Heritage home opens doors to Christmas tours
KINGSVILLE Bowed ceilings and the smell of mould didn’t deter Donna Snow-Amormino from instantly loving the 100-year-old summer home built for Ford Motor Company of Canada founder Gordon McGregor.
“I saw her. This is like an old time friend of mine I had to have in my life,” she said this week. “I think this old gal needed to be revived.”
This weekend, visitors on the Kingsville Christmas House Tour will get to see the home, which in the past year went from being a candidate for demolition to a spruced-up historic lakefront home ready for the holidays.
“I think I almost bought it to save her,” the retired teacher said.
From the white picket fence outside to the original hemlock floors inside, the four-bedroom house oozes the charm of an old cottage. You can imagine McGregor and friends com- ing through the french doors from the lakeside to a cosy spot by the brick fireplace.
McGregor was the son of William McGregor, who served as a member of Parliament in the area for 20 years. Gordon McGregor took the family’s suffering wagon works business in Walkerville and used it to make cars after signing an agreement in 1904 with Henry Ford.
McGregor became the founder of the Ford Motor Company of Canada and when he died in 1922 was the company’s vice-president.
McGregor had the summer home in Kingsville built in 1910.
Snow-Amormino is on the hunt for old pictures of the home. She wonders if Henry Ford or perhaps Kingsville’s father of conservation Jack Miner visited the house.
Snow-Amormino, an artist who likes to save and restore things she finds in the garbage, furnished the house for about $23,000, she said. She spent weeks going through antique and consignment shops and every room seems to hold a trash to treasure find. She painted a rug on one of the bathroom floors and created her own mantle for the 100-year-old fireplace.
The Christmas tree stands in an Lshaped enclosed porch that stretches about 58 feet across the house. The porch was added 60 to 70 years ago and provides a panoramic view of the lake. “I feel like I’ve been in this house all my life.”
The Kingsville Christmas House Tour has seven homes and the renovated King’s Hotel Inn and Suites, a historic hotel which held its grand reopening Thursday.
Tickets are $20 and available at Migration Hall Saturday and Sunday. Tours run Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.
Wine, coffee, tea, cold apple cider, appetizers and sweets will be served at the Pelee Island Winery for ticket holders.