Creemore home listed as Historic site

 Gisele Winton Sarvis

CREEMORE – More than 125 people attended the official plaque unveiling of the St. Luke’s Anglican Church rectory in Creemore to celebrate its status as a national historic site Saturday.

Claverleigh, the Gothic Revival villa built in 1871 at 8242 County Road 9 is owned by Greg and Meg Young.

“It was a great excuse to turn it into a garden party,” said Greg Young. “We tried to invite people who had connections with the house. We had some of the great, great grand children of Rev. William Forster.”

“It was quite an interesting gathering. We heard lots of interesting stores from people whose relatives had lived here,” he added.

The Youngs purchased the home in 1983 from Meg’s father George McEvenue who bought it in 1971.

Parks Canada staff and members of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada held the unveiling ceremony on the property as part of National Historic Places Day. Clearview Mayor Christopher Vanderkruys was part of the ceremony.

The house itself had received the national historic designation back in 1990 but no service or plaque had been made until now.

Ironically, the plaque was removed from the property after the ceremony and will be permanently installed in the fall.

Rev. Forster came to Canada from England in 1850. After being ordained as an Anglican priest and being posted to Creemore, he asked his brother Richard Forster to build him a home and rectory.

It was unusual for a Gothic Revival villa to be built in a rural setting and few have survived. Most were built in eastern Canada with a lot of them being churches, said Young.

Gothic Revival villas in the mid-19th century were spacious and asymmetrical. Characteristic features include steep gabled roofs, pointed arches and decorative chimneystacks.

Fitting with 19th century ideals, the home features a projecting porch, bay window and second floor balcony.

“We’ve always enjoyed the house and its charm, particularly the grounds and it’s setting at the confluence of the Mad and Noisy rivers. It has a lot of old world charm.”

Despite the age of the home, most of the board and batten exterior is original. The house has had upgrades over the years but Young said those have respected the historical integrity.

Young said Richard Forster also built St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Creemore in the 1880s, replacing an earlier wooden structure.

The Creemore rectory home was the base for the design of the rectory of the All Saints Church in Collingwood, which is made of stone, he added.  

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