Creignish stone cottage restoration wins heritage award
Settler's descendent reclaims family homestead
The great-great-great-granddaughter of a Scottish immigrant to Cape Breton has restored the stone house he built for his family in Inverness County, N.S.
Ian MacMaster built what's known as Moidart house around 1801.
It sits on a hillside overlooking a bay on the Ceilidh Trail.
I've always loved the house since I first saw it.- Lorrie MacKinnon
Generations of MacMaster's family lived in the house, until it passed out of their hands in the 1930s.
Lorrie MacKinnon of Oakville, Ont., said she longed to own the family homestead.
"I'd been watching the house for 25 years and just dreaming of it," she said.
Restoring the cottage, she said, "seemed to respectful to the house and to our people and to everyone who came and worked so hard to clear the land and settle the land."
The Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia learned of the restoration by accident.
Laura MacNutt of the award selection committee said the trust's president, Linda Forbes, happened upon the house last summer while sight-seeing in Cape Breton.
MacNutt said the trust was moved by the restoration project.
"What drew the awards committee to this particular project is both the intimacy and the significance of a residence that so clearly speaks about our heritage," she said.
"Lorrie has so sincerely and so passionately taken this on, not strictly for herself, but rather respecting and appreciating that we all value that restoration."
All the mod cons
During the restoration, MacKinnon had the house taken back to the stone in order to gauge any damage. Inside, the walls were stripped down to the wood structure.
MacKinnon has updated the house with modern wiring, plumbing and a well.
"I've always loved the house since I first saw it," she explained. "My father loved history and family history and always thought it would be wonderful to have come back to the MacMaster family, and I was able to make that happen.
It's important for us to know from whence we came and to have this built heritage as part of that."