Algonquin Lodge



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Algonquin Lodge

This is Algonquin Lodge, later known as the Convent. it was the residence of Rev. Egerton R. Young in 1906.

Edmund Garrett

History of Bradford's Grand Old Lady

"Whatever becomes of this grand old lady, her colourful history will not be soon forgotten.

When the Recreation Facilities Committee was formed consisting of Chairperson Ann Currie, Jim Culbert, Steve Boland, Ellen MacKenzey, Bill Germayne and Sharon Sinclair, Director of Parks and Recreation, one of their first commitments was to find the "ideal" location to house the new Recreation and Cultural Complex. After a considerable amount of investigative work and discussion by this Committee, the favorite choice was the old convent.

While the convent certainly fits the "centralized" location criteria, an added attraction is the history which surrounds this 112-year old structure.

In 1876, John MacLean Stevenson built this masterpiece (named Masonic Lodge) and lived in it a short 10 months before selling it to the Robert Bingham family. This family stay was a little longer (16 years) before it, once again, changed hands. In 1893, James Boddy became the proud owner and renamed the house "Fairview". He resided there until 1903 when the property was purchased by Rev. Egerton Ryerson Young (noted missionary and publisher) who again renamed the house this time she was labeled "Algonquin Lodge". Upon the death of Rev. Young in 1910, his family sold the house to Sam Lukes who ran the Bradford Flour Mill. Lukes pet name for the home was "Luxalean". The house stayed in the Lukes family until Gilbert Lukes sold it in 1949. At the time of this sale, the plot of land was divided in two; on the plot south of the house was built St. Mary's Catholic School. The house was occupied by a group of teaching nuns of the Ursuline Order of the Diocese of London in Ontario.

In 1969, John and Maria Moniz bought the stately mansion and turned it into an apartment house. Contrary to the zoning by-laws, Town Council closed their eyes and allowed this grand home to be a multiple family dwelling for 12 years.

From the moment John Moniz' sale was accepted by Fred Picavet's cash offer, which in turn, nullified the offer made by the Town's agent, the convent had been cloaked in a shroud of controversy.

No sooner had the new deed owners, Fred and Betty Lou Picavet begun the extensive renovation work to the upstairs wings, than Bradford town council issued a "stop work order" and filed a Lis Pendents with the County Courts in Barrie (Feb. 26, 1981). This order was subsequently honoured by the County Court Office which necessitated an immediate halt on the renovation work by Picavet. While workmanship was in "pending", taxes continued to be paid by the owner (Picavet).

It wasn't until 1987 when an out-of-court settlement was reached between Fred Picavet and the Town that the convent became the legal property of the town of Bradford.

While the "legal hagglings" were underway, the old convent sat empty for five consecutive winters. Pampering can oft times help to slow down the natural aging process. Unfortunately, pampering the convent during that turbulent time was not a top priority item; henceforth, the building was vandalized on a fairly regular basis.

For someone like Jim Culbert, "the furniture doctor", it was nothing less than a mortal sin that such a fine building should have been so readily accessible to vandals. At the time Jim, personally, approached Town Council and Pat Storey to see if the building could be boarded up to discourage further destruction. He was basically told that the Safety Standards Bylaw which was in place to deal with this situation was unable to be looked after due to the lack of a by-law enforcement officer.

Incensed by that line of reasoning, Jim decided to "go to bat" for the convent. Through public awareness and letters to various newspapers, the convent was eventually boarded up which helped to minimize the continued vandalism.

With the endorsement of the Master Plan Recreation Study and the Facilities Committee, to renovate a part of the convent for the new Recreation and Cultural Complex, Jim Culbert is, once again, appealing to the town's people to "get on board" with regard to bringing this matter to the forefront. The decision on the fate of the convent has "gone on far too long" in Culbert's opinion. "Let's get it resolved one way or the other, either tear it down or renovate it and make it into a beautiful piece of property."

As Jim recalls, "A year ago Town Council promised a public meeting to discuss the convent issue which was never carried out. Hopefully, the newly-elected Council will stick to their electoral views on this issue."

A building with such Italianate design is rare in today's society. By restoring it, a two-fold purpose will be served; firstly, it will provide a complex to house programs such as the arts, drama, brownies, cubs, moms and tots etc. Secondly, and ideally, a room in the old wing of the house will be set aside for a "museum" of sorts to provide past history on the convent and Bradford itself".

IF RESTORED, this spectacular mansion will serve as a memorial to the previous owners."

