Top Shed is on the lookout for locations for us to Bake, BBQ, Roast and, most importantly, Brew.

Our dream is to find a historic site or building that’s in need of some love and creativity then restore it to its former glory and beyond, turning it into a place where the community could work to create new and delicious things.
The hunt has been on in both Australia and Canada since 2014.

We took a good look at a spot in Warkworth, Ontario on the edge of “the county”. We looked at a funky spot in Oakville. But nothing grabbed us and said; This is where Top Shed can call home and start making History’. But then…THIS came along.

A tradition of every visit back to Toronto is a Top Shed meeting at the Queen Mother. Our friends Andre, Kelly and David have been running this bit of new history on Queen St for forty years. Imagine the scene…. It’s Thursday, January 4, 2018, and just as we are wrapping up a very productive meeting with our lawyer, accountant and some top secret advisors, Andre shows me a listing for a property in Owen Sound. It sounds too good to be true.

Here is the listing.
http://www.chestnutpark.com/Commercial/For-Sale/1819243-0/1235%20-%201259-3Rd-Ave-Owen-Sound-Ontario-425901000306600

Some recent press articles.
http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/2017/08/01/council-trying-to-sell-old-jail-courthouse-again
https://www.thestar.com/business/2017/12/12/jailhouse-charm-at-a-bargain-basement-price.html

Photos from our visit.

 

Court no longer in Session.

Greg Cromwell making a plea for a change in zoning.

Plea appears to fall on Deaf Ears in an Empty Court Room

One Phone Call

Jamie Learn and Greg Cromwell get life sentence from their partners for considering a purchase.

In Conclusion then…..

The Owen Sound Courthouse and Jail are what you’d call A White Elephant.
“a possession which its owner cannot dispose of and whose cost, particularly that of maintenance, is out of proportion to its usefulness. In modern usage, it is an object, building project, scheme, business venture, facility, etc., considered expensive but without use or value”
One could even call it the Elephant’s Ass.

So close! But sadly the buildings really ARE ‘History’.

Too far gone to restore commercially and located in a residential area where the neighbours are not going to be happy with anything but a residential type development.

Over the course its 150-year history this site has had numerous additions and modifications. Once inside you lose all sense of what’s where among its labyrinth of decaying rooms and courtyards.

Alison got a wink that it would cost at least $4 million to bring the building to code.That would be on top of at least another $4 million to make it into something commercial. Could Owen Sound be the community to support that vision? Not convinced. This is still a seasonal tourist town so it shuts down from the Fall till Spring and is a fair way off the beaten track. Gentrification is coming but it feels like its going to be low and slow.

So it’s back to the search for Top Shed. Still optimistic, still sure that ONE DAY we’ll find the right spot. After all, Cam Heaps and Greg Taylor,( my co-founders of Steam Whistle Brewing) and I found the Round House. So we know it can be done.

But for now we’d have to say; this place feels like a whole pack of really WHITE elephants.

Elephant’s Ass

For more on elephant or feather. Read https://topshed.com/2018/01/upper-canada-rebellion-revival/

And visit http://elephantorfeather.com