Each year on Heritage Day, the third Monday in February, the City recognizes individuals and businesses that demonstrate outstanding heritage restoration efforts.
This year, Certificates of Recognition have been awarded to the following residents and businesses:
- Ann Marie Whelan, General Manager of O’Brien Farm Foundation for Thimble Cottage: 150 Oxen Pond Road.
- Kim Shipp, Director of MUN Botanical Gardens and Gail Pearcey, President of Friends of MUN Botanical Garden Inc. for Squires Carriage House: 315-317 Mount Scio Road.
- Lindsay Loveless on behalf of Roosevelt Properties Limited for the Victoria Park Condominiums (former CEI Club): 181 Hamilton Avenue.
- Bruce Blackwood on behalf of Spaces for 55 Rennie’s Mill Road.
- David Young on behalf of Carrick Enterprises Ltd. for 312 Water Street.
What is Spaces?
If you haven’t heard of “Spaces” on Rennie’s Mill Road, it was a historic mansion turned Anglican hostel for “outport girls.” It was built for Lord Edward Patrick Morris, the 12th Prime Minister of Newfoundland, and completed in 1909. In 1920, it was turned into an Anglican hostel for “outport girls” who came to St. John’s to study. In part, Bruce received the award for not demolishing the house, and renovating it instead; it was not protected by heritage status.
What is Thimble Cottage?
Thimble Cottage is one of the oldest remaining farmhouses in St. John’s. It’s located at 150 Oxen Pond Road — a part of Freshwater Valley settled primarily by Irish immigrant farmers who produced food for local consumption. John O’Brien built this place in the 1800s, and his operation at this site proved prosperous from the late 1700s well into the twentieth century. He’d sell milk directly to families and stores, for example.
Fun fact: according to Heritage NL, “He nearly lost the farm in 1849 after a legal battle fined him £12 for an assault. O’Brien claimed he could not pay the fine and, consequently, his farm was to be sold at a public auction. A public uproar ensued caused by an editorial in Robert John Parson’s Newfoundland Patriot in support of O’Brien. As a result, no one submitted a bid on the farm and O’Brien was able to keep his property.”