Friday, October 24, 2014

Belcourt Centre, Rustico - to be demolished?

            There has been much discussion lately about the future of the Belcourt Centre in Rustico - there's been some misinformation circulating about the history of the building. The following comes the Parish history, St. Augustine's Church 1838-1988, Pages 57-59.
Above: The First Convent / Below: the present Convent.
            In February 1932 the first Convent on this site was destroyed by fire...
            "The Sisters and the parishioners did not give up. The big house opposite the church, then owned by Teddy Doucette, was made available as living quarters for the Sisters and some classrooms, and the remaining classes were accommodated in the Parish Hall. The boarders were lodged with families in the village. Classes were resumed the very next day, after books were secured from Charlottetown.  
            With insurance money for materials, the parishioners decided they could build a new convent if volunteer labour were provided. The traditional generosity of the people and their tremendous loyalty to the convent made it possible to erect a convent that summer, using the repaired foundation and an almost identical design. Missing were the third floor dormer windows which had given the original convent an air of style. The Sisters and pupils moved into the new building in December, 1932. At the time of the re-building, Sr. St. Joseph du Sauveur, who had done so much for the former convent, was retired in Montreal. But her love for Rustico prompted her to help. She had a truck box placed near the entrance to the Motherhouse with a sign, "Donations for the Convent in Rustico".  
            Even with the new convent building, better salaries for the teachers, and many successes in the training of youth, all was not easy. Declining enrollment in the thirties threatened their government salaries, and changes in lifestyles made boarding schools less popular. But another boost for the convent occurred when a Grade Eleven Class was opened in 1950. This put the Convent School in the category of Senior High School, and though the classes were small, their success in Maritime Board Examinations was testimony to the quality of the teaching found in Rustico Convent. In 1953, the Grade Eleven Class was combined with that of North Rustico.  
            The late fifties and early sixties brought more changes which affected the convent in Rustico. Consolidation of schools brought bus transportation into the picture, and soon boarding schools were completely out of date. To provide space for the now larger classes, the Department of Education in 1963 had a new elementary school built near St. Augustine's Church, and this move left more vacant space at the convent. The Sisters continued to live there and teach at the new school, named St. Augustine's School, but as the number of Sisters on the staff decreased, they found it more convenient to live at Stella Maris Convent in North Rustico and commute to school.  
            For a few years the convent was used as a summer residence for Sisters of Notre Dame in the Maritime, but this plan proved too costly, and in 1973, the convent was sold to Jack Pound and Joe Jabbour under the company name of J and J Estates. For a short time they operated a motel and Restaurant under the name Belcourt Lodge and Restaurant. Lack of modern facilities and other handicaps hindered the success of their enterprise. Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlottetown had a committee searching for a facility for Retreats and other religious programs, and in 1977 it was decided to buy the former St. Augustine's Convent for a Retreat House. For four years the Retreat House program gradually grew under the direction of Donald Doucette of Rusticoville, and then in 1981, two Sisters of St. Martha came to live at the Retreat House and carry out the tasks of administration. They were: Sister Bernice Cullen and Sister Carmelita Soloman. Later a third Sister, Sister Frances Murphy, joined the staff. Belcourt Centre has a full yearly schedule of events fro Spiritual Renewal, and for the parishioners who had supported the convent so faithfully, it has been great joy "to see the lights in the convent again".  
            To reflect adequately on the contribution made by the Sisters of Notre Dame at the convent from 1882 would be a monumental task. Here we have space only to highlight a few outstanding ways in which a lasting impression was effected for people of the parish and far beyond its limits, and mention a few points of special interest in the history of the convent.
            Formation in the Christian life was always foremost in the program provided by the Sister, and daily religious instruction and prayer... 
            Cultural training was offered through music, drama and art; and through instruction and example, pupils acquired a general refinement that has carried down from generation to generation...
            The good religious formation provided in the school and the example of the Sisters encouraged those who ere called to the priesthood and the religious life..  For nearly one hundred years, the daughters of Marguerite Bourgeoys gave to Rustico families and to families far beyond the parish boundaries a solid formation in the Christian life, first class instruction in academic subjects, and a cultural education that no report card can evaluate. Though the convent they knew is no more, the people of Rustico recognize that the lives of families trained at the convent were transformed by the Sisters, and their gratitude will not diminish in the years to come. It seems very fitting that the former convent now serves as a Diocesan Retreat House under the name Belcourt Center."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Boulter House, O'Leary Corner, destroyed by Control Burn

