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Restoration work continues at Kingston’s Bellevue House

Restoring Canadian history at Bellevue House in Kingston
WATCH: Restoration work continues behind green scaffolding mesh at Limestone City landmark.

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

Parks Canada working to address Sir John A. MacDonald history at Bellevue House
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.

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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.

READ MORE: Historic Bellevue House in Kingston receives $1.1M for restoration work

Pilon says visitors have been understanding.

“They’ve been very positive,” she said, “and a lot of comments [are] like, ‘we can’t wait to come back and see what the house is going to looking like fully restored,’ so it hasn’t be negative for the visitors.”

WATCH: More renovations for Kingston’s Bellevue House

More renovations for Kingston’s Bellevue House
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.