Club Member Angus Orford receives Catherine G. Hennessey Award

The below article appeared in The Guardian on Feb. 21st.

Residents receive City of Charlottetown’s highest heritage honour

Published: Feb 20 at 6:39 p.m.
Updated: Feb 20 at 6:48 p.m.
Angus Orford and his wife, Karen Rose, received the City of Charlottetown’s highest heritage honour on Tuesday, the Catherine G. Hennessey Award, for their ongoing efforts at their home at 96 Prince St.
Angus Orford and his wife, Karen Rose, received the City of Charlottetown’s highest heritage honour on Tuesday, the Catherine G. Hennessey Award, for their ongoing efforts at their home at 96 Prince St. - Dave Stewart

More than a century of history emanates from Angus Orford and Karen Rose’s home on Prince Street.

The couple purchased the home in 2003 when it was, at the time, divided into four apartment units.

They eventually went to Ontario to work for nine years before returning home, deciding to live downtown, and returning their house at 96 Prince St. to its former glory.

The plan was always to keep the best historical features of the home, which was originally constructed in 1879 and is known as the Houle House. The home was originally owned by H.H. Houle, the track master of the P.E.I. railway, who planned the house with architects David Stirling and William Critchlow Harris.

“It’s been a labour of love over the last few years,’’ Orford says. “A project like this, you don’t do it all at once but you get a lot of intrinsic enjoyment out of it.’’

On Tuesday, the City of Charlottetown handed out its heritage awards, the most prestigious being the Catherine G. Hennessey Award, which went to Orford and Rose. The couple also won a heritage award for their efforts last year.

The awards honour people and organizations in the community who have worked hard to preserve and celebrate municipal heritage.

“Karen had come up with some absolutely brilliant ideas, modernizing the inside of the house and maintaining and preserving the historical significance of it,’’ says Orford.

Well-known historian Catherine Hennessey presents an award named in her honour to Angus Orford in Charlottetown on Tuesday. Also pictured is Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee. Orford and his wife, Karen Rose (not pictured), were recognized for their restoration efforts of their home at 96 Prince St.
Well-known historian Catherine Hennessey presents an award named in her honour to Angus Orford in Charlottetown on Tuesday. Also pictured is Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee. Orford and his wife, Karen Rose (not pictured), were recognized for their restoration efforts of their home at 96 Prince St.

The winners
The City of Charlottetown presented heritage awards to the following individuals or groups:

  • Brooke and Gina MacMillan for the reconstruction of the side verandah of the 1897 Hillhurst Inn at 181 Fitzroy St.
  • Leonard Cusack for the book on Owen Connolly, entitled “Owen Connolly: The Making of a Legacy 1820-2016’’
  • Paul Coles for the renovation of his property at 2-6 Hillsborough St.
  • The Victoria Row Merchants Association for its efforts in re-energizing the Richmond Street streetscape (Victoria Row) over the years
  • Angus Orford and Karen Rose received the Catherine G. Hennessey Award, presented annually to a person or group whose efforts have increased the appreciation of Charlottetown, stimulated love for the community or helped shape the city

The old cast iron radiators were removed, sandblasted and re-painted. They also had the exterior brick work cleaned and repointed and they’re changing out all the windows, basically bringing out all the significant high Victorian architecture.

Although the city’s heritage designation refers to the building’s exterior, Orford and Rose have been able to keep many of the heritage aspects inside the house while also improving energy efficiency.

For example, a painted ceiling in the ground-floor living room is said to have been painted by a classmate of well-known artist Robert Harris.

“This particular property is 140 years (old) and it is going to be around a lot longer than any of us are going to be,’’ Orford says. “We’ve been able to enjoy making it a very attractive living space.’’

Related: City of Charlottetown presents Heritage Awards

Paul Coles, who renovates homes for a living, also received a heritage award on Tuesday for the renovation of his property at 2-6 Hillsborough St.

“I bought probably the worst looking building in the city,’’ Coles laughed before noting that fixing up a home in the 500 Lots Area is a careful balancing act between returning a building to its former glory without making it look too modern and out of place.

As part of the heritage awards, the city also rolled out an exhibit called “Heat, Lights and the Devil Wagon: The History of Energy and Innovation in Charlottetown’’. The pop-up exhibit will be featured in the storefront windows of the planning and heritage department at 223 Queen St.

Historic images from the city’s collection and artifacts from the P.E.I. Museum and individual donors will be on exhibit in the space until March 26. Excerpts from the exhibit are also available on the city’s Facebook page and twitter feed.

Twitter.com/DveStewart