Death of the soul of the Marina?
For many years the Aylmer Marina restaurant floundered: an unimpressive operation sitting on a beautiful piece of real estate overlooking the Ottawa River. Management seemed to change frequently but no one seemed to be able to establish a viable enterprise. Then, several years ago, a miracle happened: the place became alive with bands playing every Friday and Saturday night, and even on Sunday afternoons. Patrons flocked to eat, drink and, most importantly, dance. The place had acquired a soul.
The building was getting old. The dancers occasionally tripped on some protruding nails on the wooden dance floor. The plan to replace the building was good news. Yes, the body had to go but, it was thought, the soul would be preserved.
In her editorial “Marina restaurant?”, Lily Ryan reported that “A big draw were the Latin dancing nights that offered a rare healthy activity that isn’t coming back.” This came as a shock to those of us who had for years experienced the healthy pleasures that the Marina restaurant offered. There was nothing in the region that would even come close to the ambience and dynamics of the operation.
Credit for achieving success was not only due to the entrepreneurs who ran the Marina Resto-bar but also to Aylmer and the city of Gatineau, the enablers. If the soul of this facility is allowed to die, and live music disappears, it will deeply disappoint many people and will bring shame to the city and the planners.