City planners are calling for a gateway arch over Sandwich Street to welcome visitors and residents alike to a "unique town with a history unlike anywhere else."

​​The arch would span Sandwich between Paterson and McKee Parks and feature a series of heritage plaques celebrating the stories of Sandwich as chosen by the public. 

The arch "is envisioned to be complementary" to the $850,000 roundabout, currently under construction, that will eventually showcase a monument to Chief Tecumseh and General Isaac Brock.

"The gateway will not only welcome patrons, but also educate and inform them. The arch is envisioned to be a symbolic representation of the threshold into the rich area of Sandwich Town," says a report going to the city's planning, heritage and economic development committee meeting Tuesday. 

"The arch will be the back drop in telling the many heritage stories that have contributed to the fabric of what Sandwich Town is today. These heritage stories can illustrate this unique town, with a history unlike anywhere else."

Sandwich Arch

This rendering shows the abutments on the arch that will showcase the historical plaques telling the stories of Sandwich as chosen by the public.

The proposed arch would be made of steel and feature four limestone abutments to match the plinth on the roundabout connecting University Avenue, Rosedale Avenue, Riverside Drive and Sandwich Street. 

"Sandwich Town" —  without an old style 'e' after either of the words — would be spelled with bronze, painted steel, cut out lettering.

All told, there would be 14 bronze plaques/tableaus measuring 18X36 inches. There are 16 sides to the four abutments but there would be no plaques on the locations immediately facing the street so "as not to create a safety hazard for plaque viewers/readers," said the city report.

Administration will solicit heritage stories from the public about the people, places, events and architecture that make Sandwich's history so rich and whittle them down to 14 by way of an online survey.

The cost of the arch project is expected to be outlined in a report going to council later this month but the planning report warned the arch would require an ongoing financial commitment.

"The Sandwich Arch runs the risk of falling into disrepair at some point during its lifecycle if resources are not specifically allocated for maintenance," said the report. "Without resources specifically allocated for the maintenance of this gateway there is a risk of this gateway having a negative impact on the city's image as well as a negative impact on the image of Sandwich Town."