting with Management and the new summer staff to discuss areas of concern and needed resources for each program area. That included a “walk-about” to identify certain opportunities. It was during one of those walks that the resurrection of the tuck shop became a reality.

So, let me digress and bring you up to date on some of the history of the “old” tuck shop (1934-1965 pictured below).

The old tuck shop was a revered meeting place for all kids and family members. People I talked to remembered the old screen door banging behind them as they went out to the covered porch to eat that beloved ice cream cone. The Miss Orillia tourist boat would pull up to the Government dock so people could buy their ice cream treat at the tuck shop. Many remembered the fish over the fireplace and the old phone booth outside. There were many tears and expressions of angst when it was torn down to build the Centennial Center, (1965). The Centennial Center was completed I believe in 1967.

The tuck shop then became an open window inside the Centennial building, beside the office check in counter and across the foyer from the auditorium. It no longer had the ambiance of that family gathering place and quite often conflicted with conference guests who were meeting in the afternoons and evenings. It was not an ideal setting.

OK…back to the walk-about. I can’t recall the actual date but it was likely in the early 80’s, I was walking with Russ Davey past the Wigwam (Alberta House) towards the flag pole area. It was then that I suggested to him that we turn the tuck shop around to be accessible from the west side instead of inside near the conference area. It was suggested that we could re-create the image of the old tuck shop with the large covered porch, the screen door, the fireplace with a fish adorning the mantle and I even knew someone who could re-create the old British style phone booth. Russ liked the idea, and we started to put the plan together.

I took the idea to the Management Committee and they endorsed the concept. We put together some renderings, a business plan, Russ got estimates of cost and we developed a plan to raise the money. If memory serves me correctly, I asked Jane Burfield who was a member of our committee if she could spearhead the fund raising amongst the cottage community and she did an excellent job. I think the cost was in the $100,000 range. Other funding efforts included book sales, auction sales, and bingo nights. The Beach Barbecue was built during this same time period with some of the funds raised.
I then asked Don Carter if he would build the phone booth and he gladly agreed. The result was spectacular.
The “new” tuck shop in the “old” style was a reality, and as they say, “the rest is history”!


Doug Mitchell, with the help of Rosemary

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