The Magee House

ca. 1914

Southlands, Vancouver

Maura de Freitas, and Catholine Butler.

St. Patrick's

St. John's Newfoundland

Notre-Dame was raised to the status of basilica by Pope John Paul II during a visit to the city 1982. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1989. The Basilica is a Montréal landmark, 1823-29.

Architect, J.J. Murphy

Local Architect & Builder,

T. O'Brien.

The  Martindale  Pioneer  Cemetery

"....nothing that could render this place charming has been neglected."

Since it was unveiled in 1982, the site has attracted countless visitors as a commemoration site for survivors of Ireland’s Great Hunger.
     There is a tragic story associated with the restoration of this burial ground and, if not for Catholine’s relentless determination,


During the 1860-1870's forests gave way to farms in the area

now known as Southlands. Original pioneers, Hugh Magee &

 Firzgerald McCleery, arrived from Ireland out of the Great

Hunger to find freedom and opportunities. They obtained 

title to most of the land in Southlands and, finding ideal soil

conditions, settled there to operate farms.  Trails that they

would establish during 1861-62 along the river (McCleery

brothers North Arm  Trail) and through the forest (Magee

Road) would becomeMarine Drive  and West 49th Avenue.

Later, a station on theinterurbanrail line from Vancouver to Steveston

was  named Magee Station.                                                         . 

Hugh Magee owned District Lot (DL) 194,

which comprises all of the residential

area in the Blenheim Flats.

Magee House is a two-and-a-half-storey

wood frame building, constructed in an early Craftsman style, it is situated at the top of a ridge that today forms the divide between the urban lots to the north and agricultural- zoned larger hobby farms and acreages to the south
It  is one of the earliest houses in this area and associated with the early pioneer farming of Southlands. Built circa 1914, the earliest association is with James Douglas Magee who lived here until his death in 1934. His wife, Edith Clara, lived here until 1937. Magee was classified under various occupations, including timber cruiser, broker, and farmer. The house was once part of a larger site that was subdivided into single family lots.
      The house features  a side gabled roof and a centrally-placed front porch. There is a full width porch on the south side with a sleeping porch above. These porches, combined with the location of the house on top of a ridge, look out over the low farmland. The double- hung windows all have a leaded multi-pane upper sash and the shingles on the main body of the house are flared out to form a subtle overhang above the windows.
Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
            Key elements that define the location of the Magee House include:  its orientation in the Southlands neighbourhood of Vancouver facing the low-lying farmland toward the Fraser River      

The Character-Defining Elements include:
the wide, rectangular two-and-a-half-storey massing, including a side-gabled roof with large overhangs. A central front porch with heavy corner brackets and low railing and
secondary side porch spanning the south side, with corner support posts set in groups of three with cross beam connecting the sets and heavy corner brackets; paired door arrangement, with divided lights leading onto side porch and a sleeping porch on second floor, south side with steep pitch shed roof.
The shed roof extension at rear with single windows and oriels on the front and north side. Shingle cladding on main body, including flared shingle overhangs above all windows on main and upper floors; wide lap siding on basement. The fenestration is mostly double hung, all with rectangular vertical leaded glass pattern in the upper sashes and windows are set in triples on main floor, with sidelight windows on the oriels on main floor and north sides, and are paired on upper floor, singles at rear and basement
Piano windows at rear of main floor on either side of chimney, long transom window at rear of second floor, decorative knee brackets in side gables and front porch gable
- exposed rafter ends and decorative front door with vertical bands of bevelled clear glass, adjacent narrow sidelights with leaded bevelled clear glass.  

