BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL
Support for the Bishop’s House revitalization project is pouring in from a wide variety of benefactors, and not just from those with ties to the historic St. Raphael’s site.
“On March 3, we received a grant from the McLean Foundation for $20,000,” Brenda Baxter, director of the non-profit citizens’ group, The Glengarry Fencibles Trust, told last week.
“And while reporting on our (the Fencibles Trust’s) financial status, in regards to the Parks Canada matching grant, I was speaking with a gentleman, Andrew Stewart … and it just so happened that he was already interested in our project, as he is the chair of the Fort York Foundation (in Toronto).
“Of course, he was very aware of the Glengarry Fencibles and their role in the War of 1812, so, in turn, he has given us $5,000.”
Established in 1945 by the late Mr. J. S. McLean, a Durham County, Ont. native and former Canada Packers Ltd. president and philanthropist, the McLean Foundation provides grants to charitable organizations in music, theatre, visual arts, conservation, health, welfare and education.
Mr. Stewart is a consultant in archaeology and geoarchaeology, has a Ph.D. in anthropology, a professional archaeological licence for the Province of Ontario, and serves on the board of the McLean Foundation.
Mrs. Baxter also pointed out that alumnae of the former Iona Academy, located in the Bishop’s House for decades, are also making pledges towards the restoration of the 200-plus-yearold structure.
“We’ve received many donations. One of the most recent was from a 1960 Iona graduate, Lloyd Barbara, and his wife, who also graduated the same year, Marie (née Keon) Barbara, of Toronto,” said Mrs. Baxter.
“They met at Iona, so they’re interested in the project, from a very different perspective, though.”
Members of the Trust have been busy fundraising in order to meet a March 31 deadline for the Parks Canada program.
“We’re trying to get to the $100,000 mark for the (Parks Canada) matching grant, by the end of March. That is a requirement to be eligible for the grant, that we have the matching sum in place by that time,” said Mrs. Baxter.
“We are now at about $72,000, so we are very, very pleased with that…It’s just marvelous to think that the $100,000 would be available to us, from Parks Canada, if we do our work.”
The matching grant program is for buildings on National Historic Sites “which are under threat,” according to Mrs. Baxter.
The Bishop’s House, originally constructed in 1808 for Rev. Alexander Macdonell, and its cultural landscape have been designated as a Level 1 heritage element of the National Historic Site at St. Raphael’s (by Parks Canada in 1999), and are recognized in Ontario’s top one percent in terms of heritage, since being designated thusly by the Ontario Heritage Trust in 2011.
For more information about the Bishop’s House revitalization initiative, or to contribute, visit bishopshouse.ca.
© The Glengarry News, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. pg 6
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