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County honours heritage property designations

Several County residents received plaques to display on their heritage designation properties during a recent Prince Edward Heritage Advisory Committee meeting.

“We value our cultural heritage properties because they help tell the story of our shared past,” said Mayor Steve Ferguson. “We want to make sure they are protected for future generations to enjoy. I commend these property owners for being proactive and pursuing the formal designation.”

The Ontario Heritage Act gives municipalities the power to formally designate properties of cultural heritage value or interest. The County recently designated four properties:
Vance-Connors House (circa 1860)
Cermak Farm Complex (circa 1860)
Walmsley-Ayer/Scully Farm Complex (circa 1875)
Empringham House (circa 1880s)

“Formal designation of heritage properties is one way of publicly acknowledging a property’s heritage value to the community,” said Ken Dewar, Chair, Prince Edward Heritage Advisory Committee (PEHAC). “The committee was pleased to work co-operatively with the property owners throughout the process. We invite other property owners to follow their lead and explore the designation process in the future.”

The owners of the properties initiated and completed the designation process with the assistance of members of PEHAC. The property owners receive a designation plaque to display on their property.

“Heritage in Prince Edward County and across Ontario is a vital component to maintaining our connection, as a community, to our past and also to preserve examples of this rich history for future generations to see and enjoy,” said Braydon Scully, who along with Dawn Ayer worked to designate their property. “We believe that both having individuals and government making a commitment to the preservation of our history is a key component of ensuring this legacy for future generations.”

About the homes

Vance-Connors House c. 1860
Recipients: Gordon Connors and Esther Huber

The Vance-Connors House is a landmark property on Paul Street at the end of King Street. This Gothic
Revival-style house is rich in detail, with architectural features that are typical for Prince Edward County. It reveals the early development of what was a fashionable part of Picton, not far from the town’s business core. The house itself has value as a relatively unchanged surviving example of a home constructed for a prominent Picton merchant in the lumber trade – John Vance (1810-1894).

Cermak Farm Complex c. 1860
Recipient: Debby Cermak
The 19th -century farm is a good example of a cultural heritage landscape, meaning an area that “involves elements that are valued together for their interrelationship, meaning or association.” The complex consists of a one-and-a-half-storey brick masonry house with masonry “tail” (rear wing), and a small and a large barn. Many of the house’s architectural elements are typical of the South Marysburgh vernacular style including the projecting entrance bay, the pointed arch window within the front gable; tall, paired and mullioned vertical sliding wood sash windows; and wide overhanging eaves. The placement of the house in relation to the barns and the street as well as the line of roadside trees at the front of the house indicate a planned architectural design intent.

Walmsley-Ayer/Scully Farm Complex c. 1875
Recipients: Dawn Ayer and Braydon Scully
The complex of buildings consists of a triple-gabled, one-and-a-half storey house, a barn, a drive shed and
other outbuildings. The property is a landmark property on Walmsley Road for the design value of its
buildings, its historical association with the Walmsley family, and its consciously designed complex of buildings and lane within a particular location.
The house is a unique example of local vernacular residential style and displays excellent craftsmanship. The house is “the most sophisticated” of only three triple-gabled houses identified in The Settler’s Dream, and the only one of wood frame construction.

Empringham House c. 1880s
Recipient: Stephen Empringham
This one-and-a-half-storey house is a charming example of the mid- to late-19th-century Ontario builders’ fascination with the Gothic Revival style. The building was placed on the lot to take advantage of the site at the top of the bluff overlooking the river valley to the north, towards Milford. This siting produced both an unusual orientation to the road and a corresponding arrangement of door and window openings, which was then reflected in the plan. This house is significant historically as it was constructed on part of an original Loyalist land grant of more than 2,000 acres given by the Crown to Lieutenant Archibald Macdonell, who was an important figure in the initial settlement of Prince Edward County

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