The Manor House has a storied past as the home for many years of “Big Pants” Harry McLean, a larger-than-life figure who established the Dominion Construction Company and built many of the railways and dams of Canada in the early-mid 1900’s.
It was here in the stone cottage (yet to be restored) behind the main Manor House that Harry kept his collection of exotic animals, including a black panther, which he would walk through the village in his pajamas (that is, Harry was in pajamas). Elderly locals recite many tales of Harry’s eccentricity and generosity now passed into legend, including episodes of friendly fire that adorned the kitchen ceiling with bullet holes, and the boisterous party at which he famously rode his steed to the top of the central three story spiral staircase of the Manor House, only to discover it was impossible to then turn and descend. It was alleged that alcohol was a factor and, sadly, the horse was arrested and charged.
Harry died here in the Manor House, his spiritual home. It is said that he hovers nearby along with another famous spirit, William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s tenth Prime Minister, an occultist and friend of Harry’s. King was a regular visitor to the Manor House regarding matters that have never been made known. Today, other kinds of grand spirits can be found on the bar side of the Manor House, an homage to Harry and his favourite pastime.
The Art of the Manor
Several of the paintings and sculptures on display in the Manor House are representative samples of the work of artist Laura Brown and the fine art collection on consignment from White Mountain Academy. Laura also serves as the Executive and Artistic Director of the Canadian Tulip Festival.