Bradford Gazette

Lukes' house / Convent

This was the home of Sam and Gilbert Lukes. It was originally built by John MacLean Stevenson in 1876. It was sold, first to Robert Bingham in 1877, then to James Boddy in 1894(?) who named it "Fairview". Later, after a number of other sales, it became the property of Rev. Egerton R. Young in 1903, and was renamed "Algonquin Lodge". Rev. Young in turn sold it to the Lukes family in 1910. The Lukes family, who owned the Bradford Flour Mill, made several repairs and alterations to the house under their ownership. In 1949, the house and property was sold to the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation for the Diocese of Toronto, but they soon sold the house to the Ursuline Order of the Diocese of London. In the years since, the building has been sold, re-sold, had court cases fought over ownership until late in the 1980's. In 1994, the building was torn down and the "Common Roof" facility was built.

Lewis Campbell

Samuel Lukes' House / The Convent

This home was most known for the Lukes' residents, Samuel and his son, Gilbert. It was originally built by John MacLean Stevenson in 1876. It was sold, first to Robert Bingham in 1877, then to James Boddy in 1893 who named it "Fairview". After less than a year of ownership, Charlotte Jeffs sold the property to Rev. Egerton R. Young in 1903, and was renamed "Algonquin Lodge". Rev. Young in turn sold it to the Lukes family in 1910. The Lukes family, who owned the Bradford Flour Mill, made several repairs and alterations to the house under their ownership. In 1949, the house and property was sold to the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation for the Diocese of Toronto, but they soon sold the house to the Ursuline Order of the Diocese of London. In the years since, the building has been sold, re-sold, had court cases fought over ownership until, late in the 1980's, the building was torn down and the "Common Roof" facility was built.

The Purchase of Algonquin Lodge

"Masons, carpenters and painters have been for some time and are still at work at Algonquin Lodge, and "vaster than has been" are the improvements that are being made. This property was lately purchased from the Estate of the late Rev. E.R. Young by Mr. samuel Lukes, who contemplates making many changes to this already handsome structure, besides installing a hot water heating system, sceptic tank, etc."

Bradford Witness

Watson, Herbert & Laura Young

Event Date : Saturday, September 14, 1907
Event Type : Marriage

Description : Laura Winnifred Young, to Dr. Herbert E. Watson. The wedding took place at "Algonquin Lodge" Bradford. The ceremony was performed by the father of the bride Rev. Egerton R. Young assisted by the bride's brother Rev. E. Ryerson Young and Rev. J.A. Long Ph.D. The couple will live in Preston.

Bradford Witness

Working to Preserve Convent's History

Working to Preserve Convent's History

Bradford - A lot of people are interested in seeing the empty building known as the old convent on Barrie Street saved, says one Bradford resident who is determined to do his part.

Jim Culbert, known to those who have had him repair or finish furniture as The Furniture Doctor, has made the fate of the convent a personal concern.

His interest in the convent has resulted in several newspaper articles citing him as someone who knows a lot about the building's past, and every time one is published he gets calls of support from others, he says.

If, as is likely, a committee is struck to determine how the convent will be converted into a recreation complex, (as is recommended in the master recreation plan) Mr. Culbert says he wants to be on the committee.

"The entrance hall is large enough for a reception area," he said, in an interview at his Bradford home. "And the games room, living room and dining room could all be used without changing them."

Mr. Culbert's interest in the building isn't just as an observer. He has toured the building since it was left empty a few years ago when it was sold to the town by Fred Picavet.

The video tape he made of the building has been joined with a film of the April 1986 council meeting where council decided to end a long simmering court battle with Mr. Picavet and bought the convent for $125,000.

(The purchase was agreed to in conjunction with signing a subdivision approval for Mr. Picavet, a situation that Reeve Sandy Hudson said, "stinks," but it was approved on a vote of 4-2; Deputy-reeve Bill Dykie also voted against; councillor Gary Lamb was absent.)

Now, also on that tape, is last week's master recreation plan meeting. The subject of the convent was not discussed at the meeting, but the recommendations of the report include a suggestion that the convent be partly renovated and turned into a recreation complex.

Mr. Culbert said he plans to edit and complete the tape when the convent reaches its next evolution. Then, he will give one copy to the library, and one to the town, he said, in the hopes that the building's history can stay alive.

He is also working on a booklet on the convent's history, which now includes news clippings, letters and photographs.

