Friday, August 16, 2013

Short Dock

The sandy beach to the north of the pile of rocks that are the remains of the “Short Dock” and it was one of the favourite painting places of my friend Jane Champagne. The site was close to her home, offered a great view of Chantry Light and of course had the public beach. What could be better? It seemed only appropriate that Day One of “A Toast to Jane Champagne” would be held on that patch of sand.

The history of the Short Dock dates back to the 1870’s. The growing community of Saugeen was incorporated as the Village of Southampton by a special Act of Parliament in 1858. On April 1, 1859, the guiding beam of the Chantry Island lighthouse shone across the waters of Lake Huron for the first time. Due to the treacherous shoals around the island, a Harbour of Refuge was constructed in the 1870s with the Long Dock stretching out to Southampton and the Short Dock jutting a short way into the water. Unfortunately the Harbour of Refuge was not successful. The opening was narrow and difficult to find especially in storms when the safety of the harbour was needed most. More important was the arrival of across land rail service in 1872 and that forever changed the way goods were transported. The shipping industry was sunk. The Southampton docks fell into disrepair and only piles of very large rock, some long timbers and metal spikes remain.

This view is directly across Chantry Island including the rocks and shrubs that mark the Short Dock. I was most interested in colour and imparting as much fun to the participants as possible. For Jane whose car had the license plate “I4ART”, painting was all about fun and passion for creation. Maybe that is why we hit it off so well. The fellow toasters to Jane Champagne had a great day as well.