History

Initial Meeting 29 Nov. 1992.

Present were: Louis Shea, Edward Doucette, Karen Buote, and Robert Morrissey. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how to go about acquiring a parcel of land on the “Convent” property to enable the Dalton Centre Board to construct a Seniors Complex.  Among other things, this group recommended that a Non-For-Profit group be formed. This group would be the development arm for Tignish and surrounding areas.

On 25 March, 1993 Tignish Initiatives was incorporated with Russell Gallant as Chair. Board members were; Louis Shea, Nora Gaudette, Herbie Perry, Leo Gaudet, Janie McRae, and Judy Gavin.

Board minutes/correspondence/discussion documents contain a report prepared in the formation of the Corporation entitled “A Community Overview”, obviously in reference to the Community of Tignish. The paper reviewed Tignish’s long history of self reliance in an effort to address the recession of the early 1990’s in an effort to seek ways to “improve our economic fortune and to reinforce our pride in our community”. The document also states that In 1991, the Community Council, a number of business and community leaders, and local politicians got together to take stock of our situation and examine options that would achieve those ends.  One of the conclusions reached by this group of community leaders was that an agency, independent of government and the community, should be formed to act as a catalyst for community development initiatives.  Tignish Initiatives Corporation, a not-for-profit development group was the product of these discussions.

-Feb. 11,1993, Karen Gaudet Gavin and Russell Gallant met with Sisters of Notre Dame to discuss the purchase of the Convent and grounds. The deal was finalized on March 22, 1993 at which time Tignish Initiatives agreed to purchase the property for $50,000.00. On 28 May, 1993, Tignish Initiatives sold the lot on Church St, to Dalton Centre Seniors Housing Complex Ltd. for $10,000.00. With a mortgage from League Savings and Mortgage for $40,000.00 , TIC was able to complete the purchase of the Convent.

-Nov., 8, 1993, Tignish Initiatives purchased the Dalton Centre Annex and property across School St. from the former Unit, #1 School Board for $1.00.

-Oct., 1996 a parcel of land, part of the old Dalton Playground, was sold to Harley Perry ($30,000.00) for Seniors Housing Units.

Heritage Inn:

 –1993 Shortly after the purchase of the convent, Tignish Initiatives with the assistance of government projects embarked upon renovating the property into a 17 room Heritage Inn and has been operating it since.  May through October it is primarily tourism visitors but November through January it is highly sought after by local groups and families for Christmas parties and holiday functions.

-2003 Funding was secured to enhance the Inn which included a new roof , windows, and the memorial gardens. Work was completed in 2004. Garth Davey was the project manager for the garden as well as that of the downtown beautification which continued through 2005.

-2011/2012 The two older sheds that were falling down were replaced by one new cedar shingled shed that safely stores all the equipment used in maintaining the grounds and properties of Tignish Initiatives. The interior of the Inn was redecorated and some a/c units were added. The facility remains a treasured community asset and will for years to come.

Holland College:

On 30 Nov. 1993, Tignish Initiatives initiated discussions with Holland College to open a campus in Tignish in the “Annex”.  Initially, Holland College didn’t jump at the idea but Upgrading classes were approved for the winter of 1994 and in 1995, a two-year lease was signed with Holland College. By Jan., 1996 H.C. campus is in full swing in the Annex Complex.

Management:

During the initial years of its operation 1993-1995, attracting funds to hire a Manager was a challenge for the Board. As the corporation had little or no income, it relied on government programs for assistance on this file.  Approaches were made to the Province and ACOA . In Dec., 1993, Rick Ozon from the West Prince Development Corp. arranged for Hal Perry to do development work with the Board and in July of 1994 Rick offered the Board Bonnie Arsenault under a Management Trainee Program. In early 1995 Donna Pitre (MacKay) came on staff to manage Holiday Island Productions but ended up doing a lot of management work with the Board.. Somehow, the Board and these young dedicated community-minded individuals, managed to keep the operation afloat and on track until Scott Harper was hired in Dec., 1995.  Scott was assisted by Stacy Arsenault MacWilliams and Nicole Gaudet Morrissey during 1998-2000 with Stacey taking over the job of General Manager from 5 Sept., 2000 to Jan, 2002..

Incidentally, negotiations between the Province through Robert Morrissey in the summer/fall of 1996 led to his signing of a 5-year Core Funding agreement to the tune of $60.000.00 /year.  This contract was extended for an additional 2 years but was diminishing in nature at $40,000 in 2001 and $20,000 in 2002. This initiative was meant to provide TIC the time and Management it needed to get to a point that it could generate enough income to funds to cover its operational costs, including the Management costs.

Anne Arsenault was hired in June of 2002 and her first project was the redevelopment of the North Cape Site which was the largest capital project for the corporation to that point and still is to this day. It remains the highest visited attraction in Western PEI.

