Friends of the Ruins
In 1993 the Ruins of St Raphael’s were at a critical point. It was becoming too dangerous for anyone to be near the church, let alone inside it, due to falling stones and loosening mortar. At this point in time the Ruins were owned by Charlottenburgh Township and had been designated a Heritage Property. Any changes must meet the OHF approval.
Many meetings were held to determine what should be done. The township certainly did not have the finances for repair and were more interested in tearing the structure down. Ironically when investigated they found it would be equally costly to tear down as to build up.
The result of these many discussions was to form the Friends of the Ruins St Raphaels, a committee who would purchase the Ruins from the Township for $1.00. This being done the Friends proceeded to become incorporated in 1994. To this day they have raised $800,000. A remarkable achievement.
The early days of the committee and its deliberations were a intense to say the least but by getting the right advice and assistance, the formidable task of raising large sums of money seemed possible.
TodayThe committee consists of 14 members who meet on a regular basis and plan the strategies for more fund raising. To do so they have set their focus to comply with their Vision and Mission Statement.
The Friends of the Ruins are committed to the provision of:
- Fiscally responsible maintenance, stabilization and management of the Ruins
- Enhancement of the site for safety and comfort to visitors
- Leadership in fund raising activities that will lead to the perpetuity of the Ruins
- Coordination of the delivery of a variety of artistic and cultural attractions throughout the summer.
- Coordination and recognition of all volunteer efforts to enhance the stature of the Ruins as a significant, national, local as well as historical site.
Over these past years the committee has sought government assistance and received it, from the township, provincial and federal levels. Donations have poured in from the general public who appreciate the significance and historical nature of the edifice. These donations come in the form of bequests, pledges and out right donations from $10,000 on down.
Over the years the committee has vigorously raised funds through the popular Golf Tournament on the Thursday before the Highland Games, an Anniversary tape of the Brigadoons celebrating twenty-five years together and the wonderful song “The Burning of St Raphaels” by Rob and Irene Taylor, concerts, 200th Anniversary of Bishop Macdonell’s arrival in St Raphaels, as well as numerous items and books for sale depicting the St Raphaels logo.
The Ruins of St Raphaels will remain a significant landmark recognized for its illustrious contribution to Canadian heritage during the early formation of Upper Canada. Visitors to this site will remark on its beauty and its history as described by informed and articulate historical interpreters.
Tourists from afar will join with local and visiting families to share in the uniqueness of these Ruins as they resound with musical and artistic attractions that reflect our heritage and cultural diversity. In addition to the wealth of entertainment, visitors will have the opportunity to view and appreciate artistic creations that reflect the richness of our neighbourhood and region.