Friendship Oven opens at Almonte library

by Brent Eades

It’s been a busy weekend in town.

Yesterday saw the opening of the splash pad and the inaugural PorchFest event, both big hits. And today was the launch of the Friendship Oven beside the Library.

A project of the Neighbourhood Tomato Community Gardens group, the brick and stone wood-fired oven is a place where people can meet their neighbours while enjoying food baked in an age-old way.

Construction of the oven was overseen by stonemason Sean MacKenzie of Dominion Masonry, and was completed by numerous volunteers.

Jeff Mills; Mayor McLaughlin; Library CEO Pam Harris

Jeff Mills said that in digging out the base for the oven, Sean and his helper Clint eventually hit the foundations of the CPR station that was once on the site, and stone from it was incorporated into the oven — as were bricks from the old Coop building on Queen Street.

Funding was entirely through contributions from local citizens and businesses. The Library provided the site for the oven and will be the ‘keeper of the key.’ The Elizabeth Kelly Foundation also contributed $5,000 to the project.

Sean MacKenzie

At today’s event volunteers assembled pizzas on home-made dough, which were then served to paying guests. The pizzas cooked within a minute or so each in the 800-degree heat of the oven.

The first pizza into the oven.

Procedures for community access to the oven will be finalized soon.

More photos:

Ready in a minute.
A ceremonial lighting.
Assembling a pizza.