Tag Archives: Glen Villa

More Treasures from the Past

November 25th, 2019 | 15 Comments »

Work continues as we rebuild the foundation wall of the old Glen Villa Inn.


The white sheets are put on at the end of the work week to protect against whatever the weather brings.
The white sheets are put on at the end of each work day to protect against whatever the weather brings.


I first wrote about this project a few weeks ago in a post titled We are (Re)Building a Wall and in that post I recounted some of the history of the old hotel.


This black and white photo shows the hotel as it was in its heyday.
This black and white photo shows the hotel as it was in its heyday. Remnants of the asphalt walk leading up from the beach to the front of the hotel still exist.


Last week I wrote about some of the treasures we unearthed as the wall came down.


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This week brought more treasures and even more surprises.

The story of Glen Villa Inn was familiar to me before we acquired the property where we now live. This is not surprising since tales about it colour the history of North Hatley. I wasn’t prepared, though, for the impact that the hotel ruins had on me. They were right on our property, at the end of the big lawn, and they were such an impressive sight that they brought those familiar stories to life.

I began to do research, trying to discover as much as I could about the hotel and the property we now own. I collected or was given old postcards and photographs showing some of that history, including an original brochure produced by the man who built the hotel, George Albert LeBaron.


My father-in-law found a copy of this brochure many years ago.
My father-in-law found a copy of this brochure many years ago and gave it to my husband and me when we moved into our house.



























One of those colour postcards showed a strange flower arrangement, four posts or tree trunks covered with Virginia creeper or some type of ivy surrounding what seem to be annuals planted in a big metal tub.


This colour postcard shows the same or a similar flower arrangement. It also shows the dam and waterfall. The building in the distance was the clubhouse for the 9 hole golf course.
Along with the strange flower arrangement, this colour postcard shows a rustic bridge over the dam, the waterfall and hotel guests out for a stroll. The building on the hill in the background was the clubhouse for the hotel’s 9 hole golf course.


This week, thanks to enquiries that the filmmaker Louise Abbot made to Jody Robinson, the archivist at the Eastern Townships Research Centre, I saw images of the hotel I’ve never seen before. One black and white photograph shows either the same flower arrangement or one that looks very similar.  On the flat ground below, it shows a tennis court and the building that housed a bowling alley and dance hall. It also shows a boardwalk or ramp that I’ve never seen pictured. I haven’t figured out where the walkway led… a mystery still awaiting a solution.

The postcard identifies the location and the year that the photo was taken.
The postcard identifies the location and the year that the photo was taken.


But undoubtedly the most exciting photograph that Jody unearthed came from the archives of the Lennoxville-Ascot Historical Society. It shows the hotel after it burned in 1909.


The wall was enormous!
The two tall structures must be the remains of chimneys. Notice as well the gazebo on the hillside.


This photo was taken the year the hotel burned to the ground, shortly before it was due to open for the summer season. The wall extends farther to the left and right than we thought. It includes the remains of a fireplace and steps leading up the hill, and ends in a castellation that is a complete surprise.

I know the topography of the land so well now that seeing the almost bare hillside behind the hotel ruins came as a surprise. But the shape of that hillside was totally familiar…. its shape is evident even now.


This photo shows the same triangular hilltop behind the hotel.
This photo shows the same triangular hilltop behind the hotel, now much more heavily wooded.


We aren’t planning to replicate that wall… only a part of it now remains. But what look like circular flower beds lining the drive that turned in front of it offer interesting possibilities…


Another One Bites the Dust

November 11th, 2019 | 10 Comments »
The black tubing marks the edge of the clearing.
The job of rebuilding the hotel foundation wall is progressing but more slowly than we hoped. The slow-down was unavoidable, thanks to (really, no thanks to) the snow that fell this week.   [caption id="attachment_8274" align="alignleft" width="1600"] All the rocks on the right came from the foundation wall which now has been taken down entirely.[/caption]   The snow is attractive, no doubt, but it has come much too early.   [caption id="attachment_8273" align="alignleft" width="1600"] The Cascade looks pretty with its dusting of snow. I just hope the snow won't last too long.[/caption]


