Wellness, Culture and Sport / Supply and Services

Leasing of Ministers Island to the Van Horne Estate organization (08/11/07)

NB 1653

Nov. 7, 2008

ST. ANDREWS (CNB) - The provincial government has signed a long-term lease with a not-for profit organization to protect, preserve and develop Ministers Island, a nationally and provincially designated historic site.

Wellness Culture and Sport Minister Hédard Albert announced the signing of the lease with Van Horne Estate on Ministers Island Inc. The lease will run 25 years at a cost of $1 per year.

"Congratulations to the Van Horne Estate on Ministers Island Inc. for undertaking this positive and major initiative," said Albert. "My department has had a management agreement with this dynamic group for the last four years, and it has showed us that it is ready for a long-term arrangement. The group is committed to preserving this incredible chapter of Canadian history and to telling the many stories of this special place. I look forward to seeing the improvements on the island in the near future."

Ministers Island, located in the Bay of Fundy just outside St. Andrews, was the 200-hectare (500-acre) summer estate of Sir William Van Horne, the visionary builder of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The island is open to visitors during the summer season, and the final visitor statistics for the 2008 season showed an increase in visitation of 24 per cent.

The site features a large barn; a 50-room summer home called Covenhoven; a windmill; and a shore-side bathhouse where visitors could formerly swim in a pool carved out of the sandstone on the shore. Long before the Van Horne era, the island was an important summer camp for the Passamaquoddy First Nations. Later, it became the home of Rev. Samuel Andrews, the Loyalist Anglican minister for whom the island is named.

"Our government is pleased that we have been able to work out a lease arrangement that will allow the group to preserve this site and increase its cultural tourism draw," said Supply and Services Minister Jack Keir. "The undertaking by the Van Horne Estate on Ministers Island Inc. on this important heritage site is yet another way that celebrating our history and culture can benefit our drive towards self-sufficiency. I commend the hard work of all the parties."

The Van Horne Estate on Ministers Island Inc. is a not-for-profit organization governed by a board of directors elected from its membership.

"The Van Horne Estate on Ministers Island Inc. is very pleased to be leasing the island," said Art MacKay, chairperson. "Completion of this agreement is another step in our overall objective to develop and ensure economic sustainability of this important historic site. The board of directors can now concentrate its efforts on its $10-million campaign to ensure the restoration and the preservation of this national Canadian treasure."

The Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport will continue to work closely with the Van Horne Estate on Ministers Island Inc. for the benefit of the island's future.

More information about Ministers Island is available at http://www.ministersisland.org.

08/11/07

MEDIA CONTACTS: Vicky Deschênes, communications, Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport, 506-457-6445; Judy Cole, communications, Department of Supply and Services, 506-457-7903.

08/11/07