Tignish Cultural Centre:

Tignish Initiatives planned and executed the 1999 Bicentennial Celebrations for the community of Tignish which include a year long schedule of cultural events and the construction of the Tignish Cultural Centre which was the main legacy project for the celebrations. The Tignish Historical Preservation Foundation was formed during this process and took on the operation and ownership of the facility however in 2005 due to lack of capacity and mounting debt the organization approached Tignish Initiatives to purchase the facility and take on the operation and management of the community museum and its mandate. The Cultural Centre continue to be a venue for art exhibits from paintings to hand made quilts. The small gift shop features local artists and crafts.

In 2011 we participated in a historical preservation project which archived and digitized a large degree of historical photos, documents and recordings of the community and the local people.

Although it is not specifically stated in our mandate Tignish Initiatives has played a leading and or supporting roll in many historical and cultural developments in the community of Tignish since it inception and continues to do so.

North Cape Complex:

In Nov. 1999 when the future of the Complex was in question, TIC  expressed its concern to the Province and ACOA  as well as its interest in seeing that the facility remain open and operated in the best interests of the residents of Tignish and Area. In May, 2001 a management agreement was signed with the Province which led to a long term lease signed  in 2002 at which time a $2M enhancement was in the works which included a new state-of-the-art interpretative display on wind energy. Renovations completed for the 2003 season and complex officially opened.

In 2008, a consultant was hired in consultation with WEICan to provide a framework to proceed with an enhancement project that will focus on the integration of the Wind Energy Interpretive Centre and WEICan.  In 2009, a 10kw Ventura wind turbine and a corresponding net meter exhibit was installed inside the centre, updates to the Hydrogen Village Interpretation and the new Provincial renewable energy strategy. Interpretive and directional signage was replaced on the Black Marsh Nature Trail as well under that project. Due to the extreme coastal conditions at the site in 2011/2012, the exterior siding had to be replaced with cedar shingles as well all the air conditioning units, numerous exterior lights and signage needed to be replaced.

We pride ourselves in the continuous maintenance and up keep of the properties we own and operate, and it is an ongoing investment in the community.

Holiday Island Production:

-Launched in Dec., 1995 A lot of energy, time and money invested in the ‘Ceramic’ venture which included custom figurines of West Point Lighthouse, Province House, Anne of Green Gables House, Citadel Hill Clock (Halifax) and others.  Great product but limited sales led to a revamp of the operation.

In 2002, a significant shift occurred as the company launched a Craft Development Project (6 people for 20 weeks through a Job Creation Project) to include developing products using local materials such as Irish Moss which spurred the development of Seaweed Soap, hand and body moisturiser and bath salts as well as other unique handmade gifts and souvenirs. The Seaweed products have grown into a full line of bath and body products and now makes up the bulk of the products  produced and is sold is most gift shops in PEI and some in NS & NB. as well as online through their website, www.holidayislandproductions.ca

Digital Innovations:

 –In 1999 Digital Innovations was established to pursue technology initiatives in the community. They also operated as a Level 11 CAP site employing a full time manager.

-TIC signed a 1 year contract in 2002 to provide tech support for all 72 CAP sites on PEI which created 1 new full time position. The contract continued to be renewed through to 2009 when funding for CAP sites were put under review.  Funding for the CAP site was applied for annually and continued until 2012 when funding dried up. The CAP site remains but with no staff and TIC picks up the cost of operation. We are fortunate to secure a summer student or technology intern to help us out.

– 2003 Broadband Project with Industry Canada funding and partnership with the city of Summerside wireless high speed Internet was brought to West Prince.

Downtown Enhancement:

In 1996, TIC manager was involved in Community Planning Board and the BiCentennial Committee (Vice-Chair). Manager, along with Cletus Dunn, prepared the “Expression of Interest” document” for Planning Committee. Other projects included an upgrade of the Parish Centre, exploring RCMP and other housing needs in the Community, Seniors Housing , and among other things, working with the Tignish Historical Preservation Foundation regarding the old Dalton school.

Summer/Fall  1997, more discussion on Museum (Dalton School), renovations vs. new structure. At its annual meeting dated 6 March, 1998 TIC Board approved plans to replace the Dalton School with a new structure ~The Tignish Heritage and Cultural Centre. This project would be the centerpiece of the community’s BiCentennial Festivities. While the project was underway, TIC provided Tignish Historical Preservation Foundation administrative and limited display space.

-2003, in partnership with  the Village of Tignish and downtown merchants and funding from the Province and ACOA TIC commissioned an enhancement study for downtown Tignish.  Areas of concern were: parking, beautification, and future development.

-2004 through 2006 TIC carried out many beautification projects in partnership with local business and the community which included the the design and installation of extensive gardens at the Heritage Inn,  Johnny Pumps corner, Bicentennial Park, St Simon & St Jude Church, Shirley’s Café, Eugene’s General Store, Harper’s Automotive, MJ’s Bakery, Pizza Shack and the Tignish Seniors Coop. TIC installed all the flower posts around the community and hung the first flower pots in 2005. TIC also commissioned the Welcome signs with flower beds at the entry points to the  maintain all the gardens throughout the community for the past 3 years.

