Photo credit: Kent Wilkens Photo: Crunchy needles cover ground under invasive pines on the south side of Little Tub Harbour.
By John Francis

Tobermory Chamber of Commerce is keenly aware of the need to improve the visitor and resident experience in Tobermory’s downtown. 2020’s overcrowding illustrated the need to find something more for people to do. Tobermory needs to find ways for more people to be occupied pleasantly.

Aerial photo image of the head of Little Tub Harbour in Tobermory, showing locations of proposed improvements.

Chamber President Kent Wilkens looks out on the head of Little Tub Harbour every day from his home/art gallery (Golden Gallery). He brought a new suggestion to the Feb 4 Executive Meeting: landscape two areas on the south side of the harbour to create space for benches, picnic tables and places to stand at a railing, overlooking the harbour.

What is the view like now on the south side of Little Tub Harbour in Tobermory?

This would offer a way to add “awesome ambiance to the harbour and make use of unused areas without interfering with parking or traffic”.

There is a narrow triangle of land between the cenotaph, the walkway and Bay Street (see photo, page 3). Wilkens pointed out that this area is currently occupied by invasive pine trees that were originally planted as ornamental shrubs but have grown into unpleasant, spreading trees, crowding out people and other plants. Removing them would allow the area to be grassed or cobbled. With a few benches added it would become quite inviting.

South side of Tobermory’s Little Tub Harbour – trees along the edge of the low cliff are native cedars; the spreading trees behind them are invasive “ornamental” pines. Neighbouring landowner Kent Wilkens suggests removing the invasive pines and putting in benches (right hand part of photo) and a terrace or deck along the cliff edge (centre and left portion of photo).

 On the north side of the walkway, there is a sloping area above the shoreline cliff. The strip is about 50 metres long and varies from  3 to 8 metres wide. Wilkens suggests this would make an amazing public area, suitable for benches, picnic tables and a harbour-view railing you could lean against. It could be a wooden deck like the lookouts between Lee’s Fisheries and the Grandview; alternatively a stone wall could be built along the top of the cliff to form a terrace which could be grassed or cobbled. Either way, it could give a couple of hundred people a place to sit or stand to just soak in the romance of the place.

Expect to hear more about this idea as the winter wears on.