Wil­liamstown land­mark re­freshed

The Glengarry News - - Front Page -

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.

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