Last winter, three members of Iona Academy’s class of ’67—Sharon Abbey, Peter McLeod and Neil McGregor—drove to Ottawa to fulfill a boarding classmate’s last wishes.

When Ellen (O’Regan) Labelle learned she had stage-four lung cancer, she asked if some treasured furniture could be returned to the school. (She had bought the pieces at a St.Raphael’s auction in the 1980s.) So after her death in January, Sharon, Peter and Neil brought Ellen’s china cabinet and dining room table “home”. The pine cabinet is back in its original space, the sisters’ dining room, while the table is adjacent to where it had been—in the refectory, the boarders’ dining room.

Each boarder would store her own placemat, napkin holder and utensils in one of the drawers
Nancy Grant and Scott Young
The Bishop's Parlour, 1930s
We are delighted to have Nancy Grant (above) now heading our committee that curates furniture and decorative choices.

In this June photo taken in the Bishop’s parlour, we had a much-appreciated visit from Scott Young, the heritage stonemason who oversaw the stone wall’s restoration.

Besides moving heavy pieces with us, he helped hang these old Scottish prints, given to us by Ginny Winn of Martintown. They beautifully complement the parlour’s own furniture, just recently out of storage. This elegant piece is featured in the early photo (above) from the 1930s.

This beautiful nineteenth-century settee was a timely donation from Colleen (McRae) Shepherd of Alexandria. She inherited it years ago from her great-aunt Kate Ross-McDonell of Curry Hill.

Dane Lanken’s family asked us to host a Lively Garden Party

On June 10, our Board was honoured to oblige.

That beautiful Saturday afternoon, 150 people came to celebrate Dane’s memory, and support his cherished wife, Anna, and their children, Lily and Sylvan.

Dane passed away on March 3, 2023. Though he was raised in Montreal, he grew to be an adopted son of Glengarry, having moved to a farm south of Alexandria over 50 years ago.

His insightful mind and wide-ranging curiosity allowed him to pursue various fascinating roles: feature writer for The Montreal Gazette (1967-1977), editor of Canadian Geographic, and author of the book, Kate and Anna McGarrigle: Songs and Stories (2007). Given his fine speaking skills and keen interest, he became a formidable advocate for Glengarry’s forgotten stories and vulnerable heritage buildings.

Thus it was appropriate that we gathered here, that Dane’s old sleigh decorated the 1826 drystone wall; his eclectic musical choices— from Kate and Anna, to Handel, and Jimi Hendrix—were played on the Bishop’s House steps; and his memorabilia was lovingly displayed, in the 1808 rooms he fought to save.

For over eleven years, Dane (centre) fought to protect, save, then adapt the House for future use. Here he is on March 31, 2016, with Allan Macdonell (right) and Cornwall lawyer Larry Filion, signing the ownership documents. He then became the Trust’s first Treasurer.
Days before the memorial, we arranged this furniture so that people could easily view the slides of Dane’s life that Sylvan had compiled. Fittingly, these were shown on the wall just above Dane’s harmonium (hidden right), now in its new home.

Upcoming Events for 2024


Friday, April 26 at 1:00pm

Gala Dinner

Saturday, May 25
Recreation Centre, Williamstown
Tickets $100
Doors Open at 6:00
Dinner at 7:00

Bishop’s House Tours

July 7 to August 31
Sunday afternoons

What Projects Are Next?

Construction Drawing of the Back’s Accessible Entrance

Work was expected to begin on the back veranda early this fall, but design and permit delays pushed it back until next spring (2024).

In addition, the back lawn will be graded, and interlocking brick will link the back driveway to both the steps and the lift, as seen in the drawing.

There will also be a gate built into the trelliswork so that workers can readily gain access beneath.

Thanks to your wonderful generosity, and grants from Trillium ($73,000) and SD&G Regional Incentives ($21,627), funds are already in place for the Accessible Entrance/Lift Project above.

This work will take at least two months in early spring, as it begins with permanently closing an old basement entrance, and consolidating the adjacent foundation so that the basement continues to be dry.

After that, our focus becomes the west wing (the area on your left in photo below) with its 14’ ceilings, wonderful light, and beautiful views. The Board has frequently been approached about having a space where visitors to the Ruins could savour local foods, and access washrooms. Given the proportion of these rooms, this area could provide those amenities.

To prepare for such public use, there is much to do: update the heating and plumbing, install a new septic system, consolidate the masonry on the east wall (as has already been done to all the north walls), restore the front windows/replicate those on the west, and renovate the interior, retaining as many of the original features as we can.

What can you do to help?
  • send a donation by mail or PayPal
  • suggest your children donate on your behalf, in lieu of gifts
  • host a Glengarry gathering, and inspire guests to contribute
  • talk to your lawyer about a future bequest
  • volunteer your time and expertise (613 931-2022 or 613 525-5410)
Remembering the Great Dane Lanken
2024 Spring Gala Dinner - POSTPONED
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