A grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation will help make a future home for Glengarry County’s past.
On March 6, the Glengarry County Archives received $32,400 from the foundation for improvements to the historic Macdonell House at 28 Kenyon Street East in Alexandria, which will be the new location for the archives.
According to County Archivist Allan MacDonald, $400,000 in renovations at the old stone house are required before the archives can be relocated there.
The grant money will go towards adding a ramp and modifying a washroom to ensure accessibility. The building also needs structural upgrades to improve floor stability and the limestone walls will be restored.
The Trillium grant will cover approximately 10 per cent of the total cost of the renovations. More than 230 local donors have already contributed and the townships of North and South Glengarry have each contributed $35,000 to the renovation work. However, a fundraising shortfall is anticipated.
MacDonald said the archives is also awaiting news about funding from the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry.
The Macdonell House was built in the 1830s by Colonel Angus Macdonell, a nephew of prominent Bishop Alexander Macdonell. It is the oldest building in Alexandria. Many changes were made to the old house in the 1970s when it was used as the Knights of Columbus Hall.
The Glengarry County Archives was founded in 2013 and is a jointly administered agency of North and South Glengarry. It is currently located at Glengarry District High School in Alexandria. MacDonald, who formerly worked for the Provincial Archives of Ontario in Toronto, said the high school space is not viable for the long-term and the new Macdonell House location will have temperature controls to ensure better preservation of records, which date back to the days of pioneer settlement in Glengarry.
“It’s the largest archives in Eastern Ontario outside of Ottawa,” said MacDonald.