For 25 years the former Credit Union Building in Rustico sat idle. The process of restoring that building was a daunting task and one to which considerable cost was attached.
Arnold Smith and Carter Jeffery took on that task on behalf of the Farmers Bank of Rustico and with assistance from all levels of government ultimately restored the building to its former state, giving the landmark structure a new lease on life.
The beautifully renovated building will house a museum depicting its history as a country store. But it will also tell the story of the Credit Union movement on P.E.I. at a time when Credit Unions were located in more than 70 small communities across the Island. The building, which will be an affiliate of the Farmers Bank and Doucet House Museum, will preserve the rich history of the Credit Union movement not only in Rustico but throughout the province.
An integral part of the community in years past the building served as the home of Gallant's General Store after the store was destroyed by fire in 1945. The store, known as Gallant's Community Market, continues to operate today in a nearby location and remains an integral part of the Rustico community. In later years it housed the St. Augustine's Credit Union which had operated in the community since 1931. That organization amalgamated with the Stella Maris Credit Union and served as the Credit Union for Rustico and the surrounding areas.
Area residents were always hopeful that a building with such a rich history would find a new purpose. It has now found that purpose.
For their interest in preserving the heritage of this building and their persistence in seeing this project through to its glorious end Arnold Smith and Carter Jeffery are being honoured with this Heritage Recognition Award.