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Maple Grove Church Restores Its Stained Glass

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Aglass.3.jpgpril 22, 2003

Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Maple Grove is having its stained-glass windows restored. Thanks to the efforts of Senator Raymond Setlakwe, Canadian Heritage, and a small group of dedicated volunteers, with additional support from all three levels of government and the private sector, these splendid windows have all been re-leaded and are ready to be reinstalled. A ceremony to mark the occasion is scheduled for Sunday, May 25 at 11 a.m. The Senator and other dignitaries will be on hand, and the public are invited to attend.

The restoration of the stained-glass windows is only the first in a series of projects envisaged for this aging building, which is still a consecrated church, despite the fact that it hosts only one or two services a year, including an annual reunion service for former parishioners. Built in 1900 on the site of an earlier Church of England chapel, itself dating to 1839 and torn down because it was deemed too small, Holy Trinity has recently seen some major changes in its custodianship. The church has just been leased for 99 years from the Anglican diocese of Quebec by the newly-formed Maple Grove Heritage Foundation, a non-profit group created to oversee the church's restoration.

medium_maplegrove.1.jpgMAJOR RESTORATION
According to Bev Loomis, who sits on the board of the new foundation, the group isworking hard to raise what may well amount to several hundred thousand dollars for restoration work on the church's roof, foundations, and doors. There is even talk that the church basement may include a museum, though this remains to be seen. Loomis, who was baptized in Holy Trinity and who grew up in Maple Grove, believes there is no reason why this grand old church should not continue to function as it was intended for years to come. After all, the church's exquisite interior woodwork (left) and its newly restored stained glass are testament to the religious devotion of its builders, the pioneer families of this community.

Strategically situated in the Township of Ireland, near the junction of the historic Craig and Gosford Roads, Maple Grove is now a part of the Municipalité d'Irlande.* In its heyday, the hamlet was a thriving community and home to a number of Irish families (hence Ireland Township). A number of heritage sites may still be seen, including Holy Trinity Cemetery, adjacent to the church, and the old rectory, built of fieldstone in 1859 and now a bed and breakfast. Other early homes in the area, like that of Loomis' grandfather Levi Bennett (right) date to the early years of settlement. And Maple Grove's location makes it an important stop for visitors retracing the famous Craig and Gosford Roads.

medium_maplegrove.2.jpgTHE CRAIG AND GOSFORD ROADS
Named after Sir James Craig, the Governor of British North America (left), the Craig Road ran from Levis (Quebec City) to Richmond, via Leeds and Ireland (Maple Grove). The road was intended as a means of bringing British settlers into the Eastern Townships, offsetting the influx of Americans from New England, and as a route by which produce could be transported to Quebec City from farms in the Townships.

medium_maplegrove.3.jpgCraig had 180 of his soldiers build the road, and by 1811 it was complete. However, due to the number of swamps and rivers that had to be crossed along the way, and due to the road's poor state of repair, the Craig Road proved to be less than ideal. A new road was built and named after the Earl of Gosford. Opened in 1829, it passed through the centre of Inverness Township to Maple Grove, where it met up with the Craig Road.

To get to Maple Grove, take Route 165 northwest from Black Lake for 15 km; then turn south on Gosford Road.