Architect: James O'Donnel

Stonemason: John Redpath

a major participant in the construction of the Basilica

 In 1786 Richard John Uniacke received                                                                                        a grant for a thousand acres on the                                                                                         Nova Scotia Windsor Road.                                                                                                                         There he built his home and shortly added to his property ,having received a second grant for 4,000 acres.
       Mount Uniacke included a large family home, a number of barns, a coach house, guest house, wash house, baths, privy, hot house, caretaker's house and an ice house. Certain of these establishments can yet be seen today. It is part of the Uniacke Estate Museum Park, one of the many tourist attractions in Nova Scotia.
     Lord Dalhousie wrote of Mount Uniacke in 1817, a place at which he regularly      stopped on the way to his second residence at Windsor. "Mount Uniacke, sits on the margin of a fine Lake and is surrounded by the wood wilderness mixed up with great granite rocks/ It is very gentleman-like, and may in time be a pretty place, but at present has little to recommend it, except the new comfortable house and the cordial hospitality of it's Proprietor."
         Another contemporary description written by Bishop Edmund Burke (1753-1820):
"We arrived very late ... Madam Uniacke and Lady Mitchell, her step-daughter, received  us with as much courtesy as these English ladies, stiff and starched as they usually are, can show ... this immense and costly house, with its innumerable dependencies, bath rooms, billiard rooms, balconies, servants quarters, well kept groves on the borders of     a large, and rather deep lake, the waters of which are carried to the sea by several small streams; nothing that could render this place charming has been neglected."

                                          Learn more about Richard John Uniacke               


Uniacke Estate Museum Park

part of the expansive country estate of               Attorney-General Richard John Uniacke            (1753-1830). Built between 1813 and 1815,                     One of Canada's finest examples of Georgian architecture, a Nova Scotia treasure.

St. Patrick's was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990 In '97 the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland & Labrador declared it a Registered Heritage Structure for its aesthetic and historic values.

The Irish Colony was founded in 1905

by Fr. John Sinnett, SJ . Fr. SInnett built the first church there in 1906, a second church in 1908, and in 1915, St. Patrick's, to serve the growing community that travelled by horse-drawn wagon, sled on the snow, or on foot. Fr. Sinnett died in 1922 before this present Gothic Revival parish church / Sask. Heritage Site.was completed.

Learn more about this heritage site location and the O'Keefe family


Tierney and Betty had achieved what         they had started out to do. They had restored the Historic O’Keefe Ranch.

Tierney was the youngest son of Cornelius O‘Keefe, who had settled at the Head of Okanagan Lake and established the O’Keefe Ranch on June 15, 1867.

The Magee House

ca. 1914

Southlands, Vancouver

this important historic site would have been neglected and forgotten.                     More details can be found at:

Designed in the late Gothic Revival style by well-known Dublin architect           J.J. McCarthy, the large church features a dramatic, soaring interior and overall St. Patrick’s marks a radical departure in style for the Roman Catholic churches of the time.  Over many years the church would be built by St. John’s own Irish Canadian architect and mason, T. O’Brien.
The cornerstone was laid on September 17, 1855, by Bishop John T. Mullock and other distinguished clergy from Canada and the United States. Financier, Cyrus Field, contributed £1,000 to help with construction costs.
It was February 7, 1864, nine years after the laying of the cornerstone, that work officially began with the Cathedral Fire Brigade volunteers hauling the first load of stone from the Southside Hills to the site. Hauling during the winter, when the road surfaces were packed with s now allowed the horses to pull the very heavy loads. Constructed almost entirely from cut ashlar, it is estimated that 600 tonnes of stone was hauled from Cudahy’s Quarry by volunteer labour for the construction of the new church.                             Further problems prevented work on the project from advancing beyond the 1864 stage for a decade. Additional stone was donated in 1875 and construction began once more. Construction continued as funds and materials permitted and the church was completed in 1881.                        Twenty five years in the building, St. Patrick's Church was consecrated on August 28, 1881, a great legacy at the centre of St. John's.

           St. Ignatius Church

     Sinnett, Saskatchewan                                       1928       

From 1974 to 1982, Catholine Butler was main fundraiser

for a restoration project on an Irish Famine immigration

graveyard in Martindale, Quebec,  just north of Canada’s

capital Ottawa, in the Gatineau Hills of western Quebec

    The Martindale Pioneer Cemetery is a significant                   memorial to survivors of the Great Hunger following the

failure of the potato crop between 1843-1850.

Notre-Dame Basilica                             Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal

The O'Keefe Ranch recognized as a British Columbia Historical Site by the Provincial government and officially opened to the general public on June 15, 1967, by Premier W.A.C. Bennett 100 years to the day from when Cornelius O’Keefe first arrived with his herd of cattle. 

set in the rolling Gatineau Hills, Martindale, Quebec, that 200 survivors of Ireland's Great Hunger may now rest in peace here.  

