Tucked away off the beaten track is one of Ontario's oldest and most beautiful, small cities with such a fantastical and intriguing history that it would rival that of many of Europe's oldest cities. The small city wraps itself around the old limestone-bedded, snaking Moira River with one of the oldest, still-standing, limestone mills, the mill itself the centre upon which the settlement grew.   Named after Lady Arabella Gore, wife of Sir Francis Gore, after their visit to the small settlement in 1816, Belleville boasts some of the finest architectural beauties to be found in the province of Ontario. One of these timeless treasures rests in the area known as the 'Old East Hill' of Belleville. Glanmore sits aloof and untouchable amidst century old trees and fine Victorian homes.

 

Built of a subdued greying, brownish-yellow brick and being of a 2nd Empire architectural style totally unique unto itself, the house appears alive with the spirits of the past and a beating heart all it's own standing testament to an eccentric and lively time in Canada's history.   Built in 1882-1883 for the prosperous banker, J.P.C. Phillips and his wife Harriet, it remained in the same family for three generations before being sold and subsequently being turned into a museum.

Phillipa Faulkner, an artist who was born in the house, is purported to have experienced numerous supernatural occurrences during her days spent living there. The spirit of Harriet Phillips, herself, is said to still remain walking the halls and frequenting the cavernous victorian rooms of the fine old mansion.

Phillipa had witnessed the piano in the drawing room play of it's own accord and doors that had opened and closed with no visible human entity in sight. She sensed that the spirit behind these occurrences was her Grandmother, Harriet Phillips.

In 1962 Phillipa engaged a Roman Catholic Priest to come into the home and exorcise the troubled spirits who wandered the grand old Belleville mansion. Family accounts written by Anne Burrows Faulkner, Phillipa's daughter, state that the supernatural occurrences seemed to abate somewhat after that time period, however Harriet's restless spirit never completely left the beautiful old home she had so steadfastly loved.

Glanmore National Historic Site is now open to the public  , and houses a magnificent collection of period antiques and art, many of them original to the home.

On my numerous visits to the house, I always feel a certain 'unease' as I walk around the creaking, old rooms and hallways.

There is a strong sense of loneliness and abandonment that seeps into one's pores with a heavy foreboding as one walks from room to room.

 In many areas of the home, I've sensed an invisible presence nearby as it observes the comings and goings of the visitors to the house.   As happy as I am to bring visiting friends and relatives on a tour of the stately Victorian home, I experience a great relief when it is time to leave. The house is beautiful and certainly a timeless Canadian Historic treasure, however it exists in another time and place and hastens to remind you to never leave go of that oppressive and heavy fact.

 Upon leaving and re-entering the sparkling, sunlit air, you step back into the present and feel a great sadness for the house and for those who lived there in the past and for some reason, were never able to leave.

 

Caught in a time warp of their own volition, they serve the gracious home to this day, and make certain it will always remain just as it was over one hundred years ago.

 

Category: General Articles