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The Abbey to reopen in time for Downtown Christmas Walk

Saturday, November 24, 2012   by: Jamie LyleAfter nearly a year of renovations following the devastating store front fire in January 2012, those at The Abbey Cards and Gifts have restocked and readied the store in time for the Annual North Bay Christmas Walk.

The building, originally completed in 1926, was a Bank of Nova Scotia structure, built of heavy brick and steel that helped prevent the fire that ripped through Lefebvre’s and Vested Interest next door Tuesday, January 03, 2012 from spreading down the entire block.

However, the enormous amount of water that soaked down the walls and flooded the floors and basements required that major renovations be undertaken to repair the building.

On top of that, heavy smoke from the fire that burned for nearly 16 hours required much of the building to be cleaned extensively of soot and refinished with paint.

Seeing this as an opportunity, the owner’s son, Chris Lyle, of Lyle Architects, pointed out the newer, less costly lighting systems could allow the reopening of the drop ceiling, revealing the building’s former 38 foot high arched roof.

“I think that there was a lot of potential,” says Lyle.

By utilizing newer and greener technologies similar to the city’s LED streetlights, the building could now be run in a cost efficient way, with new high output, low cost lighting as well as an improved heating system using the thermo dynamics of the heavy cement structure.

The building has a Greco Roman facade similar to many of the Corinthian Temples in the ancient Greek style and the interior also is of tasteful and elaborate decoration original, for the most part, to historical design.

The renovations, now in the final stages, will ensure that the building will be completed and ready, hopefully, for occupancy and the public just in time for the Old Fashioned Downtown Christmas Walk, which will be held on Friday, November, 30th, 2012.

“It means a lot to us to be able to retain where the business started,” says 'The Abbey’s' president, John Lyle.

“So many people visit our store during the Christmas time and it’s important that we get open for that busy time of year,” he says.

So be sure to schedule a visit to this historic building and shop to your heart’s content at a new but old gem in downtown North Bay.
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