Thursday, October 8, 2015

Robert Gallant's Blacksmith Shop, Howlan - Demolished

     On my way to O'Leary the other day, I took the route through Howlan - below is what remains of Robert Gallant's Blacksmith Shop.  Another historic building gone!!
     I guess the old buildings were in too bad of shape to be moved.  Sorry to see this rural landmark gone!
See previous post on this blog dated June 12, 2011...
Below is an image of Robert Gallant, taken by Lionel Stevenson in 1985 - the photograph was published to in the book, Elders of the Island by Mary O'Brien, Lionel Stevenson, Terry Dunton Stevenson.  UPEI and Ragweed Press.  ISBN 0-920304-53-2.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Mend-a-Bath - Bathtub Refinishing

     The other day I met Marlowe Wood, Master Franchisee and his son at my brother's shop - they're located in Freetown, here on Prince Edward Island.  Marlowe has more than 20 years experience in Bathtub Refinishing and has done work for years at my friends motel.
     His services include refinishing of Bathtubs, Tiles, Sinks, Stain Removal, Chip Repairs and Claw-foot Bathtubs.
     Marlowe's contact information is as follows: Ph: 902-315-2284; Email:;  Website:
Above image cf. Mend-a-Bath website.

Leard's Mill Fundraising - help save the last grist mill on PEI!

     LEARDS MILL HATS AND T-SHIRTS FOR SALE, HELP SAVE LEARDS MILL WITH EACH PURCHASE.  $10 for Hats and $13 for T-shirts.  Now available at the Canadian Potato Museum, O’Leary, Prince Edward Island.  Phone: (902) 859-2039.
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     JoDee Samuelson (Old Mills of PEI Map, 1996) has calculated = in 1871 there were 117 grist mills on Prince Edward Island - 27 west of Summerside!  Today we have one (1) left on the whole Island, Leard's Mill, and it needs to be saved!!!!
Above: 1888 Leard's Mill, southwest view from the Buchanan Road, Coleman.
I took these photos in the fall of 2014.
Above: west view of Leard's Mill from the Confederation Trail.
 Above info cf. A Light in the Field by H.M. Scott Smith's book, Mills,of PEI.
Above page cf. Past & Present: A History of Brae.  Page 149.
Above: JoDee Samuelson's, Old Mills of Prince Edward Island Map, 1996.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

47 & 49 Edward St. Charlottetown

      47-49 Edward Street is a Colonial Revival influenced multiple dwelling built at some point after 1878. According to local directories Mrs. Sarah Nicholson owned the house from at least 1935 until after 1950 and her tenants Norman and Ethel MacPherson lived there during the same 15 year period. 
     Located on the northwest corner of Edward and Kent Streets.
 I took these photos on Aug. 13, 2012.
Researched by Catherine Hennessey for City of Charlottetown.

Regenerating Places of Faith Workshop

     We got to attend the "Regenerating Places of Faith Workshop: A Workshop for Rural and Small Urban Communities" last week in Sydney, Cape Breton.  The workshop was hosted by "National Trust of Canada" and "Faith & the Common Good" and a pilot for which they hope will be offered to other Canadian communities.
    The workshop was divided in to seven sessions which ranged from, Sharing Hope & Inspiration, Hands-on Exercise to Discussion Sessions.  We learned that not every building can be saved; those more salvageable are located in urban settings; it takes a strong, dedicated and visionary group of individuals to save these buildings.  
    We were the only two from Prince Edward Island, there were a few from New Brunswick - most of the 70+ attendees were from Cape Breton which included a dozen students from Cape Breton University's Leadership course.
     The workshop was held in the "New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation" - this building was the former Holy Angels property (a school, convent, house and 2.77 acres) was turned over to "New Dawn Enterprises" est. 1976 - the oldest community development corporation in Canada. See
     Midway through the workshop we walked less than a block each way to see two churches, St. George's Anglican Church and Sacred Heart Catholic Church, both closed in 2014 with uncertain futures.  This summer the churches were open to foot traffic from cruise ships which is not a money maker.
      Above: St. Georges Anglican Church. Opened 1791.  Oldest Anglican Church in Nova Scotia.  Built with stone from Louisbourg.  
Above: Sacred Heart Church, built in 1889.  Est. 1825 with a strong Irish heritage.
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We learned a few stories while at the Workshop.  Here's a few stories: 
     We met Melanie Sampson of the "Stone Church Restoration Society" and learned about their efforts to save the 99-year-old St. Alphonsus Stone Church in Victoria Mines /New Waterford, NS.  A few days following we heard the good that they had successful negotiations with the Diocese and were making progress to turn the church into a Non-denominational Wedding Chapel, etc.  St. Alphonsus was listed on the National Trust of Canada's 2014 "Top Ten Endangered Places" list.
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     We also learned that the "iconic 135-year-old Sackville United Church" in Sackville, NB, listed on the National Trust of Canada's 2015 "Top Ten Endangered Places" list, was demolished in mid-September 2015.
     Below is a shocking image of the demolition of the former Sackville United Church - what's even more shocking is that the salvageable materials, ie. windows were lost!!
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A few more things we learned...
     Nova Scotia's Heritage Property Act, Sections 17 & 18 "Approval to alter or demolish municipal heritage property".  The municipality may take up to three-years to consider an application under Section 17
     The province of Quebec has saved/re-purposed many of their religious buildings over the past 20 years in more than 2700 projects with a value of $425,000,000.  They are far ahead of the rest of Canada in saving places of faith.     
     Proverb 29:18  "Where there is no vision, the people will perish".

