Tag Archives: heritage buildings

This Old House….. Linda Knight Seccaspina

This Old House….. Linda Knight Seccaspina

Knight Residence and business–569 South Street Cowansville Quebec-Photo from Linda Knight Seccaspina Collection

This morning I was supposed to get up early, but I fell back to sleep quickly and dreamed of talking to my father at the old house at 569 South Street in Cowansville, Quebec. My Dad and I never carried on many conversations when I was a teen, because he saw one way and I saw the other. But, this morning there he was back in the old electrical shop looking for a screwdriver.

He was happy to see me, as was I, and he explained to me that my grandmother’s house was being sold along with the huge lot they had. After she passed away I never saw the house demolished and was glad I didn’t. Each time an older home comes down my heart breaks for the history that it once had. 

Decades ago in Cowansville they tore down heritage homes on Main Street to make way for street and property improvements. My father was an alderman, or echevin, as they called them in those days. In the hours leading up to the decision at council I was merciless. My father threw his hands up in the air after each argument and called it progress. That night, at age 14, I stood up to the Cowansville Town Council and told them how they were going to regret the decision. These homes were stately mansions of the past and I know a lot of folks regretted it years later. But, it still did not stop them from tearing down the Robinson home near Sweetsburg for a retirement home a few years ago. Some even suggested that the heritage protestors trying to save the building were ‘anti- seniors’.

Desperately wanting to keep the peace in my dream with my father I asked him if they were going to take down the huge trees on the property and he said he didn’t know. Deciding to get to the nitty gritty I asked him the big question. Why? Again, the familiar words of ‘being a man of progress’ was his answer. Not wanting to argue, I told him that older buildings were more than just old bricks and mortar. They have a story, they have a soul, and so many have been lost to developers and decay. But in reality most of them move inanegative position because of lack of interest in their preservation. He looked at me with that Arthur Knight corner smile and said that I had not changed.

I thought of the history in my grandparents home and knew my father would not change his mind. I asked him if he knew that as of August, 2020 the city of Halifax has lost 40% of its historic buildings in 11 years. Out of 104 buildings that were inventoried as heritage assets in 2009; 43 had been demolished.

You also have buildings that are in the “demolished by neglect” category. A common excuse is that the properties are beyond saving and not worth the air in the sky to remain standing. A question I would like to ask these owners is: How long have you owned it and who is responsible for this run down state? Generally the owners have owned it for quite a length of time and they are guilty of its condition. In most cases some owners of older properties are in favour of supporting heritage– except when it comes to them.

In the end the Knight house came down on South Street along with my maternal grandfather’s stately mansion on Albert Street- the Cowan home ( one of the founders of Cowansville) years later. All I have left in the Townships are the memories and the stories I tell. 

My Dad in his councillor career was most proud of getting an artificial lake ( Lake Davignon) put smack in the centre of town. I, on the other hand, remember the family gravestones at the Union Cemetery. I think of the Anglican church vestry named after my Grandmother, memories at Legion Branch #99 that my grandfather helped found, and a street named after my father. I consider myself a progressive town councillor however l live by the mantra: “Progress is not tearing down everything that’s old and building something new”. After all, tearing down is easier than building up. This year let’s think about protecting heritage of any kind so that future generations may enjoy the history and the memories.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”― Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities ( Citizen Jane)

Linda Knight Seccaspina, 1968 photographed at my Dad’s home on Miltimore Road in Bromont, Quebec. There I was in that Dr. Zhivago Midi coat that was supposed to be the end all to me getting a job. Like the manager of Bill Blass in Montreal said to me that year,
“Kid get yourself another coat if you want a job!”
My how things have changed.

Thanks to Joyce Waite she spotted my Dad in the back row 7 down with the white shirt and I realize that he and I both had the same teacher at Cowansville High School– Miss Phelps..

Everyone was young once I guess.

