The King Square Bandstand has been out of commission for decades; however, that iconic piece of Saint John's cultural history will soon receive a new lease on life.
Common Council heard tonight that an anonymous donor will provide over $100,000 worth of upgrades to the bandstand, making it into a working music venue by the end of this summer.
The anonymous offer came through former Saint John Mayor Norm MacFarlane, whom the nameless philanthropist approached looking for his help working with common council. He tells CHSJ News the huge project will start immediately.
The work will include installing new supports and flooring on the second level, cleaning and restoring the copper roof, installing a granite slab and ladder for access to the second level, painting, sandblasting and cleaning the structure and fittings, and upgrading all the electrical and lighting hookups. For some years only the pigeon population has been able to access the second floor of the bandstand due to its aging, delicate condition.
The work will be done by Avant Garde Construction, the same company who recently performed the major renovations on the Algonquin Hotel in Saint Andrews. Owner Patrick Sohy says the company is performing historical research to make sure the color scheme and the fountain are as close as possible to the original.
The bandstand was originally donated to the city by the City Coronet Band in 1908.
Mayor Mel Norton hailed the restoration as a true indicator of Saint John's status as a so-called "Renaissance City," saying a major celebration would be in order when the work is completed. The Mayor is currently soliciting suggestions from the public for the proposed grand opening celebration via his Facebook page.