This weekend’s Princess Street Promenade event was supposed to be a time for celebrating Kingston’s downtown core. For a few businesses near the downtown hub, however, it turned into a day they would rather forget.
Brian’s Record Option and neighbouring restaurants Tommy’s and The Pita Grill and Poutine had to evacuate their stores Saturday and are now dealing with the aftermath of a serious flood.
A water main break is said to have caused the destruction. The basement of Brian’s Record Option is where the water began to rise.
A Corcoran employee beat utilities Kingston to the scene and turned off the water, stopping the flood after over an hour of waiting.
Tommy’s is the only store to have electricity back and reopened for dinner on Sunday.
“We had an electrical inspection so that’s completely good. We’re safe to open. With regards to smaller damages or floor damage, that’s stuff that we’ll deal with in the coming week,” says restaurant owner Tommy Hunter.
At first, the damage overwhelmed record shop owner Brian Lipsin, but after taking the day to process the event, he isn’t ready to give up hope.
“In the beginning I said, boy, I’m wiped out but it could be worse. All the top part is fine, the store proper is fine, and the posters are fine.”
Lipsin is in the process of going through his shop’s damaged goods and taking stock of what was lost.
One positive to come out of the tragedy is the help being offered by the community.
“One of the stores down there offered storage space. And everyone’s coming out of the woodwork and it’s wonderful. I had tears in my eyes. I mean, you’re not alone,” says Lipsin.
People are setting up GoFundMe pages for the store online, and more physical efforts are being planned by patrons who have shopped at Brian’s store for decades.
Lipsin says he has about 20,000 records at his farm that he will pull from to replace what was lost to the flooding, although some treasures are irreplaceable.
As for the cause of the water main break, the City of Kingston is still investigating and have no further comment about the incident at this time.
CKWS reached out to “Big Dig” construction company Corcoran for comment, but they did not respond.