1935..6 miss marion phelps
Back row l to r …archie boyd , alvin teel , willard barrette , joyce cassidy , lorna stowe , joy lee , arthur knight , eric smith , leonard lickfold , doris craigie ,, donna isaacs , dorothy corey
Front row l to r ..shirley hamilton , barbara seale , mary gordon johnson , phyllis buchanan , reid pickel , bill shanks , joyce lickfold , arlene corey , betty henry , dempsey forster , jack barker , donald boucher

Another One Bites the Dust –In Memory of the Holiness Movement Church Building (Hornerites)

Another One Bites the Dust –In Memory of the Holiness Movement Church Building (Hornerites)

Andrea Ross is at Recovery Church.
June 29 at 10:43 AM  · Ottawa  · 

Another beloved landmark has fallen. This time, though, we saved a bit.
this is what it will be replaced with.

Andrea Ross We will likely open it July 6,7,8 or 9. ( Time Capsule)

All photos-Andrea Ross-

I keep telling the story over and over that as a 14 year-old girl in Cowansville, Quebec I fought to have 6 homes of historic nature not torn down on the Main Street. My father was a councillor at the time and was not impressed with his daughter speaking at the town hall meeting, but today many regret the loss of these grand old homes. Once you tear something down, it just can’t come back.

Unfortunately, now many of the oldest and most interesting homes are slowly disappearing due to lack of interest in their preservation. I have a feeling that down the line that only locations that have been deemed architecturally significant are going to be safe from the wrecking ball. So what if a building isn’t beautiful?  Why are we tearing down the brownstones and old brick farmhouses that are now part of our inner cities and towns just because they are not significant?

Many thanks goes to Andrea Ross from Ottawa for documenting this. The fact she took initiative and rescued important artifacts from the building is outstanding. These tear down trends in my personal opinion are forgetting that older buildings are physical representations of our area’s history and culture. They attract tourists, and even town or city dwellers who might like to take a scenic walk or drive to see some of  these old buildings. I still think people want to live in an area that has character with buildings that are memories from our past and attractive accessories to local businesses. 

I’m sure some of you are thinking that this all sounds like an older generation writing about holding on to antiquated thoughts and privileges. There is no doubt that an aging building poses a unique set of challenges, and it’s great when you can retain a building; but it’s not always possible for those even with deep pockets. As  George Pope Morris once wrote “Woodman, Spare that Tree!” I am writing in defense of perfectly good buildings that are razed to make way for new development, and when I see things like Andrea did; I have to document it. Even she could not spare the tree, but she certainly saved some branches.

Thank you Andrea from the bottom of my heritage heart

In Memory of the

This written opinion is of that of the writer only, Linda Seccaspina.

I have documented historical mentions of the Holiness Movement Church below. If you wish to read about the Hornerites-

Hornerites? What Were Hornerites? CLICKhttps://lindaseccaspina.wordpress.com/2017/05/12/hornerites-what-were-hornerites/

By Kim Elder Click here

Heritage Ottawa Newsletter 2014

The Holiness Movement Church was a sect started by Bishop Ralph Cecil Horner (1853-1921) in 1895 when he broke with the Methodist Church. The membership of the sect was drawn largely from rural people in the Ottawa Valley but the headquarters was in Ottawa, which oddly furnished very few members. To outside observers, the services conducted by Bishop Horner appeared to be very noisy affairs. The act of prostration, which led to the unflattering name of “holy rollers”, was for Horner proof that God was changing the seeker’s life from inside out.

 In late 1908 the Holiness Movement Church occupied the vacant house and grounds at 910 Bank Street as an annex to their Holiness Movement Institute, established at 482 Bank Street in the early 1900s. The 1912 Insurance Plan shows the house at 910 Bank Street as well as the Hornerite Church nearby on the corner of Mutchmor (now Fifth Avenue) and Monk. The former Mutchmor home “Abbotsford” is now the Protestant Home for the Aged. In 1914 the Holiness Movement Church focussed their teaching activities at 910 Bank Street. In 1917, the year that Bishop Ralph Cecil Horner was deposed from the Holiness Movement Church, the Institute ceased operation and the building served briefly as a meeting hall. In 1918 it re-opened as the “Holiness Movement College” and in 1925 it adopted the simpler “Annesley College” name, in honour of Susannah Annesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, the founders of the Methodist movement. 

