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Shield Parking Lot
Shield Parking Lot
PIN 48029-0638 Pt. Lot 33, Con. 7 Wood; Pt. Lane PL3 Wood abutting the E limit of Lot 21 PL3 Wood; Pt. Lot 55 PL5 Wood; Pt. Lot 15-20 PL2 Wood; Pt. Bed of the Moon River adjacent to Lot 33, Con 7 Wood as in DM320594; DM76318; Muskoka Lakes
Shield Parking Lot, east of Highway 169 in Bala, is the wedge-shaped property bounded on the north by the Ministry of Transportation Property next to the channel of South Bala Falls, by Highway 169 on the west, and by the Canadian Pacific (CP) property on the east. It is part of Lot 33, Concession VII of the former Township of Wood, now in the Township of Muskoka Lakes. Along the eastern boundary lies a large quarry face exposed during highway construction of the 1960’s
Statement of Cultural Heritage Value or Interest:
Shield Parking Lot contains the impact of 1960’s Ontario government highway construction program that resulted in both dramatic physical change creating a new public space, and a resultant increase in the tourist economy of Bala following improved road access. The original outcrop that formed the shoreline of the Moon River was larger than the current quarry face. The boundary between the municipal property and Crown land to the north approximates the edge of the original outcrop.
Shield Parking Lot‘s physical value is as a representative example of the transformation of a natural Precambrian rock outcrop by highway construction methods of the 1960‘s such as blasting, crushing and fill. Drill holes where dynamite was inserted are evident on the resulting quarry face. Originally a staging area for the construction process to re-route Highway 169, the flat sand and gravel surface is representative of the changes in the town of Bala that occurred during the highway construction, the result of the removal of material from the rock face, crushed and used elsewhere as fill.
The quarry face is a large and representative example of the Precambrian Shield, and exhibits the folding and layering patterns of pink gneiss and black amphibolite characteristic of the Muskoka area. Along the quarry face formation are various species of native plants and trees including birches, white pines, sugar maples, red oaks, trembling aspens, and sumacs. There are also various wildflowers, including daisies and wild daylilies, growing along the base of the rock quarry face.
The historical value lies in the effect on the townscape and the tourist economy, shifting to primarily automobile access from a mix of road, rail and water transport.
The site has associative value linked with the highway construction, the relation to the larger Precambrian shield, and as a site for community events. The quarry face is commemorated as a large and representative example of the Precambrian Shield of Ontario in a plaque installed in 1966, shortly after the highway opened in July, 1965, by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario (AHSBO). The plaque text explains how the shield impeded agriculture in the region, but led to the development of mining, lumbering and tourism as key industries of the province, and also notes the rock is among the oldest of the earth’s crust and occupies two thirds of the surface of Ontario.
The CP rail line, located adjacent to the site along the top of the quarry face, makes a visual and acoustical association between the Shield and industrial and tourism development, two key facets of the Muskoka economy, also themes of the cultural landscape of Bala
This Shield Parking Lot has contextual value as a stopping and vantage point representative of the natural beauty of Muskoka, the Precambrian Shield quarry face, and its associated lakes, rivers, trees and wildlife. The quarry face is a landmark in the community, marking the entrance to Bala from Highway 38, and contributes to a strong sense of place. The parking lot has an important view to the Moon River across Highway 169. The site also connects to viewing places on the adjacent Provincial property that provide views of the South Bala Falls, the designated building, formerly the Burgess Church across the south channel, and sounds of adjacent waters. Located central to Bala, the public park including parking lot facilitates touring Bala’s other scenic lookouts, including those over Lake Muskoka and the Moon River.
Description of Heritage Attributes
The heritage attributes essential to the cultural heritage value or interest of this public park property are:
- The flat area between the highway on the west and the quarry face on the east, as evidence of the removal of blasted rock and the use of the property as a staging area during local highway construction in the 1960s.
- The exposed quarry face of Precambrian Shield resulting from the blasting used in this method of highway construction in the 1960s.
Key elements of these heritage attributes include:
- Exposed surface of the quarry face.
- Evidence of the drill holes where dynamite was inserted.
- Sand and gravel surface of the flat area.
- Unobstructed views of the quarry face from Highway 169 and 38.
- Native trees and plants growing on the property.
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