In the 25 years since he bought a farmhouse on Manawagonish Road in Saint John that was destined for demolition, Petr Smit has learned to do whatever it takes to restore the 200-year-old property.

"I knew we needed a new roof, new windowsills, new windows … I became a carpenter, a mason, whatever, and basically restored the house back to its original shape as a beautiful Georgian neoclassical building from the 1815-1820 period."

Last year, a new roof was on Smit's restoration agenda. He restored the cedar roof on his home — the Quinton farmhouse — with help from Kurtis and Al Fanjoy.

'We did it like it should be done.' - Petr Smit, heritage property owner

"It's a spectacular building, lots of history for Saint John and New Brunswick, and we did it like it should be done," Smit said in an interview Tuesday on Information Morning Saint John.

"I went to northern New Brunswick to buy the best possible shingles I could buy, and fortunately we got them."

Smit's cedar roof restoration was one of the honorees Monday night as Saint John's heritage development board presented its 2015 awards to recognize standout restoration and preservation projects by home and business owners.

Heritage Awards were also presented to:

  • Elwoods Wood Lab, 91 Princess St., for commercial signage.
  • 6 Queen Sq. South, for residential façade preservation.
  • 34 Orange St., for residential façade preservation.
  • 262 Prince William St., for residential façade preservation.
  • 191 Princess St., for residential façade preservation.
  • 114-116 Wentworth St., for slate roof restoration.
  • Historica Development, for heritage leadership award

The eight award recipients were among the 32 renovation projects approved for heritage grants from the board over the past year.

Bob Boyce, chair of the heritage board, says the projects recognized on Monday all benefit the city's character.

'Our sense of place is a big part of Saint John's brand.' - Bob Boyce, heritage board  chair

"Our sense of place is a big part of Saint John's brand," he said.

"Its appeal is formed by those heritage buildings and it's a place that's different from any other … it's an old city and we've got that archeological history lesson around us."

The city has designated 11 areas in Saint John as heritage conservation areas.

"We've got a remarkable resource," Boyce said.

"I'd love to see us create more preservation areas to ensure other parts of the city survive for generations to come. We'll take it one step at a time."

Heritage grants are intended to assist owners to retain traditional materials and details of character-defining elements of their properties and, if necessary, replace them with new components, matching the original materials and profiles.

There is $120,000 available in the fund every year.

Boyce says the city is now welcoming applications for 2016 heritage projects.