In 2008 the community submitted its first application to the Communities in Bloom Competition in the Friendship Category and received honourable mention, and was given many tips and words of encouragement to continue our efforts. In 2011 Tignish moved up to the competitive level and received honourable mention in that category the first 2 years, also followed with great advice and more words of encouragement to continue our community beautification efforts.

-2013  It is with great pride that we congratulate our community in receiving First Place for the prestigious national award for Communities in Bloom.  Tignish won five blooms and the National Award for Communities with Populations under 1,000.

Tignish Run:

-2003, TIC worked with area stakeholders to engage Dan Glenn to develop a strategic plan for Tignish Run and area. Unfortunately the funds were not available at that time to carry out the but in 2006 portions of the plan were carried out such as the relocation of the Tignish Run lighthouse to Fisherman’s Haven Park and the boardwalk. Tignish Initiatives partnered with Tignish Shore council to continue enhancements at the park in 2011/2012 including the outdoor stage and interpretive panels.

 Dalton Centre Complex:

 –The Annex underwent extensive renovations starting in 1994. This project, the Inn and many others carried out by TIC in the years to come, were only made possible with assistance of our Provincial and Federal elected officials; Gov. Depts. particularly ACOA, the Prov. Dept. of Industry and other provincial agencies; and last but not least, Louis Shea and Tignish Credit Union Ltd. who supported TIC from day 1.

-Cultural Centre (Old Dalton School) purchased in 2005. Plans initiated were to remove existing “link”, to be replaced with a larger structure that would include an elevator that would serve both the Cultural Centre and the Dalton Annex Building. Renovations occurred 2006-2007.

-2010  Worked with Public Works Canada and DFO to secure a lease for commercial space in the lower of the Dalton Annex.  A long term lease was signed on 1 April, 2011.

Call Centre Project:

In planning stage in the spring of 1996 when proposal was made to the Province . Although initial requests were denied, TIC was able to sign a lease with  Cogsdale Marketing Inc. in the fall of 1997 for this Island company to  operate a software telemarketing business. While things got off to a good start, the operation was practically non-existent by the fall of 1998. Searches for a new client in 1998-1999 led to a contract with the Fulford Group in August, 2000  and  later that year Holland College offered Call Centre Training for a period of 20 weeks in the Tignish Facility.

Dalton Seniors Housing Complex

At the request of the Tignish Historical Preservation Society, TIC agreed to take over management of the housing facility on 14 March, 1997. In Nov., 1999 TIC partnered with concerned members of the community and Council to pursue the establishment of long-term care facilities in the Community of Tignish.

Post Office:

-TIC began monitoring the situation regarding the future of the building in 2007 when it found out that the property was for sale, as it was concerned that the whoever bought the property should understood the dynamics and importance this heritage building has in the community. Bringing the clock back to a working condition was also a consideration.

-The building was purchased in 2009, extensive renovations completed in 2010, long term leases were secured that will make this project sustainable  so that this building will remain a respected landmark in the community.

Other Initiatives:

-2009 TIC initiated a feasibility study into district heating for the community, additional information was collected over the following years and an application for infrastructure funding was submitted in 2014.

-In 2010. TIC partnered with Community Council in the preparation of the “Bridging the Gap” report for the purpose of raising awareness to Governments of government presence or lack of, in our community as well as spell out assets and potential growth opportunities in Tignish and surrounding areas.

For the last 10 years or more TIC has been a leader in promoting tourism in West Prince through its involvement in the formation of North Cape Coastal Drive, involvement in Tourism PEI, and the National organizations. In 2012, TIC participated in the STEP program (Strategic Tourism Expansion Program) through ACOA for Tignish and surrounding Areas. End product resulted in strategic goals in the development of hands-on experiences for tourists visiting our area, a Tourism Ambassador Program, as well use of the social media to sell West Prince as tourist destination.

While Stompin Tom Centre was on the Board’s books since 1999, it wasn’t until 2010 that TIC initiated a site development plan for the Stompin Tom property in Skinner’s Pond and worked to negotiate purchase agreements. The Skinners Pond property was finally secured in 2015 and work continues to develop a sustainable commemoration attraction at the site.

 Events:

1999 Bicentennial Celebrations was a year long event that involved family reunions, a concert series, re-enactments of the Landing of the Acadians, achieving family trees, a series of guest speakers  and the Grand Opening of the Tignish Cultural Centre which was the legacy project for the celebrations. Management worked very closely with the community and the many committees that were instrumental in making the celebrations a success.

MacLeods Ledge Bluefin Tuna Cup was launched in 2012 to raise awareness of the world class charter fishing in the area.  It is a catch and release tuna tournament which incorporates local food and culture to make this a highly successful event that has seen significant growth year after year.  We have folks from as far away as Australia travel primarily to participate in the event. Click on the following link to see what its all about https://vimeo.com/119179750

Lobster at the Point launched in 2012 is a Celebration of the local lobster fishery with lots of opportunity to feast on the local crustacean and immerse yourself in the local culture. Plenty of friendly completion with the Fisherman’s Challenge and the Lobster Shelling Contest.  And don’t miss your chance to enjoy an outdoor dance on the wharf or to win the lobster race and take home some cash.

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