     Last evening the old Boulter house was destroyed by a "control burn" by the local fire department.  It has not been lived in for more than 50 years.  
     The house is located not far from O'Leary Corner on the east side of the Western Road (Rte. 2).  Over the years many, many folks have photographed and painted this place - it was nicely situated amongst the trees and had vines growing all over it.  
     Below is a photo I took of the house on December 27, 2006.
 You can see the peak of the barn between the house gables.

Fire destroys Carpenter's Shed at Green Park Ship Building Museum & Yeo House

     Arson is suspected as investigators continue to search though what remains of the Carpenter's Shed at Green Park Ship Building Museum & Yeo House
     Below is an article which appeared on the P.E.I. Museum & Heritage Museum's website...
     A deliberately set fire, in the early morning hours of October 19, 2014, has destroyed the Carpenter's Shed at the museum site.  The incident is under investigation by the Fire Marshall and RCMP.  If you have any information, please call East Prince RCMP at 902-432-6515.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Day Trip to Eastern Prince Edward Island

     I went to Souris yesterday to see a client - the weather was so great I left early and took the long way there through St. Andrews, Green Meadows, Bridgetown, Bay Fortune, etc.  Below are photos I took along the way.
     My first stop was at St. Andrew's Chapel on Rte. 2 just past Mount Stewart.
     "In 1806 the parishioners built their first church and in 1823 a new parish house followed.  This house eventually became St. Andrew's College which operated on that site from 1831 to 1844.  It then became a parochial house again until replaced around 1885...
     The parishioners built a larger and more beautiful church in 1862 which served until it fell victim to fire in 1946.  The parish hall then became a temporary church.
     In 1864 the first church, then vacant, was moved down the ice to Pownal Street, Charlottetown to become the main part of St. Joseph's Convent-School.  In the late 1980's, after that school (partially burned) closed, it was moved back to its original site and reconstructed to become today's "St. Andrew's Chapel".
     In 1960 the new parish church was erected in Mount Stewart."   cf. A Faith Walk: Diocese of Charlottetown, by The Revd Art O'Shea. Pg. 76.
     Today St. Andrew's Chapel is open during to the public in July and August - often during these months miscellaneous function occur, including lectures.   
     For more information see website:

