On July13, 2020, the board of Glengarry Fencibles Trust learned that masonry restoration plans for the Bishop’s House will benefit from a $98,572 Parks Canada cost-sharing grant.
This1808 landmark in Glengarry County, within the National Historic Site of St. Raphael’s, was almost demolished in 2015, so news of the proposal’s success was especially encouraging. The goal is to adapt the building for reuse as a cultural and conference centre.
With this grant, two walls on the rear of the building will be restored, one on the back of Bishop Macdonell’s headquarters itself (the wings of the building were added in 1924 to accommodate Iona Academy). Its heritage masonry became visible again when a number of dilapidated, unsympathetic additions—one a two-storey 1930s kitchen/bedroom wing—were carefully demolished last year.
The exterior of the building and the two-acre grounds have seen other significant improvements. Besides the roof, which was replaced in 2017, the stately veranda and Juliet balcony were restored, the heritage metal trim repainted, and the mansard tiles repaired. In addition, the 1826 drystone retaining wall, which arches along a knoll in front, has only a small portion left to rebuild.
Ever since taking possession in 2016, the focus has been on bringing the landscape back into perspective and securing the envelope of the building. Now we are turning to the interior. With its deep stone walls, many windows and scenic location across from the St. Raphael’s Ruins, the building’s spaces have spectacular potential.
Some of you have already helped fund our improvements; for this we remain grateful. We remind others that our board has no employees; any charitable donation goes right into the project (www.bishopshouse.ca).
Please note that our mailing address has changed: Glengarry Fencibles Trust, 4739 Frog Hollow Road, Green Valley, ON K0C 1L0.