The Holiness Movement Church appears to have run into financial difficulties in the mid 1930’s. The College closed in 1949 and the building was torn down shortly after. One tangible reminder of the Holiness Movement Church sect is the Ecclesiax Church on the south-west corner of Fifth Avenue and Monk Street. The red granite cornerstone reads “Holiness Movement Church Erected AD 1900-1921”. The first building on the site was listed in City Directories as a “Hornerite Meeting Hall”, a wooden structure built in 1900, later known as the “Holiness Movement Church”. The present Church building dating from 1921, is a brick clad timber structure, likely incorporating the original hall. It has a starkly modern addition to the west, completed in 1950. The Holiness Movement Church joined the Free Methodist Church in 1959. Ken Elder is a postcard collector, a heritage architect and a Heritage Ottawa Board member.

Read-Hornerites? What Were Hornerites? 

Home – Mutchmor PS
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
25 Sep 1926, Sat  •  Page 2
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
19 Feb 1929, Tue  •  Page 17
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
20 Jan 1899, Fri  •  Page 3
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
17 Apr 1897, Sat  •  Page 7
all from Andreas Facebook page link above

Hot Heritage Hues on Foster Street?

Hot Heritage Hues on Foster Street?



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not
necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Lanark County Genealogical Society 



Photos by Linda Seccaspina

The last thing we want to do is have a history of heritage losses or mistakes in our small towns, and the other thing we don’t want is for our towns and especially small business is to stagnate from visual boredom. I am well aware of the brouhaha that has been brewing in Perth about the new colour palette gracing Shadowfax on Foster Street. Although I have pretty strong opinions, having gone through a similar incident with the city of Ottawa 22 years ago, I will refrain from being too opinionated.

Yes, there are rules that grace this planet, and especially for heritage, but in all honesty if we lived in a “beige canopy world” and never broke a rule life would become quite boring. I also understand about setting a precedent with matters of architecture, but just because “one child does something out of the ordinary doesn’t mean your other one will too”. We should be able to control different situations when they arise.


The lovely Colleen


I find it hard to go along with the steadfast “Perth Heritage Colour Palette” as I feel creativity brings business and colour to main streets. Times have changed, and Hot Heritage Hues are now being introduced with new colours that are being encouraged for heritage buildings through Canada:

Homeowners in Fredericton are being encouraged by the city’s Heritage Trust to paint their homes with bright colours.

Then there is always the argument:

“Immediately after Confederation there was an influx of paint salesmen,” said author Farley Mowat, who has written extensively about our country. “People had their first cheque and they went mad for colour.” Colour use on our heritage buildings was part of the original architectural design and intent.



Sometimes colour schemes that are not authentic, such as the ‘Painted Ladies’ approach (which I file Shadowfax under) can be a playful presentation of a restored building.  I find that the store added tasteful colour to a somewhat boring colour palette on the street.




So whose heritage do we really honour in a situation like this? If a building becomes architecture, then it also becomes art.  As long as people are not banging in nails and other horrible things we need to accept “colouring our lives outside the lines” sometimes. All of us are angels with only one wing and we can only fly by embracing each other and our ideas. New ideas often need old buildings.


Dawn McGinnisVirginia– I think the color palette is beautiful, very modern vintage and definitely reminds me of a painted lady. I live in a city with a historic district that suffers the same ills… sometimes the city needs to get out of its own way”.



Address67 Foster St, Perth, ON K7H 1R9

Facebook Page–Click here


Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.





Architecture Stories: ‘Once Upon a Time’ -Home of the Kool Aid Acid Test & Other Time Travel Stories

Architecture Stories: Day of the Dead at Ghostly Atherton House

Architecture Stories: The Voodoo Madam – Mary Ellen Pleasant

Architecture Stories: The Hotel that Stompin’ Tom Connors Saved

unnamed (1)