Doors

The Glengarry News - - Sports in the Glens -

Church

St. John the Evan­ge­list Angli­can Church, lo­cated in a wooded area on the South Ser­vice Road half­way be­tween South Lan­caster and Bainsville, is about as far re­moved from Notre Dame Cathe­dral as you can get, both ge­o­graph­i­cally and ar­chi­tec­turally.

Don’t worry. That’s not an of­fen­sive state­ment. The church wasn’t de­signed that way. There’s a chil­dren’s play area right in the church – it’s not in a sep­a­rate room like it is in other churches – and the church grounds them­selves fea­tured a seven-cir­cuit labyrinth.

New parish­ioner Karen Dav­i­son Wood says that St. John’s was de­signed in the arts and crafts style rather than the Gothic and neo-Gothic styles of other older churches.

She says that the neo-Gothic style em­pha­sizes how in­signif­i­cant man is in the sight of God, which is why so many cathe­drals fea­ture tall spires and ex­tremely large door­ways. The arts and crafts style, which was started in Eng­land by Wil­liam Mor­ris, em­pha­sizes man’s con­nec­tion to na­ture. Much of St. John’s is made

of wood, for ex­am­ple, and the stained glass win­dows tend to show more flow­ers and fewer saints.

The church it­self was built in 1897 (con­se­crated in 1899), though an ex­ten­sion was added in the late 1980s af­ter an in­flux of Que­bec res­i­dents moved to Glen­garry.

St. John’s is lo­cated on the for­mer prop­erty of the late John McLen­nan, an MP who served in John A. Mac­don­ald’s govern­ment. Mr. McLen­nan died four years be­fore the church was built; his de­scen­dants had pledged $800 to build the church and pay for a min­is­ter. It was orig­i­nally in­tended to be a church for the the em­ploy­ees of the McLen­nan es­tate.

Stu­art Up­ton, a long-time mem­ber of the church, says that his grand­par­ents, Thomas and Ellen Up­ton, were at the first ever church ser­vice here.

And now I know five things I didn’t know be­fore.

Priest’s Mill Arts Cen­tre

Of all the build­ings on this year’s Doors Open tour, the Priest’s Mill in Alexan­dria is the most fa­mil­iar. For more than 15 years I have lived and worked right across the street from it and I have been wit­ness to its many changes.

I saw the restau­rant start out as Cham­pi­ons’ Pub. The build­ing

has since housed a num­ber of other res­tau­rants like The High­land Piper, Big Luke’s Take 2, and its cur­rent ten­ant, The North Glen­garry.

Re­cently, it be­came home to an arts cen­tre that has built up quite a rep­u­ta­tion as a glass blow­ing fa­cil­ity.

Un­for­tu­nately, the cen­tre was closed on the Sun­day when I vis­ited (though the brochure told me it would be open.) As such, I had to read some ma­te­rial that the cen­tre had made avail­able.

Much of it I al­ready knew from previous re­search. I knew that Rev. Alexan­der Mac­donell came to Glen­garry from Scot­land in the 1780s. I knew that he founded St. Raphael’s Par­ish and that he built his grist­mill on the Garry River to meet the needs of his parish­ioners and new set­tlers, many of whom were dis­banded sol­diers from the War of 1812.

But what I didn’t know was that a fire de­stroyed the orig­i­nal grist­mill in 1848 along with a card­ing mill that the mill’s new owner, Don­ald A. Mac­don­ald, had con­structed about four years ear­lier.

And now I know six things I didn’t know be­fore.

Glen­garry Pi­o­neer Mu­seum

This mu­seum, also known as the jewel of Dun­ve­gan, was the busiest of all the stops on the

Doors Open tour. That’s just hap­pen­stance though. As it turned out, the mu­seum was hold­ing a vol­un­teer ap­pre­ci­a­tion lun­cheon on the Sun­day of the Doors Open tour. The mu­seum has grown a lot over the past one­and-a-half decades. It now fea­tures 11 build­ings and an out­door pav­il­ion com­plete with track light­ing.

I man­aged to steal a cou­ple min­utes with Jen­nifer Black, the mu­seum’s cu­ra­tor, and a few of her staff mem­bers. She said that the mu­seum has well over 8,000 ar­ti­facts and that some of them date back to the early 1700s.

When asked about the old­est ar­ti­fact at the mu­seum, I was given the story of the MacCrim­mon Querns, which was a hand­mill used to grind grain. It dates back to 1715 and is cur­rently lo­cated in the Orange Lodge, which the mu­seum also uses as its of­fice.

The mill was the prop­erty of Wil­liam Dubh Macken­zie the fifth Earl of Seaforth, who passed away in 1740. In­ter­est­ingly, the Querns has made their way to Glen­garry twice. Once when Macken­zie’s fam­ily em­i­grated to Canada. Then, af­ter a stint on dis­play at Queen’s Univer­sity, it fi­nally game back to Glen­garry so it could be fea­tured at the mu­seum. And now I know seven things I didn’t know be­fore.

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