Popular horse and carriage business, Trot In Time, in historic Lunenburg, Nova Scotia is getting a second chance. The future of the business was in jeopardy after one of its barns burned to the ground in the summer, but goodwill and neighbourly support are helping to raise a new barn from the ashes left behind.

On Saturday, a cool Fall day in Nova Scotia, the warmth of community in Lunenburg was on full display as a group of volunteers hammered together a new barn on a site that saw a devastating fire in August.

Owner and operator of Trot In Time, Basil Oickle recalls the massive fire caused by an errant spark from welding.

“The backbench where I was welding was all engulfed in flames, and within nine minutes the building was completely engulfed,” says Oickle. “I lost all my shoeing gear that was in there.”

Oickle tried to save two antique carriages inside the barn but was unsuccessful. Those carriages and other essential equipment were lost to the horse and buggy business, which has entertained tourists in Lunenburg since 1996.

Unfortunately, the barn was uninsured, leaving Oickle with no choice but to give up hope of continuing with Trot In Time – until her community stepped in to help.

“This little business, they just love it so much in the town that they said ‘Let's pull this together and do a barn raising,’” says Oickle. “This is the first one in Lunenburg County in nearly fifty years.”

Volunteer, Addison Locke came from Kentville, N.S. to help, knowing all too well the devastation Oickle experienced, noting his own farm fire seven years ago.

“I understand the loss, the devastation that comes with that,” says Locke. “I lost the vast majority of my animals, all my equipment – five or six barns. That was the end of my farming days – I don't want that to happen to Basil.”

To celebrate a long and labour-intensive day, Oickle scheduled a celebratory dance on Saturday night, which she invited the entire community to attend – applauding the togetherness that helped restore her barn and hope of continuing her business.

“Look at the love, look at the kindness, look at the camaraderie and help – this is Lunenburg,” says Lunenburg Board of Trade president, Tim Lekhi.

As for Oickle, she says the good deed will make a world of difference and thanks her community for the generous gesture of kindness.  

“If I could find all of the words to express to the people how thankful I am and put them on one of my buggies,  I don't have enough horses that could pull the load,” says Oickle.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek