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Annual Picnic 2011 – Ridgewood

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Ridgewood Picnic

This year we were fortunate to  be the  guests of  Mr. Alfredo Brusorio, of Ridgewood, a historic mansion located just a little east of Lancaster, built by John McLennan.  Some time in the 1870‘s, Ridgewood became  the home of John McLennan’s son Duncan, and his wife, Mrs. Duncan McLennan (Harriet Mair).

John McLennan was born in Williamstown, to parents John (Squire) McLennan and his first wife Margaret MacKenzie (of U.E. Loyalist descent). He initially became a merchant in Lancaster, but went on to co-found the Montreal grain and shipping company known as J. and H. McLennan, with his brother Hugh.  The company was later known as the Montreal Transportation Company.

With the success of this company, John McLennan built a fine house for himself outside of Lancaster, called “By the Lake”.  He became associated with the name and was locally known as John McLennan (By the Lake).   John McLennan (By the Lake) went on to become the MP for Glengarry in 1878.  He only served for one term.

The McLennan family built the first Anglican church in Glengarry, St. John the Evangelist, also known as the Church in the Wildwood.

Harriet Mair, wife of Duncan McLennan, was born in Galveston, Texas and was the first cousin of her husband. She went on to become active in the Red Cross of Glengarry, serving as its President from 1939-1942.

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Alfredo Brusorio welcomes the GHS

The family sold the Ridgewood property in 1929 and it became the Lovatt Hall Sanatorium.  The By the Lake property was demolished by the Ontario Government, being deemed too expensive to keep, and the Ridgewood house gradually fell into disrepair.  Glengarry County is indeed fortunate that in the late 1990s, the house was purchased by Mr. Alfredo Brusorio, who began the process of restoring it to its former and possibly even greater glory.

Although Mr. Brusorio was born in Italy, he is proud of his Scottish heritage and is active in the Black Watch Regiment.  His family moved from Scotland to Italy in the middle ages, under the original name of Brus (Bruce).  It was ultimately changed to Brusorio.  Alfredo Brusorio has performed near miracles on the restoration, pointing out that when he purchased the property there was no roof on part of the house, which indicates that the damage was extensive.  The grounds were virtually bare of trees.  He has brought in a number of beautiful pieces of antique furnishings and artwork which seem to reflect a bygone era of the early days of Ridgewood.  Alfredo Brusorio is an internationally acclaimed artist.  His work is on display at the Galerie Lydia Monaro in Montreal.

More information is available at:   http://www.galerielydiamonaro.com/artists/alfredo-brusorio