Pictou’s Market Square is in the process of getting a bit of a face lift as the town has partnered with the Pictou Garden Club to spruce up part of downtown.
The garden club recently presented the Town of Pictou’s Michelle Young with a cheque for more than $5,000 to help out with the project that the two groups have been working on.
Talk of the project began in April of 2014 and the garden club members decided that it was a project they wanted to take on as they had already partnered with the town on three other projects.
Garden club member Beth Henderson added that at the time, the project was on a wish list from former councillor Bob Naylor for things he would like to see done around the town to beautify it.
To kick off their fundraising, the group sold tickets on a painting by Jean MacKaracher, a former Pictonian and artist who started Tartan Day.
“She painted a local Pictou scene,” explained Henderson. Any funds that the group raised from ticket sales were also matched by the Pictou Scotiabank. The painting ultimately ended up in the Pictou branch of Scotiabank, whose branch is in the painting.
“We’re in the process of opening up Market Square to be more friendly and inviting,” Henderson said.
With the 2023 anniversary of the Ship Hector, Henderson shared that the garden club is hoping to have all the projects complete by then. What still has to be done includes, benches, finishing improvements to accessibility, a walkway to the Pioneer monument and lighting for the monument. There will also be an interpretive panel to talk about the history of Market Square, the bandshell that once stood where the gazebo now is and how the park was built in 1852.
Renovations on the gazebo have already begun as the club provided funds to have the structure wired and have some new seats put in it. A stone wall was also recently built around the front of the gazebo that hosts some plants there as well. Henderson shared that when the group was having pavers put in at the square one evening, as the pavers were left out, a truck came by and people got out intending to steal the pavers that had been left to continue the work the next day. Henderson said her group was told that The Highlanders Motorcycle Club, located just across the street, saw the people attempting to steal the items and stopped them from doing so. The garden club is grateful that the community has been looking out for them and take pride in their town.
Henderson also mentioned a great supporter and member of the club who has helped out with the restoration project immensely.
“Helen Scammell, 2018 Gardener of the Year, has been very helpful,” said Henderson.
With lots of work left to do, Henderson is looking forward to helping out on the interpretive panel as well since, as part of the Pictou Historical Photograph Society, she will be helping provide some of the photos for the panel. Local author Monica Graham will be working on the information and writeup for the panel.