Homestead in Hazelbrook looking for P.E.I. heritage designation

An Island couple hopes that securing a provincial heritage designation for their property in Hazelbrook, P.E.I., will help protect it for years to come.

It would be the province's 65th designated heritage place and first since 2015

The couple spent a year and a half updating and restoring the homestead that dates back to 1875. (Anita Marie Photography)

An Island couple hopes that securing a provincial heritage designation for their property in Hazelbrook, P.E.I., will help protect it for years to come.

Todd MacLean said the home dates back to 1875.

He and his wife, Savannah Belsher-MacLean, were looking for an old home to restore and settled on the Hazelbrook Homestead in 2016. 

"We didn't want a new property or to build," said MacLean. "We wanted to restore a house to its former glory. This was the place for us to do that."

Owner Todd MacLean said he and his wife were 'completely awestruck' when they saw the Hazelbrook Homestead. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

A long restoration

MacLean said it took them a year and a half of pulling up carpets, tearing down wallpaper and updating everything while maintaining the heritage "look."

He estimates it cost more than $80,000 to restore the homestead. The couple now rents the home as a vacation and event venue.

"Both of us are really big supporters of community here on P.E.I. and we see the potential in this place in a myriad of ways, and we also just have a huge adoration for old places."

Designation is part of the 'preservation process'

MacLean said they found historical photos of the building. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

After all that work, the couple decided to apply to have the home designated as a heritage place through the province.

It would need to meet certain conditions like being of exceptional historical, cultural or architectural value.

If approved, any changes to the exterior may require a permit and must follow federal standards and guidelines.

"It all just goes along with preservation process of the home," MacLean said. "If we are investing all this time and money into restoring this home to its formal glory, we want to make sure that's going to last."

History of family ownership

MacLean said their research revealed the homestead was originally built by the Ings family in 1875.

The property was passed to different family members for almost 130 years before MacLean bought it in 2016.

"We are just completely honoured, to have restored this place, to have brought it back to life, and just to be able to help connect the dots for P.E.I. history and as well to open the doors to the house," MacLean said.

"We have so many gems on P.E.I., so many historical places that need to be kept alive."

MacLean said that preserving a house of this stature was important for the couple. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

One of dozens of designated properties

MacLean said they are hopeful the home will be designated so that people can continue to enjoy it in its restored glory. (Anita Marie Photography)

The homestead could be the 65th place on Prince Edward Island to be a designated heritage place under the provincial Heritage Places Protection Act, and the first since 2015.

There are more than 400 registered heritage places throughout the province.

Designation as a heritage place requires ministerial approval and is a more rigorous process than registration.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Jessica Doria-Brown