Getting a handle on restoring Canada’s past — that’s what’s happening at Kingston’s Bellevue House National Historic Site, the one-time home of Canada’s first prime minister, Sir. John A Macdonald.
The multi-million-dollar project means the house itself is closed to the public and has been now for two consecutive summers. Site manager Elizabeth Pilon says the Centre Street landmark is in the midst of a full restoration renewal.
“Last season we had to close the house because we found some issues with the ceiling at first and now the project has grown in scale,” Pilon said.
WATCH: Parks Canada working to address Sir John A. MacDonald history at Bellevue House
And that, according to Pilon, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The house is now completely empty while workers do their thing, whether it’s dealing with the ceilings or the floors.
Pilon says this is the first large restoration since the house was opened back in the later 1960s. While the house is off-limits, the rest of the site isn’t. The gardens, as well as the visitor’s centre, try to paint a picture of Macdonald and Canada around the time of Confederation.
Pilon says visitors have been understanding.
WATCH: More renovations for Kingston’s Bellevue House
The total restoration project will cost $2.1 million. With the remaining $1.1 million in Parks Canada hands, after the initial $1.03 million was announced in 2016, officials are hoping that the exterior work will be complete this fall.
As for the interior, sometime in 2020, depending on future findings.