254 High Street , Southampton , Ontario

254 High St in winter 2.jpg

Owner:  County of Bruce

Why is it important?

The former Anglican Rectory was designed and built in 1893-94 by a foreman of the famous Krug furniture factory, and is an integral part of the identity of the built heritage of Southampton. It is a residence important for both its architecture and its location. First, its elegant and well-preserved Gothic Revival and Queen Anne Revival features are consistent with the Victorian styles that exemplify the distinctive character of Southampton. Second, it stands as a landmark gateway at one end of the downtown High Street, which leads in one direction to the sublimity of the beach and its Huron horizon, and leads in the other direction to the tranquillity of Fairy Lake. Its location is integral to the complementary relationship of the four corners at High and Victoria Streets where the Rectory and the three Victorian churches face each other at the most prominent intersection of the town with an historically intact architecture that welcomes residents to the peace of the wooded lake and to the cultural gatherings at the bandstand and the Bruce County Museum. According to heritage experts, this house meets the criteria for heritage designation under the Ontario Heritage Act Part IV and should be preserved.

Why is this place endangered?

After purchasing the Rectory in 2018, Bruce County has indicated its firm intention to demolish it. That the funds used (and to be used for demolition) were restricted according to the Will of heritage advocate Bruce Krug raised many more questions and concerns among citizens. Nearly a thousand citizens have rallied to support its retention as a readily reusable building that should be preserved within its attractive landscape of heritage trees and gardens. Letters, newspaper articles, petitions, and deputations to the town and county councils were unsuccessful in changing the demolition plans. In March 2019, facing the urgency of demolition looming within days, SCHC and others asked the justice system to determine whether or not the County has committed a breach of trust. A Court Hearing date has been set.