Read the full story here.
The old round roofed building formerly known as Mullarkey's garage on Knowlton Road has gone from being a run-down building in need of paint and repairs to a sagging roof to suddenly looking like some exotic zen garden! Certainly not what one would expect in Knowlton but any project that takes an old building only inches away from being better of demolished and turning into a unique and stylish-looking store is welcome.
The only problem is that throught the construction process it was next to impossible to figure out was to be the final result. The frame of the old garage was re-inforced and the siding was completely changed and when stone slabs and bright smooth gravel was brought in with the turf it was anybody's guess!
Rumours abounded that it was being tuned into a casino or a vintage car shoppe. Nothing like letting a town's imagination run wild with possibilites!
Now, finally, the store will be celebrating a grand opening on the Labour Day Weekend to launch: "Espace Mosaik". The store will highlight, among other things, incredible arts and crafts and garden objects from Indonesia. There will also be featured leather goods and, teak furniture, flowers made of shells and lychees, and goatskin belts and bags all imported by the owners of the new business Jasmin Préville and Joel Dumas. Visit Espace Mosaik at 341 Knowlton Road. You won't be able to miss it especially with the large beautiful bird statues that often site outside when they're open!
Such new and unique concepts and businesses are much welcomed into Lac Brome and the Knowlton area as they offer the chance for new visitors to discover the area! Destination Knowlton welcomes Espace Mosaik and offers congratulations on the store opening!
Since progress in inevitable in any small town and the installation of new businesses often mean improved employment and social conditions for residents, additions to Knowlton, like the improved IGA, are a boon to the area and bring in fresh faces and young families who in turn need to use the housing and services of existing businessess.
There is some concern, however, that without a clear urban vision Knowlton could grow too quickly and forget about the Victorian heritage and flavour that has made it a member of the Most Beautiful Villages in Quebec club.
Another recent construction project near Spring Hill Road on the corner of Knowlton Road has also raised eyebrows. Looking somewhat like a mausoleum or strange funeral parlor this large white square structure with large narrow windows doesn't look anything like the traditional Victorian houses in the area and has people wondering if this is a private residence or perhaps some sort of strange art gallery. Indeed, as you drive by with the view looking down onto the roof of the square rooftop it seems like the architects involved in the project perhaps decided to disregard the surrounding style of Victorian homes in favour of something eccentric or basically wanted to go way over-the-top. Some locals feel that such drastic architectural tangents from the historical direction of the town will lead to a strange mix of styles that depend on the whims of new residents instead of sticking too a vision based on the past generations of Knowlton.
Of course no small town can expect to remain vital in a fast-paced world without making some major changes and accepting that progress sometimes means big-box stores and franchises. Look at Bromont, for example, where the ski-hill has become surrounding by condos and shopping and a whole new restaurant plaze as residents of Montreal and the area decide that living outside of the city is now an option.
Maintaining a consistant look and feel is important for a small town. Many similar Victorian villages in the Eastern Townships and Vermont have strived to keep the flavour of the town that has existed for years.
As you drive into Knowlton on Lakeside, right across from the Knowlton Yacht Club, there is a house that has been affectionately called the "what the heck is that" house by visitors! The structure looks more like a cardboard box that has been smacked down in the middle of a lush forest...the house, standing beside the glorious Victorian homes on the surrounding lots, seems alarmingly out of place.
While a private owner surely can decide what sort of residence they would like to live in some people wonder if this particuler "bunker" was built by someone who had drawn the plans without considering where the house was to be placed, surely if an architect had been involed they would have tried to create a habitat that was more harmonious to the homes surrounding it?
Knowlton is in full bloom and the fantatsic contrasts of old and new are combining to make an incredibly stimulating place to live. Innovations and modernizations are welcome, no...they are essential, for the continued health of the village but at the same time we must also never forget the history of Knowlton and the reason why it is succesfull as a village.
Of course, the town of Knowlton must look to the future and embrace the new milleneum...but they should pay tribute to those who have come before since their legacy is what Knowlton what it is! If the elected officials of Knowlton could work together with new businesses and new home builders to focus a vision of the village then it would surely eliminate the danger of the down turning into a strange brew like Cowansville or Bromont.