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A sneak peek at today's heritage award winners

The P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation and the City of Charlottetown are giving out their annual heritage awards today — CBC has a sneak peek at who will be lauded for their preservation efforts.

'We are only the gatekeepers to such wonderful buildings'

The original verandah was replicated this summer — more than 100 years later — by Hillhurst owners Brooke and Gina MacMillan. (Submitted by Brooke MacMillan/Sara Fraser/CBC)

The P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation and the City of Charlottetown are giving out their annual heritage awards Tuesday — CBC has a sneak peek at who's being lauded for their preservation efforts. 

Charlottetown held its awards ceremony at noon on the second floor of city hall.

The city recognized Brooke and Gina MacMillan for the reconstruction of the side verandah of the historic Hillhurst Inn on Fitzroy Street. Built in 1897, it became an inn in 1995.

It is bittersweet, since I would much rather have my friend back than receive an honour in his name.— Ed MacDonald

"It puts a smile on your face when you have a guest or a city resident and now the city recognize the effort it takes to restore your property back to its original stature," said Brooke MacMillan.

"During the renovation of Hillhurst, Gina found a picture taken about 100 years ago that showed a wonderful deck running the full side of the building. Our immediate reaction was how perfect it looked," he said — so the next year, they restored the deck.

Before and after: inside the 141-year-old church that's become the Grand Victorian Wedding and Events Facility. (Submitted by Marly Anderson )

Historical renovations are "substantially more expensive," MacMillan acknowledged, but said the value it adds to the property, the city, and guest experience is worth it.
  
"We recognize owning a heritage property comes with extra commitment — we are only the gatekeepers to such wonderful buildings," MacMillan said. 

An historically sensitive renovation to the buildings at 2 to 6 Hillsborough Street by self-employed carpenter Paul Coles was also recognized. 

Leonard Cusack was honoured for his book Owen Connolly: the Making of a Legacy 1820-2016, launched last fall. The book chronicles the fascinating rags-to-riches tale of poor Irish immigrant Owen Connolly, who came to Charlottetown in 1839 and worked his way to becoming one of the Island's richest men — many scholarships for Island business students have been created from his legacy. The book is also being named P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation's publication of the year. 

'A special place for those who live here'

The P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation will hand out its awards at a ceremony at Eptek Centre in Summerside, P.E.I., Tuesday night. 

'I'm touched that the PEIMHF has chosen to keep Boyde's memory alive,' says UPEI history professor and author Ed MacDonald, who will receive an award in his friend's name. (CBC)

"Heritage is about our identity, our Island cultural fabric which defines who we are and the landscape where we live — a special place for those who live here and a place which continues to attract people from around the world," said David Keenlyside, the organization's executive director. 

People would stop by just to thank us for fixing up the church.— Marly Anderson

The awards are too numerous to mention but here are some highlights. 

Ashley Condon and Ken Spears are being recognized for renovating the historic building in Montague that houses their new microbrewery, Copper Bottom Brewing

'A little piece of P.E.I. history'

Marly and Greg Anderson says they're "surprised and honoured" to win an an award for their transformation an 141-year-old church in Victoria-By-the-Sea, P.E.I., into a wedding venue, the Grand Victorian Wedding and Events Facility

This apartment complex on Charlottetown's Hillsborough Street was beautifully renovated by Paul Coles, who will receive a Heritage Awards from the City Tuesday.
 

"During this process, people would stop by just to thank us for fixing up the church ... We are thrilled to be able to save a little piece of P.E.I. history," Marly Anderson said. 

Restoring the historic property was more labour-intensive than building new, the couple said.

"It was difficult to try to maintain the feeling and historic charm of the building while updating it to meet current building codes and all the needs of our guests," Anderson said. While the planning and design took months, the result was worth it because "the feeling you get once you walk inside of it simply cannot be replicated," she said. 

Catherine MacLellan will receive the Wendell Boyle Heritage Award for outstanding contribution in a performance medium for her work on the musicalIf it's Alright With You: The Songs of Gene MacLellan.

Well-known P.E.I. historian Ed MacDonald will receive the first-ever Boyde Beck Memorial Award for his outstanding contributions promoting P.E.I. history. Beck was an accomplished historian who died last summer after battling cancer, and he and MacDonald were good friends. 

Catherine MacLellan, left, is winning an award for preserving the songs of her father, Gene MacLellan, in a tribute show last summer. (YouTube)

"I am truly and tremendously honoured to be the recipient of this award," MacDonald said. "It is bittersweet, since I would much rather have my friend back than receive an honour in his name, but I'm touched that the PEIMHF has chosen to keep Boyde's memory alive in connection to our heritage." 

Carter Jeffery, a draftsman and heritage advocate who writes the blog P.E.I. Heritage Buildings, will receive the Irene Rogers award for his long-time work in preserving Island architecture, including the historic Leard's Grist Mill.

About the Author

Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara is a P.E.I. native who graduated from the University of King's College in Halifax. N.S., with a Bachelor of Journalism (Honours) degree. She's worked with CBC Radio and Television since 1988, moving to the CBC P.E.I. web team in 2015, focusing on weekend features. email sara.fraser@cbc.ca