     Below is the Crypt where Bishop MacEachern is buried along with Bishops Charles MacDonald and Bishop Bernard MacDonald buried on either side.  The crypt is situated between the chapel and the cemetery.  
    "Outstanding missionary priest, later Bishop Angus MacEachern, came from Scotland in 1790 and made St. Andrew's his home base during his 45 years here as he travelled the Island and the mainland.  Auxiliary Bishop of Quebec from 1821 and first Bishop of Charlottetown from 1829 until 1835, his remains rest within a tiny chapel, erected in the 1970s, at St. Andrews.  On either side lie the remains of two parish natives, Bishop Bernard MacDonald and Bishop Charles MacDonald, both bishops of Charlottetown.  A third native son, James Morrison, was a long-time Bishop of Antigonish (Nova Scotia)."  cf.  A Faith Work: Diocese of Charlottetown by The Revd Art O'Shea. Page 76.
     The former Parochial house is adjacent to the chapel and today run as a Bed and Breakfast called, "Bishops Rest", www.bishopsrest.ca
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     After leaving St. Andrews, I continued on Route 2 to Morell where I turned southward onto Rte 322 the small rural community of Green Meadows where I stopped at St. Lawrence O'Toole Parish Church.
     "In the 1830s and 1840s Irish and Scottish immigrants settled the region which then formed part of St. Andrew's Parish.  In 1866 the people erected their first and only church, the present one, dedicating it to St. Lawrence O'Toole who was the first archbishop of Dublin in the 12th-century...In 1894 the parishioners built a rectory and the same year welcomes their first resident pastor.  The house burned in 1913 and a new one replace it the same year."  cf. A Faith Walk: Diocese of Charlottetown, by The Revd Art O'Shea. Pg. 64. 
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
 Below: The former Rectory of St. Lawrence O'Toole Parish - Currently for sale.
      "In 1960 the Sisters of St. Martha came to the parish to teach in nearby schools and took up residence in the unoccupied St. Lawrence rectory.  They brought new life to the parish during their eight years and shortly after their departure the rectory was sold." cf. A Faith Walk: Diocese of Charlottetown, by The Revd Art O'Shea. Pg. 64.
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
 "Near the church stands the former "horse bush, now renamed "the prayer garden", a splendid growth of old hardwood trees, now neatly groomed and containing within it a grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary." cf. A Faith Walk: Diocese of Charlottetown, by The Revd Art O'Shea. Pg. 64.
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     From Green Meadows I carried on into very rural Prince Edward Island, traveling through some quiet back road and clay roads through communities such as, Windon, Byrnes Road, Riverton, Martinvale, Corraville, Upton, etc. ending up on Route 4 in Bridgetown.  The two houses below are on the main road in Bridgetown.
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     It was an amazing fall day with temperatures reaching into the twenties - I had to take the photo before!
     At the corner of Route 2 and 4 in Dingwells Mills I took Rte. 332 to Howe Point and Fortune Beach.
Below is Abel's Cape at Fortune Beach situated on Rollo Bay.
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     Below are nicely kept wharf buildings at Fortune Harbour just off Rte. 310.
     On the same short road to Fortune Harbour is this little cottage, built in 1936 by the Jenkins family of Charlottetown - it's available as a summer rental.
     Continuing on Route 310 in Bay Fortune, just past the Inn at Bay Fortune, is this gem - likely build in the mid-nineteenth century, a center gabled house with clapboard siding and cedar shingle roof.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     From Bay Fortune I carried on Rte. 2 into Souris.  Below is an old building on the corner of Main Street and Belle Avenue - its a great Main Street project!  The building has new windows and door along with new board 'n batten siding.
     The date at the top of the building is "1931" - dates also appear on other buildings on this block.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Heritage Canada National Trust Conference in Charlottetown

     The annual national conference for Heritage Canada National Trust is being held at the Confederation Center of the Arts in Charlottetown this week.  
Check-out their website for more information...
     I've been attending some of the information sessions, workshops and tours available to registrants during the three day conference - it's a great opportunity to hear and learn about the issues and successes of heritage programs, groups, municipalities, consultants and restorers from all over Canada!
     Check out information about some of the presenters...
* Bill Bishop - http://www.landtrust.ca/


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Rolling Bank Cottage, Wilmot Valley - Demolished

     I nearly drove off the Blue Shank Road earlier this week when I looked towards the Taylor Road and saw this mid-1800's cross-gabled house reduced to a huge pile of debris!!!  
     I took these photos from roadside using my zoom lens - there were "No Trespassing" signs are posted.
Below are before photos I took on June 19, 2005.
See January 14, 2014 post on this blog...

Friday, September 26, 2014

Matthews-Redmond House, Alberton

     Below is the former Gerald Redmond House on Main Street, Alberton - the house has been long abandoned, owned by relatives away.  
     Some older Alberton residents recall this being a Matthews Home before Mr. Redmond.
Photos cf. Abandoned Properties of PEI Facebook posts.