Million-dollar centre is opened in Oakville
Globe and Mail Reporter
OAKVILLE - Oakville's million-dollar Centennial Centre was officially opened Saturday with a spirit of bicultural harmony and a Quebec mayor's denunciation of separatism.
Mayor Sarto Desnoyers of Dorval was enthusiastically applauded by several hundred persons at the opening ceremonies when he presented Oakville with a crest of Quebec and said "we are very much in Confederation yet and will be for a long time."
Mayor McLean Anderson of Oakville replied that the exchange of visits between officials of Oakville and Dorval has developed a bond of friendship so strong that it is clear "that the constant prophets of doom and damnation are reading the wrong newspaper clippings."
Lieutenant-Governor Earl Rowe opened the centre, built on a 3.5-acre site beside Sixteen Mile Creek in downtown Oakville. Originally scheduled to be completed on July 1, the centre, which houses an art and exhibition gallery, the town's central library and a pool, was delayed by construction strikes.
Mayor Desnoyers led a delegation of 16 Dorval councillors, officials and their wives on a quick one-day journey to attend the opening.
The association between Dorval and Oakville began in 1957 when the two municipalities agreed to become twin communities in an effort to foster better understanding.
Earlier this year, an Oakville delegation attended the opening of Dorval's Centennial Centre.
After the ceremony Saturday, Mr. Desnoyers said there are some rough spots that have to be smoothed out in Confederation.
"But you don't tear something down just because there are a few faults in it-you fix them. It is always easier to demolish. The hard part is to build."
Mr. Desnoyers said he is worried about a "trick of fate that might give undue power to the 6 per cent of troublemakers" in Quebec.
"That's about all they got in the last election you know, but that's about all the support Hitler had too. Maybe the next (provincial) election will clear the air."
Mr. Desnoyers said that instead of coming to Canada and making speeches about freedom, President Charles de Gaulle should look after problems in his own country such as the grievances of people in Brittany.
Oakville's Centennial Centre is a three-level structure built into the side of a 35-foor slope overlooking the river. The indoor swimming pool features a 9O-foot sliding glass wall that can be moved away in summer so that bathers can walk out onto a fenced patio area. The swimming pool is to be completed in February.
The centre is built of large, pre cast, brushed-concrete panels which have been clipped into place. George Farrow, supervising architect, said the insulated panels can be simply unclipped to permit construction of additions to the building. A plaza and Centennial gardens surround the entrance to the main street floor. Two floors are below street level.
The centre, which houses the town's main library, is on the site of an old school where, in 1895, the Oakville Public Library was formed with books donated by the. Wesleyan Methodist Church and the Oakville Mechanics Institute.
Saturday's opening produced its share of humor and informality as Reeve Herbert Merry conducted the ceremonies, using Magistrate Kenneth Langdon's eyeglasses.