Next month Paulette and Blake McCarthy are closing the Bastion Gallery, 890 Crace St., after 38 years. (Photo courtesy Susan Bibbs)

Nanaimo’s Bastion Gallery closing after 38 years

Custom framing and restoration business survived Jean Burns Building fire

This Christmas will be the first one Bastion Gallery owners Paulette and Blake McCarthy will have to themselves in 38 years.

“There were some Christmases … we would be working until 3 a.m. just so we could get all these Christmas presents ready for everybody who were giving framed pictures,” Paulette said.

The McCarthys have run the Bastion Gallery since 1981 and on Nov. 30 the custom framing and restoration shop will close its doors permanently.

“It’s time,” Paulette said. “Blake is six years older than I am and, well, I’ve been working ever since I was 13.”

Paulette added that changes in the framing and restoration industry also contributed to their decision to retire.

“The appreciation for this kind of craftsmanship is there, but it’s not there enough now to warrant a huge shop like this because everything comes from China and it’s ready-made,” she said.

However, one of the biggest challenges they faced was the Jean Burns Building fire of 2016. Paulette said when she arrived on the scene, “I remember not hearing anything except the banging of my heart in my ears.”

She said they had to haul their equipment through water and rubble and when they relocated to 890 Crace St. two weeks later she had doubts they could go on.

“It took us about four and a half months to clean everything and plug it back in,” she said. “And during that period is when clients kept coming here and dropping their work off.”

In lieu of a going-out-of-business party, from now until the end of November the McCarthys are welcoming friends to drop by for biscuits and reminiscence.

Paulette said what she’ll remember most is the people they’ve met over the years. She said the store was a longtime participant in the downtown’s old Halloween Howl event in which children trick-or-treated at downtown businesses.

“People were bringing their little kids (and) all of a sudden, the little kids were bringing their little kids…” she said. “It kind of made you feel old but it was very gratifying to see that continue because you’ve made an impact in someone’s life, even if it’s a small, little way.”



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Victim of downtown Courtenay assault dies from injuries

Person of interest identified by RCMP

‘Actors can play any roles’: Debate over ‘colour-blind’ casting after Victoria lawsuit

Tenyjah Indra McKenna filed a complaint over racially-motivated casting

Talks between Western Forest Products and union break down

No more negotiations imminent between United Steelworkers 1-1937 and company

Farmers worry about future of water in Vancouver Island watershed

Some water licences restricted for first time last summer in Cowichan Valley’s Koksilah region

A white Christmas not likely for southern Vancouver Island

Snow could be in the forecast for mid to late January, early February, says meteorologist

VIDEO: UBC exchange students offered $1,000 to help with leaving Hong Kong

The university said 31 of its students were attending four universities in Hong Kong

Woman calls 911 to say she was late for train, asks Ontario police for ‘emergency ride’

Peel Regional Police received more than 180,000 improper calls so far this year

Saanich mayor urges premier to tweak road speeds in an ‘epidemic of road crash fatalities’

Haynes cites ICBC and provincial documents in letter to John Horgan

It could take you 218 years to save up for a house in this B.C. city

It would take 27 years in the most affordable city in the Lower Mainland

Petition calls for clinical pathology testing to return to Campbell River Hospital

North Island MLA Claire Trevena presented to the B.C. Legislature on Wednesday… Continue reading

Ballenas Whalers advance to junior varsity Subway Bowl B.C. title game

Parksville squad will play for provincial high school football crown

Infants more vulnerable to measles than previously thought: Canadian study

Babies typically don’t receive the measles vaccine until they are 12 months old

Shatner, Obomsawin among 39 inductees to Order of Canada today

Shatner is being given one of Canada’s highest civilian honours for his 60-year career

UPDATED: Four arrested after report of shots fired in Nanaimo

RCMP arrest four suspects in high-risk takedown in Cedar

Most Read