by Liz Small
Kincardine’s oldest building, the Walker House is in need of a roof, something the Paddy Walker Heritage Society is working hard to make a reality. “Raise the Roof” is the latest campaign with the goal of raising $20,000 to fund the project.
Paddy Walker Heritage Society president, Sylvia Leigh, said about half that money has been raised so far.
“We had a mail-out campaign in the fall and raised most of the money then,” said Leigh. “Since then, we’ve done our Christmas teas, which are quite popular. They’re a win-win. The public loves it, we enjoy putting it on and they raise quite a bit of money for us.”
Along with the new roof, they’re also looking to update the HVAC system.
“After 20 years, you’ve got to do something to your house,” Leigh said.
The Walker House receives funding through events such as musical performers, craft shows and private functions, such as birthdays, weddings, receptions and showers. Leigh said they rely on the money raised through these events, along with donations from the community, as other sources of funding are rare.
“I think we’re the only museum that I know of in Ontario that has no government funding from any level. We may get a grant that we apply for, so everything we do is done by either by volunteers or donation,” added Leigh.
The Paddy Walker Heritage Society is grateful for financial support from the community and the work of dozens of volunteers, known as “Friends of Jane and Paddy”, a nod to the original builders and owners of the Walker House.
Roots run deep
Originally a hotel and boarding house for sailors, soldiers and weary travellers, the Walker House is now a museum and a heritage and event centre. Visitors can partake in the many events held throughout the year, as well as spend time in The Industry Room pub or attend a private function.
“People find it has a really great atmosphere. They say it feels like an Irish pub which is coincidental because it really was an Irish pub, as Paddy Walker was straight off the boat from Ireland. We’ve fixed this place up over the last two summers and it looks great. It’s ready to go,” said Leigh. “Now we just need to get people in there, enjoying it.”
What’s ahead for the Walker House
The Walker House will be host to an Indigenous exhibit, in partnership with the Municipality. It’s part of the “Legacy of Hope” exhibit, a series of displays created and distributed across Canada. It will be on display Victoria May weekend in May, through to June 10. All events are posted on their website and social media accounts.
Inquiries into renting the space for an event can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-396-1850.
Donations can be made through their website at www.walkerhousekincardine.com, e-transfer via email to email@example.com or mail cheques to 235 Harbour St., Kincardine, ON N2Z 2X9.