By Cassie MacDonell
Local Journalism Initiative
“The people that were against the project, they’re all happy it’s done and it’s beautiful. They like it,” said Eric D’Avignon, one of the four owners of the Connaught independent living apartments in North Hatley. Many citizens expressed their appreciation of the new building during a ceremony on Friday to unveil a plaque aimed at commemorating the building’s long history.
The plaque installation comes after a backlash in 2019 from some North Hatley residents who expressed concern about the partial demolition of North Hatley’s Connaught Home for long-term care services, which holds significant heritage in the community. The objections caused a construction delay of several months.
In the same year, the Massawippi Retirement Communities sold the Connaught Home to a Sherbrooke-based ownership group, represented by Eric D’Avignon, due to the hefty construction cost. To adhere to safety codes, part of the building had to be demolished and rebuilt. Now, the building is an independent living apartment complex, with monthly rent ranging from $1,350 to $2,000.
At the ceremony, Samuel D’Avignon, Director of operations for Sphère Société Immobilière, explained the importance of commemorating the building’s heritage.
“The Connaught, as most of you know, isn’t just any other building. The site and the name hold powerful meaning and that is why the task of conceiving the new Connaught was not taken lightly. That being said, preserving the building’s original architecture was obviously priority number one. I believe the architects did a wonderful job as the façade is nearly identical to the original, and the overall traits of the architecture of that period is now preserved,” said D’Avignon. “By (preserving) the building, it is now safe with its new bones for a hundred years or more.”
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