Making the old new again

BY JULIELEE STITT
Equity Reporter

In 1888, lumber Baron George Bryson Sr. travelled to the United States to deliver lectures on the importance of reforestation and the responsible harvesting of trees. Bryson is largely recognized as the driving force behind developing the forestry industry in Pontiac.

Today, years later, his great-great granddaughter is doing her part to keep the family tradition that was started so many years ago alive: to preserve the natural beauty of the area and promote economic growth. Jane Toller, a former councillor for the City of Toronto, purchased Spruceholme Inn, located on Principale Street in Fort Coulonge last year.

Spruceholme Inn owner Jane Toller stands with crew members from Pieschke Construction and Campbell’s Bay Ciment and consultant Tony Jenkins in front of a reconstructed barn from the 1800s, which will house a new restaurant. The eatery will be located behind the inn and is set to open in May. Photo by Julielee Stitt, THE EQUITY.

On Jan. 7 Pieschke Construction, based in Shawville, began to build a dining hall just behind the inn, using wood taken from barns once owned by her great-great grandfather.

“One day I looked at those barns and thought, ‘they’ve been there a long time, I wonder who built them?’” says Toller, recalling her earlier musings. The barns were located on the property once owned by her Bryson ancestors and which now belongs to Mansfield resident, Jerome Amyotte.

Toller investigated the situation, hoping to learn more about the buildings. She hired Tony Jenkins, from the Kingston, ON, area as a consultant. In his career, Jenkins has dismantled and reassembled approximately 250 barns. According to the Jenkins, the structures were built in the 1800s.

“Knowing that these barns were not being used for agriculture anymore, I thought that it would be great to breathe new life into them by having them dismantled and brought over to the property at Spruceholme Inn to form the eating area of the restaurant,” says Toller who hopes to open a new restaurant constructed with the lumber as early as May.

On Friday morning, construction workers pieced together the old white pine wood, at times using the original wooden pegs that were first used by Bryson employees to build the barns.

See page one of the Jan. 16, 2013 issue of THE EQUITY for more.

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