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Here's a Rare Look Inside Belle Isle's Coast Guard Station

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Photography by Chris and Michelle Gerard

On an island full of imaginative architecture, the Belle Isle Coast Guard Station is all business. The boxy building first opened in 1943, a state-of-the-art facility tasked with watching over a river choked with every type of boat imaginable, from warships to yachts. The mission of keeping order remains the same today, whether that means monitoring the annual hydroplane races or keeping a lookout for drunk Canadians swimming across the river.

We visited the Belle Isle Station last weekend, when it briefly opened to the public for Shiver on the River. There's a boathouse, exercise facilities, offices and a mess hall with auto-themed decor and a view of the river.