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. William Johnston added two bay window areas for more living space. Perry Leighton, known as an antiquarian, used one of the newer wings as a personal museum. The John G. Mullen family spent three years restoring the building back to the original style of the house.
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.
Thanks to lobbying by citizens and vision of the administration, the Town of Amherstburg purchased Belle Vue in 2016. It will continue to stand as a reminder of our origins and of the people who had the courage and fortitude to remain strong in the face of adversity.
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
until it can be permanently hung in the house itself.
Artist giclees and/or prints of either painting are given as a thank you for monetary donations to aid in the restoration efforts. See "How Can I Help" for more information.
Unframed, signed and numbered 14”x20” prints are available for purchase at a cost of $100.
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. Today,
Belle Vue National Historic Site inspires future generations by connecting people, preserving national heritage and fueling the creative vitality of our communities!
To learn more about Peter,
click his image.
BELLE VUE CONSERVANCY AMHERSTBURG is now
CRA REGISTERED Business No: 781630678RR0001
BE PART OF THE RESCUE PROJECT -Donate now for the WINDOW PROGRAM.
See "How Can I Help" or call (519) 736-7586
"Belle Vue House, circa 1928"
"Belle Vue in Winter"
Mary Anne Adam, of the Belle Vue Conservancy, has published her historical novel entitled, The Medicine Bag. The story 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 to freedom in Amherstburg; Mary, who takes a treacherous journey from County Cork in Ireland to Montreal 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 email@example.com or at The River Bookshop (67 Richmond Street, Amherstburg , at Biblioasis (1520 Wyandotte Street East, Windsor and at the Campus Bookstore, University of Windsor(CAW Student Centre, Lower Level, 401 Sunset Avenue, Windsor.