Old buildings: a part of our history
The commentary expressed here is personal and may, or may not, reflect the experiences of others who are senior citizens. One of the things that has always fascinated me is vacated buildings. Wherever I have found them and unless there was a ‘no trespassing’ sign, I entered them to revel within walls that once housed others. Here is an example:
At one time, I taught at St. George’s School on Piccadilly Avenue in Ottawa. When that school was to be demolished to make way for the present school, the principal George Bouliane and I were given permission to enter the building the day before it came down. We went into all the rooms throughout the school finding interesting artifacts, which we retrieved. The following day, with camera in hand, I recorded the various stages of demolition where so many pupils and teachers had spent a significant part of their lives. It was sad to see it go.
These thoughts surfaced as I was preparing the last column about Aylmer resident and luthier Dennis Alexander, whose Alexander Violins are now played throughout North America and elsewhere. That story included a part about a national treasure on Prince Edward Island, Glenaladale, where Dennis, his wife Diane (MacKinnon) and other family members, attended the 250th anniversary of the Glenaladale Scottish Settlers.
Originally, the property, located at Tracadie Cross, Charlottetown, was owned by the MacDonalds (1772). The first Scottish Catholic settlers came to what was then St. John’s Island. In 1905, Glenaladale was purchased by the MacKinnon family. Following the death of the last Glenaladale MacKinnon, the property was purchased by a trust company that is trying to preserve its history.
On his honeymoon in 1968, Dennis Alexander sat down in the parlour of the large home to play the fiddle, accompanied on the organ by his wife’s uncle, Phil Barlowe (photo). Study the photo to take you back to a different time and place in our history.
On a visit this June with his wife Diane, Dennis sat in the same position and played his violin to participate in one of the Glenaladale Scottish Settlers Festival’s main events, “The MacKinnon Parlour Party”. Accompanying him on that occasion was Leo Marchildon, a renowned organist from the Charlottetown area.