Following the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Sites in Canada, work parties have shored up the foundations; rewired the house; installed a fire protection sprinkler system; installed visitor washrooms; painted the exterior; and reroofed the house.
But the bulk of the work was accomplished by dedicated volunteers, who cheerfully worked in the confined crawl space, replacing beams and posts, or who scraped the exterior to repaint the house.
Others drew up measured drawings, which allowed planning for the reconstruction of old walls that had been removed c1912, to restore the original floor plan.
The new walls, lathed with wood strips salvaged from demolitions, were then plastered with lime plaster reinforced with horsehair (cut up from a horsehair mattress purchased by a volunteer at auction) to match the original walls.
Floors were repaired where rot threatened safety, and wood mouldings were matched and installed. Missing doors were remade to match surviving examples, and a broken cast-iron fireplace surround was carefully recast by a local foundry.
Wallpapers and historic borders were recreated and installed; and other walls were painted, and woodwork oak-grained, to match the carefully researched original finishes.
Rewired, ornate, kerosene lamps were once again hung where they had originally illuminated the rooms, giving a soft illumination for evening tours.
After moving the collected historic furniture into place, Ross Bay Villa is now a focus of history, of education, of amazement, and enjoyment.
Images on this page © Nick Russell; S. Stark