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386 Crystal Bay Drive
Amherstburg ON N9V 4A7
Belle Vue National Historic Site sits facing the Detroit River just south of downtown Amherstburg. For 200 years, it has stood majestically as a reminder of a nation rebuilding after the War of 1812. Built between 1816-1819 by Robert Reynolds, the Deputy Assistant Commissary General at Fort Malden, it was also the home of his sisters, Margaret and Catherine Reynolds, whose landscape paintings provide an invaluable record of early 19th century life in Upper Canada. Their works hang in the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Windsor Community Museum, Fort Malden NHSC, and Library and Archives Canada.
After the Reynolds family, the house was updated by three other families. During its history, Belle Vue served as a convalescent hospital for veterans who served in WWI and later housed the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church providing a connection to the community.
Belle Vue was designated a national historic site in 1959. It is one of only two buildings in Canada designated for Palladian style architecture. The property was recognized by the Provincial (1984) and Municipal (1988) governments for historical importance and for the Reynolds family’s contributions. Belle Vue has been unoccupied since 2001 and placed on the Top Ten Endangered Places List by Heritage Canada Foundation in 2009.
To preserve this majestic beauty, the Town purchased the vacated property in 2016 This property is waiting for the right investor to leverage its national notoriety to transform it into an economic driver.
Belle Vue Conservancy ® , Amherstburg, Ontario
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From the artist notes for Belle Vue House, circa 1928 (edited):
"This painting was donated by the artist to aid the Belle Vue Conservancy in their efforts to
restore the building and grounds to the appearance shown in this image. Its present Colonial Revival look was established by John C Mullen. In the painting, he and his wife, Isabella are seen receiving guests in the front of their home in the summer of 1928, with several Model-A Fords in view."
The original painting is currently hung in the Council Chamber at the Amherstburg Town Hall
.Artist giclees and/or prints of either painting are given as a thank you for monetary donations to aid in the restoration efforts.
.Unframed, signed and numbered 14”x20” prints are available for purchase at a cost of $50. Available for sale at the Marsh Historical Collection, 80 Richmond St. Amherstburg
Unframed 20”x 28”giclees ( reproduction on canvas with artists authentication ) are $350 .
After the devastating War of 1812, the construction of Belle Vue promised hope.
Business No: 781630678RR0001
"Belle Vue House, circa 1928"
Mary Anne Adam"s historical novel" The Medicine Bag" takes place in Amherstburg ca.1850. It is narrated by Maketah, a Metis medicine woman, who through the contents of her medicine bag, befriends three other women: Hester, who escapes slavery in the south ; Mary, who takes a treacherous journey from County Cork in Ireland l to escape the potato famine; and Catherine, of Belle Vue, a wealthy woman of social position. Belle Vue plays a key role throughout this enduring story of courage, friendship, and the power of love. The Medicine Bag is available for $19.95 by contacting Mary Anne at firstname.lastname@example.org or at The River Bookshop, at Biblioasis and at the Campus Bookstore, University of Windsor
Heritage Buildings of Amherstburg surveys nearly 100 buildings through photographs and snapshot summaries offering a glimpse into Amherstburg’s colourful past. Each structure tells a story of activities and events that occurred within its walls: its owners, occupants, and guests…from prime ministers to town folk. exploring a variety of building types that collectively paint a picture of the fascinating heritage of Amherstburg.
The members of the Bell Vue Conservancy have the following concerns regarding the Amico/Loop proposal presented at the Town Council meeting of October 10, 2023
1. The Town of Amherstburg purchased the property for $1.1 million. An additional $250,000 was donated to replace the roof and there was $114,000 of federal funding for the eavestroughs. Under the Amico/Loop proposal, the Belle Vue manor and the approximately 9 acres surrounding it, would no longer belong to the town or the people of Amherstburg. Instead, the purchase price, funding and donations would be virtually given free of charge to the proponents 2.The proponents have indicated that their plan is to convert the Belle Vue manor into 6 hotel rooms, a spa, a restaurant and a public gallery/event space. If the proposal were to proceed, the new owners could do whatever they wanted to the Belle Vieu manor, thereby destroying its historical significance. 3.The proposal includes the building of 51 semi-detached homes to be located at the back of the property along Mill Creek. These high-end homes would have exclusive access to the proposed pool, spa and renovated manor. 4. The EOI states that “The restoration would occur early on in the timeline,” however, In the verbal statement given by the presenters at the town council meeting, the renovations to Belle Vue manor would not begin until after the construction of the luxury semi-detached homes, leaving the Belle Vue manor to further deteriorate. 5.Promises were made to the members of the Belle Vue Conservancy that we would be involved in the EOI process from the beginning. Unfortunately, this did not happen.
While we understood that leveraging some of the property to generate funds to fix the house might be necessary, we firmly believed the house would remain in the hands of the public. Being told that the Belle Vue House and property is to become a private hotel, spa and subdivision was a shocking and disappointing message after the collective efforts of the donors and volunteers for the past several years.