He has tried to contact some of the former residents or their families, and has been somewhat successful. Although he could not get any information from the Ursuline Nuns who once resided in the building, he did contact the grandson of Samuel Lukes, owner of the building from 1910 to 1929, when it went to his son Gilbert.

Tom Lukes wrote from Wales about his memories as a young adult.

Mr. Culbert said he also received a phone call from the grandson of missionary Egerton Ryerson Young, who owned it from 1903 to 1910.

"He was quite indignant," Mr. Culbert said, about a news article that referred to the building as a grand old house, and home to the wealthy and prominent.

"His grandfather was not a rich person," Mr. Culbert said.

Although he objected to the view of the building as a mansion, he said he wanted to see it preserved, and told Mr. Culbert he would donate some money if fundraising were done.

Mr. Culbert said once he finishes his history of the convent, he would like to see it, or some other indication of the buildings history, in the entranceway of the building when it is reopened.


(As compiled, in part, by Jim Culbert)

Aug. 2, 1871 - John MacLean Stevenson bought three acres of land on the east of Barrie Street, between Letitia and Moore Streets, from John and Eliza Armstrong, for $1,200.

June 29, 1876 - Mr. Stevenson, reeve from 1871-1877, borrowed $3,957.50 to start construction on plans he brought back from Scotland, for a castle with an Italianate flavor.

April 10, 1877 - the house was sold to Robert Bingham for $5,500. The family lived there for 16 years, until Robert's death. April 20, 1893 - Caroline Bingham sold the home to James and Emily Boddy for $2,000, the price lowered by the depression. James Boddy, Reeve from 1894-96, lived in "Fairview," until November 24, 1903, when it was sold under power of sale for $1,900 to Charlotte Jeffs, and quickly resold for $2,300 to Rev. Egerton Ryerson Young.

"Algonquin Lodge" was home to the world-famed reverend until his death in 1910.

April 10, 1910 - sold to Samuel Lukes by Rev. Young's widow Libbie Bingham, for $3,600.

Renovations including new verandahs, were made to 'Luxalean."

Feb. 26, 1929 Samuel's son Gilbert took over the home on his father's death and made alterations to the front and side, including additions of the sunroom. The outside was stuccoed for warmth.

June 1945, Nov. 1947, July 1949 - three parcels of land were severed from the property and sold to neighbours.

Oct. 26, 1949 - sold to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto for $19,000, and again sold Dec. 10, 1950 to the Ursulina Order of the Diocese of London, a group of teaching nuns, for $14,000, which excluding the land to the south, where St. Mary's Catholic School was built.

July 4, 1969 - sold to John and Maria Moniz for $28,000. It was renovated to an apartment building (contrary to zoning bylaws).

Feb. 10, 1981 - The deed was acquired by Fred and Betty Lou Picavet, who began removing the stucco and interior plaster, with plans to renovate and live in the home.

Feb. 26, 1981 - Bradford Council brought a stop to work order and a certificate of Lis Pendents, and the ownership of the building went before the courts.

The building lay empty, and began deteriorating as each side said they were the rightful owners.

April 16, 1986 - Bradford Council signed an agreement to purchase the building for $125,000 from the Picavets.

The building has been boarded up since then, awaiting a decision on its fate. The master recreation plan, released in draft form March 10, 1987, suggests it be partially demolished, partially renovated to form part of a new recreation and leisure complex on the site.

Bradford Weekly

Young, Rev. Egerton Ryerson obituary

Event Date : Tuesday, October 05, 1909
Event Type : Death

Description : Rev. Egerton Ryerson Young. Age: 70th year. Noted Canadian Missionary and Author. Born in Smith's Falls in 1840, a son of Rev. William Young, a pioneer Methodist preacher. Taught school until 1863, when he joined the ministry. Married Elizabeth Bingham, of Bradford, in 1867. Was called to the North West, and became a negotiator between the aboriginals and government officials. Returned to Ontario because of his health, and became an author and lecturer in England. He wrote about life among natives. Survived by his wife and five children: Rev. E.R. Young, P.A., Chatsworth; Mrs. R.N. Helme, Lancaster, England; Mrs. (Rev.) A.B. Fitzgerald, Hilton, N.J.; Mrs. Newton Brown, Toronto; and Mrs. H.E. Watson, Toronto. Lived at "Algonquin Lodge" Bradford. Interred in Bowmanville.

Bradford Witness

Young, Rev. E.R.

This portrait is of Egerton R. Young, minister of the Methodist Church, missionary, and author. He lived in the Algonquin Lodge, later known as the Convent.

Edmund Garrett