Pining Away

October 27th, 2019 | 8 Comments »
Jacques says he loves to be this high off the ground. Not me!
I'm not pining away, but the pine tree is. Or was. This week we tackled a big job that I've been wanting to do for a few years, which was to remove an enormous old pine tree near the bank of Lake Massawippi. The photo below from 2014 shows the beginning of the end of this tree... needles on the upper branches are much thinner than they should be. It also shows how the tree towered above the ones around it.   [caption id="attachment_8228" align="alignleft" width="1600"] The boathouse may have been


Autumn Splendour

October 13th, 2019 | 8 Comments »
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This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, and today I'm giving thanks for the splendours of autumn.  All week the colours have been spectacular!     This  view along the driveway at Glen Villa gives some idea of how brilliant the colour is.   [caption id="attachment_8143" align="alignleft" width="1600"] The red leaves are a sugar maple on fire. The white posts in the distance mark the entry to the China Terrace.[/caption]   On the stone wall of the house, Engelman ivy is a symphony of scarlet, red and maroon.   [caption id="attachment_8145" align="alignleft" width="1600"]


The China Terrace in Autumn

October 6th, 2019 | 9 Comments »
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The China Terrace is my interpretation of history ... a room in the garden at Glen Villa where I have recreated parts of Glen Villa Inn, the old resort hotel that once stood on our property. Towards the end of summer I wrote about the new 'walls' that we installed to mark the division between the different rooms in the hotel: a reception area, bedroom and dining room.  (You can read that post here.) The 'walls' are now covered with autumn leaves, and the grass we seeded over a month


Containers That Match Your Mood

September 2nd, 2019 | 8 Comments »
This combo worked well from late May to late September.
Recently a friend asked if I'd written about container gardening. Her question started me thinking about how the plants on the decks around our house have changed over the years. I pulled out old photos to see if my memory was accurate. Yes, the choices I made had changed. And while that wasn't really surprising, what I noticed most was that the differences year to year reflected changes not only in my experience but also in my emotions and moods. Decks surround Glen Villa, our house and garden in Quebec, offering lots of space


The China Terrace Gets a Face Lift

August 25th, 2019 | 10 Comments »
I used Lamium 'Fancy Nancy' for the bedspread and Alternathera 'Purple Prince' for the pillow.
The title of this post might well be The China Terrace gets a Floor Lift... but that would be confusing and not entirely accurate. So what has happened? The China Terrace, a re-imagining of the grand resort hotel that once stood on the property, was one of the first projects I undertook at Glen Villa. [caption id="attachment_1567" align="alignleft" width="1024"] The entry to the China Terrace uses old pillars I found in a local antique store. The posts that curve up beyond suggest a staircase to an imaginary second story.[/caption]   My


Try and Try Again

August 18th, 2019 | 15 Comments »
The wrought-iron will rust eventually but we can scrape and oil it when it does.
The old saying is a good one: if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. There's a meme in the gardening world started by Bonney Lassie at call Tell the Truth Tuesday. Despite my fair share of failures, I've never joined in. But La Seigneurie, one of the newest parts of my Quebec garden, fits the meme all too well. So even if it isn't Tuesday, here's the truth. In early June this year, we seeded a farm field as part of Timelines, the 3 km trail I've developed that explores questions



August 11th, 2019 | 14 Comments »
I designed this fence made of steel posts and wire cable to be as invisible as possible from a distance and attractive up close.
Fences come in all shapes and sizes, yet in one way or another they all serve the same purpose: to separate one area from another. At Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec, the oldest fence separates a former farm field from a driveway.   [caption id="attachment_7852" align="alignleft" width="1024"] It's obvious from the way the tree has grown around it that this barbed wire fence was put up a long time ago.[/caption]   An equally practical but more decorative fence is the one I designed to protect shrubs from the deer that


Open Garden Day Success

July 22nd, 2019 | 18 Comments »
The rich sounds of the cello could be heard from the Lower Garden right up to the Upper Field. No question, the music added to the special atmosphere.
On Saturday July 20, over 300 people visited Glen Villa to view the garden and walk Timelines, the 3km trail that opened for the first time. The day was exhausting because of the heat and humidity but it was exhilarating to welcome so many people to the garden and to hear how much they enjoyed the experience. Many visitors commented on how well organized we were. For this, I have to thank the 24 volunteers who worked at the registration desk and at various spots around the garden. Of all the volunteers, I want