THE PROJECT - Hastings, Ontario
It had long been a dream of William and Catherine Ma to restore an historical building, with the goal of opening a unique event centre in Trent Hills, Ontario.
"When the church became available we knew right away this project belonged to us," We have been business owners in the area for decades, so we know how to plan and manage a successful enterprise. The project of restoring this beautiful old church, however, was something new and exciting."
The project of removing pews and antiquated fixtures, levelling floors, refinishing original wood architectural features and floors, installing chandeliers, replacing stained glass, updating a commercial kitchen for reception and event dinners, installing plumbing, electrical, an accessibility elevator, and lavish decorative touches took most of a year of hard work and, of course, more money that we ever dreamed.
In spring 2019, the first events were held in the newly restored Grand Maple - the first was their son's wedding, followed by a medieval masquerade ball and later a lavish Celebration of Excellence Awards Gala, by the local Chamber of Commerce.
THE BUILDING'S HISTORY
Grand Maple has proudly maintained the elegance and heritage of the lovely century old St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Hastings, Ontario.
The town itself has a rich history going back to 1615, when explorer Samuel de Champlain set out to discover a water passageway between Georgian Bay and Lake Ontario. Travelling through rivers and lakes, including portaging through Rice Lake to the rapids, which is now known as the source of Trent River and the Village of Hastings, in Northumberland County. In 1810, James Crooks was offered 1050 acres on both sides of the rapids to build its first watered powered Grist Mill and develop the land. In 1851, a Scottish businessman, Henry Fowlds, purchased all the property from James Crooks.
St. Andrew's church was first constructed as a lovely frame building in 1858, when Fowlds gave the site on Albert St. E. as a gift to the congregation that has been meeting in various locations in town since 1852. In 1867, the building was bricked and renovated.
Tragedy struck the church on July 5, 1897, when a fire destroyed the old building. However, it wasn't long before the dedicated parishioners rebuilt a new church. On October 18, 1897, Henry M. Fowlds helped lay the foundation stone for the present St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church - now Grand Maple Event Centre.