In the historic district of Old Montreal there stands Notre-Dame Basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal).  It is one of the most dramatic structures in the world. The interior is also unique – grand and richly colourful, intricate wooden carvings and statues, stained glass windows that tell the story of Montreal’s own religious history and the four-keyboard Casavant Frères pipe organ that must be heard.
In 1672 the Roman Catholic Sulpician Order built the parish church of Notre-Dame. By 1824 the congregation had outgrown it.  
They commissioned James O’Donnell, an Irish-American Protestant, to design a new building. His design was Gothic Revival and, on its completion, it would be the largest church in North America.                                                                   The sanctuary was completed in 1830, the first tower in 1843. The interior would be a work in progress for nearly a decade.
Because of the scale of the church, a more intimate chapel, Chapelle du Sacré-Coeur (Chapel of the Sacred Heart), was built behind it in 1888. Regrettably arson destroyed the chapel in 1978. It was rebuilt with reference to old drawings and photos and with modern vaulting, reredos and a bronze altarpiece by Quebec sculptor Charles Daudelin.
Notre-Dame Church was raised to the status of basilica by Pope John Paul II during a visit to the city on April 21, 1982.
James O’Donnell has been the only person buried in the bascilica’s crypt. State funerals have been held for former Montreal Canadiens superstar Maurice "Rocket" Richard and Canada’s 15th Prime Minister, Pierre E. Trudeau. It was also the setting for the wedding of Celine Dion and René Angélil.

The work was first undertaken in the mid-1970s as project to restore the cemetery which was destroyed after falling into disrepair. The project was spearheaded by Catholine [nee Elaine Gannon], who was born and raised in Martindale, Quebec.

     In the centre of the site stands a remarkable 10-foot Celtic Cross. Engraved on the panels is the story of Famine ships crossing the Atlantic to Canada with starving mothers and their children seeking a new life in North America. The site also features a triple-cenetaph engraved with the names of almost 200 souls buried in the cemetery with messages in Irish, English, and French.
     In September 2016 two bilingual plaques – French and English – were unveiled with a list of those responsible for the research, fund-raising, and design of the site.

Be it a dramatic basilica soaring skyward, a substantial city hall, a cottage, a cemetery or a monument - they hold our history and kindle our hope for the future. .
And, likely they're grand place for very special events.

   From the archives: St. Ignatius Church is a Municipal Heritage Property situated on a three-hectare parcel of land within the Rural Municipality of Leroy No. 339, 11k  west and 10.5k south of the Town of Leroy. The property includes a wood-frame church constructed in 1928, a cemetery founded in 1905 and a large wooden cross.
       The heritage value of St. Ignatius Church lies in its association with Irish settlement in the region. In 1905, eight Irish men led by Rev. Fr. John Chester Sinnett homesteaded in the area, establishing the small community that would become Sinnett. Fr. Sinnett quickly established a parish and it acquired the land in 1905. The property became the centre of the community and, at its height, included, not only a church and cemetery, but also a post office, hall and school. The church was constructed in 1928 and was the third church constructed on the property. A cross was erected on the location of the original church. Over the years most of the buildings on the property have been removed, leaving the church as one of the last landmarks of the community.
The heritage value of the property also lies in its architecture. Inspired by Gothic Revival architecture popular for ecclesiastical buildings at the time, the property is representative of the era’s country churches in Saskatchewan. The most defining characteristic of the property is its large central bell tower with pointed arches and louvered windows.                                                                                       

Those elements that reflect its association with Irish settlement in the region, include its position on its original location, cross on top of the central tower. The cemetery with tombsones and their arrangement in rows        

Elements that reflect the property’s Gothic-Inspired architecture, include its central bell tower with four-sided spire, louvered belfry,and circular window; its rectangular form, regular massing, pointed-arch windows and entryways with tracery, and steep gable roof.                                                                                                                             A railway line passed through Sinnett in 1921,

stores and Grain Elevators were established                                                                     there and in nearby Leroy. Today, the railway                                                                  closed and elevator gone, Sinnett has all but                                                disappeared still generations hold the memory

with significant rites in the Chuch and family

interred with family in the cemetery..

Of 139,205 people in Saskatchewan claiming Irish origin (2001 Census), 11,155 (8%) claimed Irish-only origin and 128,045 (92%) partly Irish origin.