Paradise Grove Bed & Breakfast
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada    
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     Paradise Grove Bed & Breakfast

From the late 1700's until mid 1800's, the property was part of the Military Reserve near Fort George and Paradise Grove, where the parishioners from St. Mark's church would picnic on Sundays after church. On the border of the Military Reserve and the Town of Newark, the property was not developed until about 1856, well after Fort George was abandoned. As part of the harbour development project in the mid 1800's, the land was given by the government to the Harbour and Dock Company. After the Harbour and Doc Company became insolvent, the property was sold to the Milloy family who built a three storey home on the hill overlooking the harbour, where Chateau Gardens nursing home is now located.

In the 1930's the Harrison family, who owned a local lumber yard, acquired the property and built a number of additional structures, including a small house at the corner of Byron and Wellington streets.

The two storey house at the corner of Byron and Wellington was built in the colonial style. Jack Harrison used the balloon-framing method, which was pretty common for houses built during that period. Instead of constructing one floor and then the next, with balloon-framing, the outside eighteen foot wall studs spanned both the main and second floors, and the joists for both ceilings were held up using studs coming down from the 12-pitch roof joists. With normal construction you would need interior supporting walls to hold up 2 x 8 ceiling joists spanning the twenty feet between the exterior walls. With balloon construction, the interior "supporting walls" were just long studs from the roof joists down to the joists of the second floor. The balloon-framing provided quite a challenge in our reorganizing of the second floor to provide three good sized bedrooms.

Jack Harrison, who owned most of the block after his father died, sold off the north-west third of an acre and existing house in 1969 to Elizabeth Ayers, the grandaughter of Bessie and Clarence Kraft (part of the cheese family). Elizabeth and her second husband, Allan Peets, made extensive renovations to the house. A number of Niagara-on-the-Lake residents were shocked when Elizabeth had the exterior siding painted yellow. That seems silly now, but back in the 70's all the houses that were not brick were pretty much painted white, so a yellow house at that time was really a change from the norm in what was then an ultra-conservative community.

As Elizabeth's mobility progressively deteriorated (she had MS), the beautiful landscaping was let go and the interior of the house deteriorated considerably. After the death of Elizabeth in 2000, her son, Michael from her first marriage, acquired the property.

The house was subject to extensive renovations in 2004 by Elizabeth's son, Michael.


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