Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Monday, March 30, 2015


We all remember that scene in 'Streetcar Named Desire.' The clash between the crude but compellingly sexy Stanley and his wife's sister, the delicate if slightly mad Blanche - a clash of such opposite energies that the end was sure to be destruction.

Yesterday we observed something of the sort, in a totally different way (and the similarity may be incomprehensible to you, AR visitor, but it resonated with me.) We spent the afternoon, a cold, windy, brilliant late-winter afternoon, on Amherst Island.

Pentland Cemetery

Before we left home, I checked on-line for what I knew (from my visits to the island tour photos posted on Frontenac Heritage Foundation's website) was a lovely, time-forgotten spot, with deep roots and history.

I knew also that the island community is embroiled in one of those heart-breaking battles with big wind companies, which are dividing communities around the province, for a not-very-convincing alternative to other sources of electrical power.

three Ontario farmhouses on the south shore

Amherst Island has been placed by Heritage Canada The National Trust on their Top 10 Endangered places list. Here's a link to the battle being waged against Windlectric, in defense of the island way of life, and its natural and built heritage.

One of the most unique and beautiful built heritage features of this island are the drystone walls, the legacy of Irish-Scottish stonemasons. Nine of them have been submitted for heritage designation, to add to the three structures already designated.

We had a walk through the village of Stella, a photo drive along the south shore road, and made our promises to return in balmy spring - our first experience of Amherst Island. Another unforgettable place in the cross-hairs of IWT developers.

Enough of this. Let me show you the photos...and you be the judge.

love this building!

the spot to catch up on the news in  Stella, I'm guessing

We plan to revisit in May. I hope we see the island triumphant in its struggle by then.

When we get a chance to walk through the front doors of Neilson's General Store (now a museum) we'll acquire the means to let you know more about the history of these wonderful buildings.
Victoria Hall and 1873 church - stories to tell

Neilson's General Store

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