The Bishop’s House (c. 1808; additions c. 1890, 1924) is a large and nationally significant heritage building set within cultural heritage landscape. It is owned by the local diocese and has been vacant for over 10 years at the time of this project. MTBA with ContentWorks were retained by a coalition community group including the owners and others to investigate and report on adaptive reuse options, including feasible opportunities and strategies for renewal. The resulting report is a comprehensive document, dense with research, documenting existing conditions, design concepts and detailed analysis. It includes over 25 pages of illustrations, historic images, maps, plans and photographs, as well as detailed recommendations. Our methodology included review and distillation of existing documentation, wide consultation, architectural and contextual analysis, outline of regulatory requirements and assistance opportunities and recommended adaptive reuse concept options. The report provides stakeholders and prospective partners with opportunities and guidance related to the complex undertaking of a major project.
Alexander Macdonell, first Bishop of Ontario, who established the Catholic school system in the province, built the Stone House in 1808 for students, school masters, and ecclesiastics. He directed the affairs of the Catholic Church in Upper Canada from this building. He then built a log School Building on the site in 1818 using a grant from the British Crown for this purpose. Across the Kings Road from the Bishops House, Macdonell built the ‘Cathedral in the Bush’ (1821) whose ruins (1970) are now a National Historic Site. In front of the Bishop’s House is one of the oldest formal gardens in Ontario, professionally landscaped in 1826.