'My Mona Lisa': Preserving 'worst house on the street' nets heritage award

The City of Charlottetown honoured six citizens with heritage awards Tuesday.

Coles 1 of 6 to receive heritage award from city; Reg Porter honoured with Hennessey award

Paul Coles says he plans to live in the newly renovated home, which was originally built around 1800. (Ken Linton/CBC)

Paul Coles says he always had an eye on the old log home at 15 Hillsborough St. in Charlottetown. He owns other property on the street and when he bought it, he was excited to take on the challenge of renovating and preserving it.

"You kind of have a little pity for the worst house on the street," he said.

The house was originally constructed in about 1800. After extensive renovations, which preserved or copied much of its original character, Coles now calls it "quite a charming little house." Despite offers to purchase it, Coles said he plans to keep the home and live in it once the finishing touches are complete in the next couple of weeks.

"This type of work for me is a creative outlet," he said. "I'm not a painter or an artist. This is my Mona Lisa."

Paul Coles displays the heritage award he received from the City of Charlottetown for his work preserving the house at 15 Hillsborough St. (Ken Linton/CBC)

On Tuesday — Heritage Day — Coles was one of six citizens presented with heritage awards by the City of Charlottetown for "working diligently to preserve and celebrate the city's heritage." It's the seventh heritage award for Coles.

Coles said he kept or copied many of the original features while adding some modern touches. (Ken Linton/CBC)

The other 2020 recipients are:

  • Lori Pendleton, for conducting historically sensitive rehabilitation work at 93 Pownal St, the Duffy House.
  • Mark and Sharon Rostad for developing a compatible, contemporary new design within an historic neighbourhood, 1 Brighton Rd.         
  • Dave McGavin for constructing a historically sensitive new home within a heritage area, 56 Weymouth St.
  • Reginald "Dutch" Thompson for his recent publication The Bygone Days: Folklore, Traditions & Toenails.

The Catherine G. Hennessey Award, presented annually to an individual or group whose efforts have "increased the appreciation of Charlottetown, stimulated love for the community, or helped shape the city," went to historian Reg Porter. His work documenting and promoting the history of the capital include publications on Trinity United Church, Methodist architecture in Charlottetown and Government House.

Mark and Sharon Rostad received a heritage award for their work at 1 Brighton Rd. (Ken Linton/CBC)

An outdoor exhibit celebrating the history of the business community in Charlottetown was also unveiled Tuesday.

The exhibit will be on display in the storefront windows of the Planning and Heritage Department on Queen Street until March 23.

The property at 1 Brighton Rd. has a contemporary new design within an historic neighbourhood. (Ken Linton/CBC)

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With files from Sarah MacMillan


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