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Regenerating Places of Faith Workshop

     Speaking of churches and the future of these buildings, there will be a one-day workshop on September 24th, 2015 in Sydney, Cape Breton.  
     A note of interest in the workshop poster below - on the top right is PEI's New Glasgow United Church - demolished in August 2011!
     For more information see the following website...
Thursday, September 24, 2015, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation, 37 Nepean Street, Sydney, Nova Scotia
     Places of faith anchor and shape our communities. Yet many congregations are facing declining attendance and insufficient funding to maintain and operate their buildings. These important community assets are in a period of transition, both in rural and in small urban areas. What is their future? Whether it is to keep the doors open, make strategic real estate decisions, or meet community needs in new ways, their future depends on urgent collaboration among community organizations, elected officials, faith group leaders, the business community, universities and more.
     This one-day workshop will share inspiring examples and proven strategies that faith groups and community organizations can apply in Cape Breton and beyond. There will be time for some applied problem-solving as well. The session will be presented by two national organizations – the National Trust for Canada, and Faith & the Common Good – working in collaboration with Cape Breton University and the Sydney Architectural Conservation Society.  The organizers gratefully acknowledge the funding support of ACOA and the CBU Tompkins Institute.

Holy Trinity Alma Anglican Church - 125 years

     This year marks 125 years since Holy Trinity Anglican Church was consecrated - it is located on the western Road in Alma.
     The old church, despite being in excellent condition, has an uncertain future - like most rural churches on our Island and throughout our country, they have lost their place in our society.  This little church belongs to the Parish of Alberton-O'Leary which has a total of four churches and a dwindling congregation.  Memorial services are held here twice every summer - the old families are mostly gone and the new generation has little interest in old ways and traditions.
     Below are a few photos from the August 16th service this past summer.

Immaculate Conception Church, Palmer Road - Parish Picnic

     I was up to the Palmer Road Parish Picnic this summer - my first time despite having grown up nearby!!  It was an excellent event on an incredibly hot summers day!  Great efforts in fundraising have been underway to paint the church this fall. 
Here's a few photos I took inside the church (quilt show) and of a model of the church.

Prince County Properties receive protected status

     This is really old new, Published on March 27, 2015 - cf.  Journal-Pioneer newspaper website by Colin MacLean: 
The Lyle House is an early example of Georgian classical architecture and used to be an inn/post office in Lot 16. Photo submitted by the Government of P.E.I.
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SUMMERSIDE – At the same time the Lyle House was being built in Lot 16, the Battle of the Alamo was raging in Texas and Charles Darwin was forming his Theory of Evolution. 
Since its construction in 1836 the house has by times stood proudly as a hub of activity as an inn/post office and been humbled by the ravages of time as a shed/chicken coop.
It has endured and outlasted history itself and now it, along with four other Prince County buildings, is being protected for future generations to enjoy. 
The buildings have received ‘designated’ status under the Heritage Places Protection Act and have been added to the P.E.I. Registry of Historic Places.
Claude Arsenault, who purchased the house around 2005 and painstakingly restored and renovated it from a dilapidated state, is overjoyed with the designation.
“I’m thrilled, beyond thrilled,” said Arsenault.
“It’s an honour to live in this little house. It was built with a lot of love and care, it wasn’t slapped together in five minutes. The fact that it’s almost 200-years-old is a testament to the quality of the craftsmanship of these post and beam houses.”
Charlotte Stewart, a heritage officer with the provincial Department of Tourism and Culture, said all of these sites are unique in some way and are well worth protecting. 
“It’s great to have these added to the registry, they really are important parts of our history and shows that the owners are interested, and place value on the buildings and want to see them recognized,” said
The Prince County buildings include: the Emerald, Kensington and O’Leary railway stations, St. Anne’s Church in Lennox Island and the Lyle House in Birch Hill. The West River petroglyph site in Bonshaw, Queen’s County, was also listed.
The P.E.I. Heritage Places Protection Act sets out two levels of recognition for homes.
The first, ‘registration,’ is basically honourific, and just signifies that the property has some historic note.
A step above registration is ‘designation,’ which is a means to protect the historic nature of the property. It places restrictions on the property in terms of what the owner can change and forces them to apply for a permit before making changes to the structure.
Properties receive registration and designation on the P.E.I. Registry of Historic Places by nomination and are vetted by a provincial committee which then makes a recommendation to the minister of Tourism and Culture, who makes the final approval.
As for Arsenault, he’s happy to keep living in his now officially historic house, until it’s someone else’s turn to protect it. He takes a transient view of such things.
“I’m 66 years old and I’ve come to the realization that nobody truly owns anything … We’re all just custodians, we borrow things and are kind of in charge of things – for a while,” he said. 

About the buildings:
-       The O’Leary Railway Station was built in 1913/1914.
-       The Kensington Railway Station was built in 1905 and included P.E.I. stones in its construction.
-       The Emerald Railway Station was built in 1924 and most of the community sprang up around it.
-       St. Anne’s Church in Lennox Island is an 1895 Gothic structure, designed by Summerside architect George Baker, who also designed many of the city’s fox homes. 

Catching up on some old news...

...I have been distracted from my blog the past few months - I'm attempting to catch up on some important news.