Boathouse renovations reportedly include new restrooms, patio spanning lake


The investor group behind a plan to renovate and reopen the Boathouse in Kitchener’s Victoria Park is moving forward with a heritage application that would bring big changes to the building.

The city said in a news release Tuesday that Walkinshaw Holdings Inc. wants to make three significant changes:

  • An addition to the west facade of the building for a new bathroom.
  • A cantilevered patio that spans part of the lake.
  • Adjustments to windows and doors, including a new entrance.

« A heritage assessment has concluded that these alterations to the building will not adversely impact Victoria Park or the Victoria Park Neighborhood Heritage Conservation District, » the city wrote.

The request will first be discussed at the city’s heritage committee, which is due to meet on November 1.

Closures over the past decade

The Boathouse is a municipal property located on Jubilee Drive, adjacent to Lake Victoria Park. It historically served as a concert hall, but has experienced closures over the past 10 years.

In 2013, the venue closed after tenants fell behind on rent and utility payments. It reopened in 2015 but closed abruptly in October 2019 and has stood empty ever since.

In 2021, the city said it had delayed issuing requests for proposals to find a new tenant due to the pandemic and challenges facing the restaurant and hospitality industry.

He announced the Walkinshaw Holdings proposal in August.

Renos would help people enjoy the lake: Report

In a report to the heritage committee, staff noted that the building was originally built in 1929 and housed canoes. Part of the building was destroyed by fire in 1967 and it was rebuilt to its current appearance.

« The proposed development aims to return the building to its original use – as a space for public amenity, as well as a place for residents and visitors to enjoy the lake and the surrounding romantic landscape of the park, » says staff report.

James Barr, one of Walkinshaw Holdings’ partners, told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo in August that he wanted to see the space used by the community.

« It should be the number one place to go for a drink after work or to go see some live music or you know all of the above and it’s just, I mean, it hasn’t been that for three years, so it just seemed like a no-brainer that someone has to try and so why not us? » Barr said.



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