The Sinclair Inn Museum, a Provincial Heritage Site and National Historic Site of Canada, on St. George Street in Annapolis Royal, is winner in the institutional category in preserving Nova Scotia’s built heritage for 2012 by Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia.
Sinclair Inn was honoured last Friday along with three other historical structures: Rayski House in Grand Pre; Willow Lofts in Truro; and St. Mary’s Glebe in Halifax.
The Annapolis Royal structure is comprised of a home built on the site between 1708 and 1710 (Soullard House) and a second house built in 1711 (Skene House) which was moved and joined to the rear of the building in 1781 by Frederick Sinclair who amalgamated the two buildings, added Georgian and Classical elements and opened an inn and tavern.
Sinclair Inn, owned by the Annapolis Heritage Society, is one of the oldest wood framed structures in Canada, the only documented extant pre-expulsion home occupied by an Acadian, the site of the first Canadian Masonic meeting and the longest running tavern in the Maritimes.
It provides visitors a rare opportunity to view multiple construction methods and materials used during its 300-year history. The Sinclair Ghosts, video clips of 10 people who lived or worked in the Inn, will delight visitors with tales that provide insight to the social history of the site. The recent restoration project encompassed predominantly exterior work including the roof, chimney, siding, and windows to weatherproof, increase structural support and thereby gain an increased life expectancy for the building. The conservation work, most notably on the windows, is exceptional.
Long with the other winners, Sinclair Inn received its honours at a special invitation-only ceremony at Province House on February 22.
"Those of us at the Annapolis Heritage Society are thrilled with this recognition," said Ryan Scranton. "The Sinclair Inn Museum is a national treasure and we are thrilled that Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia has selected our building for this award. This is the culmination of a long process to ensure the structural and aesthetic integrity of this 303 year old building."
Scranton said many people have given their time and talents to the preservation of this important piece of Canadian history.
"Hopefully the work that has been done will preserve this important building for future generations," he said. "We would like to thank our Sinclair Inn Committee as well as the various contractors and volunteers who have helped in this process. We would especially like to thank Parks Canada and Heritage Canada Foundation for the funds which have made this work possible."
The Trust has been presenting Built Heritage Awards since 1989. “This year’s winners exemplify the quality and diversity of restoration projects being carried out around the province,” said Trust Awards Committee Chair Elizabeth Burke.
It’s not the first time Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia has paid tribute to built heritage in Annapolis Royal. In 2008 Jane Nicholson received two heritage awards from the trust.
She was the trust’s winner of both the Residential and Commercial Built Heritage awards.
The Residential Built Heritage Award was presented to Nicholson for the transformation of the Ruggles-Munro House in Annapolis Royal. The house, much loved and well respected, had fallen into disrepair. With the hard work and dedication of Nicholson and a rehabilitation crew, the house was transformed and is now a great example of historical rehabilitation. She earned the Commercial Built Heritage Award for the restoration of the Annapolis Royal Train Station.