Each year the Morin Heights Historical Association presents two awards, one to a person or group that has made a significant contribution to the preservation and promotion of local history, and one to a person or group that has preserved the architectural integrity of a historically significant building. Below are the recipients that we have honoured to date.
HERITAGE CONSERVATION AWARDS
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
GARDERIE VAL DES NEIGES DAYCARE
MARY WEEKES and SEBASTIEN WOLCZYK
The 2019 award for heritage conservation goes to Val des Neiges daycare (CPE) centre in the old center of the village. Their attention to detail when adding several additions over the years to the 111-year old Seale home merits particular commendation, as they have added several adjoining wings to the old house that are architecturally identical to the original—a model for how older buildings can be adapted to new purposes without destroying their heritage integrity. READ MORE
LAURA DAVIS NESBITT
Laura Davis Nesbitt (1897-1993) received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” posthumously from the Morin Heights Historical Association at the 4th Annual Heritage Awards Gala held October 25, 2019. The award honours Laura’s role as a pioneer in preserving Morin Heights’ history. A number of her descendants were on hand to accept the award on behalf of the Davis-Nesbitt family.
Laura is credited with being Morin Heights’s first historian with her detailed research and written account of the town’s history that she produced for the Morin Heights 1955 Centennial celebrations. Her passion for community involvement also got her elected in July 1956 as Morin Heights’ first female town councilor. READ MORE
The 1895 Hillside Chapel is the recipient of the Morin Heights Historical Association Heritage 2018 Award for preservation of local buildings. The simple, white-painted wooden clapboard building at the corner of chemin du Village and rue Hillside has remained virtually unchanged— inside and out—for almost 125 years, an amazing achievement. It has been beautifully maintained, painted, straightened, had new doors installed and other minor improvements, but otherwise it’s the most authentic old building still standing in Morin Heights. Tucked onto a tiny corner lot, the old structure still lacks plumbing facilities. The chapel was built by Abraham Watchorn and his nephews in 1895 on land donated by the Watchorn family. READ MORE
At the 3rd annual Heritage Awards gala on October 13, 2018, Michael Tott received the highest honour from the Morin Heights Historical Association—the Lifetime achievement award—for his many contributions to local heritage.
The local businessman and consummate community leader created what’s virtually a museum at La Grange restaurant putting his collection of Morin Heights memorabilia on display. Artifacts from the Commons Hotel, Mont Bellevue and Le Studio, as well as walls full of heritage Morin Heights photos became the focal points of the décor at the restaurant he built in 2012 using salvaged beams from the Campbell barn. READ MORE
HISTORIC BELISLE FARMHOUSE RETAINS ORIGINAL LOOK
RÉJEAN and FRANCE BELISLE
The 2017 award for Conserving local heritage buildings went to Réjean and France Belisle for preserving the heritage Belisle farm on the 4th Range Road. As one rounds a curve and reaches the top of the summit on the 4th range road, one suddenly comes to a breathtaking vista. On one side of the road is a typical simple turn of the century farmhouse (1899) including its outbuildings, and across from it is a beautiful roadside cross. READ MORE
Sandra Stock received the 2017 Heritage award for Lifetime Achievement. She was the founder of the
Morin Heights Historical Association in 1997. She served as President from 1997 to 1999 and again from
2004 to 2007, as well as starting the historical journal, The Porcupine, and serving as editor for numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7.
Sandra’s mother’s family had been residents of Lake Echo since before the First World War; they moved here permanently in the 1950s, when her father became the town’s Secretary-Treasurer. After a B.A. in English and a B.F.A. in Art History, she was a career high school English teacher. READ MORE
PIONEER GUÉNETTE FARMHOUSE PRESERVED
ANDRÉE GAUTHIER AND DIRK SCHMEKEL
The first honour for Conserving local heritage buildings went to Andrée Gauthier and Dirk Schmeckel in 2016. The couple was recognized for their work in preserving the pioneer character of their home on rue Jonathan. It was originally the Guénette farmhouse, located on Rang 2, lot 31, at the corner of Belisle and the old road to St- Sauveur. We don’t know when the Guenette family acquired the property or built the house. The original barn was situated where rue du Village now passes. READ MORE
The first-ever Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement was given to George B. “Bunny” Basler at a gala dinner at Restaurant La Grange on September 17, 2016. Bunny, born in 1928, is one of the town’s most ardent supporters of the Morin Heights Historical Association, attending most events and always ready with a word of encouragement. But he’s also a dedicated worker who has participated for decades in efforts to preserve the community’s heritage. Amazingly, he was a member of all three committees that planned events to celebrate the town’s 100th anniversary in 1955, 125th in 1980, and 150th in 2005. His legacy includes the donation of the original St. John’s Ambulance building to the Morin Heights Historical Association, now the association headquarters. The building is now named after him––the Bunny Basler Historical Centre. READ MORE