And the wall came tumbling down…

We know this makes a lot of people sad.

During the past two days, D’Arcy and the boys have been tackling a job that we’ve put off since 2009 – our stone wall. On Easter Sunday of 2009, when he turned the corner to go to church, D’Arcy discovered that part of the small section of our stone wall had washed away in heavy rain and part of it had fallen. (Story and photos here.)  At the time, he cleaned it up as best and as safely as he could, saving all the stones – in our garden – with the plan to rebuild.

Belgravia B&B was named such after we had learned that the original name of Broad Street was Belgravia Avenue. Two months after we opened, I ran into a man who had grown up in the house from the 1920’s – 1960’s who informed me that the house had been known as “Stoneycroft” from the time it was built, due to the stone wall. (Wish we had known.)

The wall is part of the house’s history.

It soon became apparent that rebuilding wouldn’t be as simple as we had hoped. The wall, 105 years old at that time (111 now), was not built on a foundation and the mortar has turned to sand over the years.

The long part of the wall has shifted as well, and half of it is leaning sharply towards the sidewalk. Last summer, we had hoped to get the entire wall fixed, so had professionals come and give us quotes.

We’re looking at a price range of $20,000. 

For a wall. A wall that’s beautiful and sentimental but, sadly, not a necessity.

We have four children to put through university.

D’Arcy & the boys spent the past two days taking down the short section of the wall that originally started to fall six years ago. They were able to save the posts, and D’Arcy graded the lawn to the sidewalk. We have planted raspberry bushes in between the posts, with the intention that they will become a hedge that gives back. We have a picture of the house from 1916 and there was originally a hedge behind the wall, so putting this one in is like returning a different piece of history of the property.

As for the long section? D’Arcy is marking provincial exams for the next two weeks, so there won’t be any work done on it until later in the month. He has an idea to try to stabilize it, but if it doesn’t work, that section will have to come down for safety reasons as well – we hate the thought of having someone sit on it, or a child climb on it, and get hurt.

Not an easy decision; one six years in the making…

We understand.

We’re sad too.


Deconstruction begans


What was left of the short section of wall when they started to take it down.


Work in progress…


Raspberry bushes are planted; sod arrives tonight. Happy to have been able to save the pillars at least.

Stoneycroft, 1916. Note the driveway used to come in off Prince Street (the address was 416 Prince Street at that time) and the hedge behind the wall. Thank you Colchester Historical Society for the photo.

Stoneycroft, now Belgravia, 1916. Note the driveway used to come in off Prince Street (the address was 416 Prince Street at that time) and the hedge behind the wall. Thank you Colchester Historical Society for the photo.

Nova Scotia Provincial Heritage Conference

Since last fall, I have been part of the committee organizing the Nova Scotia Provincial Heritage Conference which began in Truro yesterday and will continue until tomorrow.  The following article was in the local newspaper, The Truro Daily News, yesterday:

“TRURO – The sixth annual Nova Scotia Heritage Conference is being held in Colchester County this week, featuring a historic house tour, barbecue in Victoria Park and educational sessions for about 70 delegates

The theme for this year’s conference, which runs from Wednesday to Friday, is Preservation through Education.

“It’s a time for people who are actively involved in heritage matters to meet and share ideas and concepts in preservation,” says Pam Macintosh, chairwoman of the conference organizing committee.

Participants will include heritage advisory committee members from throughout Nova Scotia, municipal and provincial staff who are interested in heritage, and people from a number of history-related organizations such as museums. There will also be students and people who own heritage properties.

“We’re focusing on the need to educate people toward the goal of preserving heritage,” says Macintosh.

“The aim is to also provide an opportunity for people to meet with other heritage stakeholders from around the province, network on what’s working well in other communities and learn about new concepts and approaches.”

The conference is hosted by the Municipality of the County of Colchester, the Town of Truro and the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.

Other organizing partners are the County of Annapolis, Municipality of Chester, Colchester Historical Society and the Chart Group of Maitland. When not in sessions, delegates will tour historic homes of Truro, meet costumed members of the Cobequid Planters 250 Society, enjoy a heritage barbecue and concert in Victoria Park and also tour the Willow Lofts – the Willow Street School Project.

The length of the annual conference has been expanded from two days to three to include professional development sessions. Topics include Merging Technology with Heritage and Heritage is Good for Business.

“We hope people will find the conference inspiring and helpful in advancing heritage issues in their own communities and in their particular areas of interest,” says MacIntosh.”

I am pleased to be involved.  The conference got off to a great start yesterday and I am looking forward to the sessions both today & tomorrow!


Pier 21

One of the Benefits of being a director on the Board of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) is that I often am sent information on Tourism Related Announcements as soon as they happen!

I just received an email to say that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has named Pier 21 in Halifax a National Museum, only the second museum in Canada outside of Ottawa to obtain this status!  Pier 21 was the point of entry to Canada for more than one million immigrants and Prime Minister Harper said that the designation recognizes the contribution made by immigrants to the country’s history.

The shed on the Halifax wharf closed on March 8, 1971, almost 43 years after its official opening, as more immigrants arrived in Canada by plane.  It opened ten years ago, in 1999 as a museum.  One in five Canadians are said to have a connection to Pier 21.

We definitely recommend visiting Pier 21 when you are visiting Halifax, and if you happen to go on a Thursday morning, be sure to say hello to D’Arcy’s mother, Fran, who volunteers there each week!