Montreal’s Bishopscourt on the market

By on February 1, 2005
Montreal’s Bishopscourt, the residence of the diocesan bishop, is on the market for $1.6 million.

The diocese of Montreal is selling its bishop’s residence. Known as Bishopscourt, the 10-room brick house on Mountain Street is on the market for $1.6 million. It has served as the official residence of the bishop of Montreal for the last 40 years.

“The new bishop, Barry Clarke, and his wife have decided that the manse does not suit their needs,” said the Montreal Gazette, which reported on the listing of the 6,000-square-foot, two-storey property.

“It is a large house and expensive to maintain; it is in need of repairs; and it does not suit the style of the new bishop, nor (with its many stairs) the health limitations of his wife – hence, the decision to sell it,” Archdeacon Peter Hannen told Anglican Journal. (Bishop Clarke’s wife, Leslie, has multiple sclerosis and Bishopscourt is not accessible.)

Bishopscourt is “is one of the few large private residences left in Montreal’s historic Square Mile, and its listing has caused a flurry of interest,” he added.

Some contents of the house, including paintings and furniture, are considered part of diocesan patrimony and will be re-used at Cathedral Place, the diocesan offices, said Archdeacon Hannen.

It has been proposed that funds from the sale be kept intact, with the income from it to be used primarily to provide a housing allowance for Bishop Clarke and his wife when they move from the rectory of his former parish in St. Paul’s, Lachine.

“Four bishops have called the stately four-bedroom house home,” which was sold to the diocese for $75,000 in 1962, the Gazette said.

Stuart Realty Office, which is handling the listing, said the property includes three bedrooms and servants’ quarters, a fireplace and two walk-in closets in the master bedroom, original oak floors, modern kitchen appliances and a wine cellar.

Several other dioceses maintain residences for their bishops:

In Toronto, the primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, and his wife Lois, moved into the bishop’s residence, a $2-million home named See House, after he was elected primate, or national bishop, last May. Archbishop Hutchison was Bishop Clarke’s predecessor in Montreal. Toronto had recently elected a new diocesan bishop, Colin Johnson, but he decided to remain at his home in suburban Toronto. The diocese also maintains a residence for one of its four area bishops in the northern reaches of the city called the York-Scarborough area. The other bishops receive housing allowances, according to director of planning and development Brian Mills.

In Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the bishop’s residence is called Bishop’s Lodge and is located in downtown Halifax next to All Saints’ Cathedral. A five-bedroom house built in the 19th century, it is part of a complex of dwellings that includes residences for the suffragan bishop and the cathedral’s dean.

In Algoma, the diocese that stretches along the northern shore of Lake Superior, Bishophurst is a 6,000-square-foot stone house built in 1876 located in the see city of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. About 3,000 square feet of it is living space, the rest contains the diocesan heritage centre and a vault. It has been inhabited by every bishop of Algoma, according to the current resident, Bishop Ron Ferris. The diocese was founded in 1873. Bishop Ferris also noted that he hosts an open house on New Year’s Day and that the public is invited to tour the house.

The diocese of Fredericton, which includes all of New Brunswick, calls its residence Bishop’s Court. Built in the 1890s, the four-bedroom house is across the street from Christ Church Cathedral. The diocese purchased it in the 1940s, according to Canon Fred Scott, diocesan treasurer.

The diocese of Quebec, which includes the eastern part of the province and the Gaspé peninsula, owns Bishopthorpe near the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Quebec City, said registrar and archivist James Sweeny. “There has always been a residence for the bishop going back to the 1790s,” said Mr. Sweeny. The diocese was founded in 1793. The current residence, a six-bedroom stone house, was built in 1842 and was the cathedral rector’s home. It was purchased by the diocese in the 1960s, he said.

In the diocese of Moosonee, which covers much of northern Ontario and some of western Quebec, Bishopstope incorporates a mining term in its name, since much of the work and material was donated by the mining industry, said Archbishop Caleb Lawrence. A stope is a step-like excavation in a mine. Close to the see city of Timmins, Ont., the four-bedroom house dates from the 1940s and was recently assessed at $230,000, said Archbishop Lawrence.

The diocese of Saskatchewan, which encompasses only the northern half of the province, owns Bishopsthorpe in Prince Albert, where Bishop Anthony Burton, his wife and two young children live.

In Athabasca, which covers the northern half of Alberta, Bishop’s Lodge, built in 1963, is located in the see city of Peace River.

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