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Copyright © 2001, Patricia Sullivan



Forward by Patricia Sullivan


Old buildings have stories to tell. They have played roles in people's lives and become reference points of place or time.  Some buildings become landmarks simply by enduring, others for particular architecture or purpose and, a few, by association with prominent people or historic events. Ste. Anne’s qualifies on all counts.  Today, Ste. Anne's is an inn and health spa, visited yearly by thousands of people who come to relax and rejuvenate themselves while enjoying the fine surroundings and splendid view. Even so, as landmarks go, this one is relatively unknown.  For some tourists driving along a quiet country road north of Grafton, turrets and gables and long expanses of stonework are an unexpected and unlikely sight.  The centre of the building is an impressive stone house built in 1858 by Samuel Massey, the grandson of an early pioneer couple. He chose an ideal location for his home—on a plateau overlooking miles of rolling countryside with Lake Ontario on the horizon.  A later owner made additions to the house and gave it the architectural features that earned the building a nickname. Some local residents still refer to Ste. Anne's as “the Grafton Castle.”


The History of Ste. Anne's Spa tells the stories of its owners—people with vision and an extra measure of daring—who created one of Haldimand Township’s most distinctive landmarks.

Patricia Sullivan December, 2000



Cannif, William. Settlement of Upper Canada. Originally published by Dudley & Burns, 1869. Reprinted by Mika Silk Screening Limited, 1971. Gillen, Mollie. The Masseys. The Ryerson Press, 1965. Gottschall, Judy. The Spirit of the 30’s Returns to Grafton ‘Castle’. The Coburg Star, July 28, 1975. Haldimand History Committee. Memories of Haldimand Township. Boston Mills Press, 1997. Harris, R. Cole and Warkentin, John. Canada Before Confederation. Oxford University Press, 1974. Hewitt, D.F. Geology and Scenery. Ontario Dept. of Mines, 1974. Lower, J.A. Canada: An Outline History. McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1966. Nicholson, Marion Massey. The Massey Family, 1591-1961. Compiled by Marion Massey Nicholson. Clay, Charles (ed.). Two Centuries of Change, United Counties of Northumberland and Durham 1767 - 1967. United County Centennial Book Committee, Coburg, 1967. Wood, J. David, Editor. Perspectives on Landscape and Settlement in 19th Century Ontario. McClelland & Stewart Limited, 1975.

Interviews and Correspondence
    Broomfield, Alec and Ruth.
    Burns, Nancy.
    Campbell, Joyce.
    Corcoran, Carl and Nan, John and Nancy, Jim, Marijo, and Bill.
    Houston, Nancy.
    McCann-Wilkes, Constance.
    Owen, Jane.
    Pearson, Margaret Massey.
    Ryan, Rebecca.
    Storey, Cindy.
    Winter, Ethel and Ken.

Other Sources
    Archives and Reference Material, Cobourg Library.
    Reference Material, Quinte West Library.
    Registry Office, Cobourg.

Special Thanks…
    for photographs supplied by the Corcoran family,
    Mrs. Jane Owen, Mrs. Ethel Winter,
    Mrs. Barb Corkery (Keeler).