Williamstown landmark refreshed
Parks Canada has marked the completion of over $665,000 in restorative work on Sir John Johnson House National Historic Site in Williamstown.
One of the oldest surviving houses in Ontario, the landmark was built by Sir John Johnson, who is historically recognized for his encouragement of United Empire Loyalists to settle in the St. Lawrence River Valley after the American Revolution.
This infrastructure project addressed major stabilizing and exterior repairs to ensure structural integrity of the house. Work focused on the building’s foundation and exterior wood elements, roof replacement, and the rehabilitation of windows and doors.
“Investments in preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of our national historic sites will protect our heritage and strengthen their appeal as destinations to celebrate our nation's achievements,” Parks Canada says.
“Through Parks Canada’s infrastructure investment, the site’s long-time occupants, the Sir John Johnson Manor House Committee, are provided with the opportunity to invest in new visitor experience opportunities. Through immersive history days with local school groups, the committee helps to share the importance and impact of United Empire Loyalists settlement and Sir John Johnson's role,” says the department.
Building on the structural repairs completed by Parks Canada, the Sir John Johnson Manor House Committee will also be investing in the restoration of two rooms on the ground floor. The group continues to raise funds for restoration work on the second storey of the house to bring it back to a time period reflective of its 1700s origins.
“Williamstown is a small, beautiful, historically important village. The founder Sir John
Johnson, was probably the preeminent Loyalist leader, and arguably the founder of Eastern Ontario. Because of the extensive restoration work undertaken by Parks Canada, we now have an opportunity to make equally transformative changes in restoring the interior of the house and develop self- sustaining visitor opportunities at this national historic site,” says committee president Lynn Lafave.
“Restoration of the interior will create a better experience for Canadians and international travellers coming to discover the legacy of Sir John Johnson,” says Parks Canada.
“These federal infrastructure in- vestments give our past a future. The restorative work recently completed by Parks Canada has been transformative for the exterior of Sir John Johnson House and will help protect and preserve this treasured place. The house’s prominence in the town of Williamstown means the site will remain a focal point in community life, while efforts by the Sir John Johnson Manor House Committee will offer new opportunities for locals and tourists to further enjoy this historic home,” adds Katherine Patterson, Field Unit Superintendent, Georgian Bay and Ontario East, Parks Canada.
Built between 1784 and 1792 as part of a mill site, Sir John Johnson House National Historic Site is significant for its architectural design and for being one of the oldest surviving buildings in Ontario.