ACTINOLITE, FOUNDING OF
In 1853 Billa Flint (1805-94), a lumberman, member of the legislative assembly and later of the senate, built sawmills here on the Skootamatta River. A village, at first named Troy but soon renamed Bridgewater, was laid out the same year. Extensive marble deposits were subsequently discovered here and this church, erected 1864-66, is believed to be the only one in Canada constructed of that material. The first resident minister’s son, and the eminent gynecological surgeon, Thomas Stephen Cullen (1868-1953), was born in the adjacent parsonage. In 1883 the mining of actinolite, a mineral used in the manufacture of roofing material, was begun nearby, and about 1895 the village received its present name.
– Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario
GPS co-ordinates: 44° 32’ 36.36” N 77° 19’30.41” W (44.5433333, 77.325000000)
Street address: Highway 37 at Bridgewater Road
Additional notes from the Marble Arts Centre website: The Marble Arts Centre, or “the MAC,” began its days as a Methodist church in Bridgewater (now Actinolite in the Municipality of Tweed). Built in the 1860s of white marble quarried about 200 feet north-east of the site, it is thought to be Canada’s only white-marble church. After nearly two years of construction, the beautiful building was complete, boasting a fine-toned bell in the tower, an excellent organ in the choir loft and a seating capacity of 500. In 1889, a fire destroyed much of the community, including the church—only the four exterior walls were left standing. The building was restored, eventually becoming a United Church, and the congregation continued gathering there for well over a century. In 2005, with only 21 members left, the church closed its doors, holding its last service on its 141st anniversary. In 2008, the Tweed & Area Arts Council (T&AAC) purchased the building and has turned it into a vibrant centre for the arts. Thanks to the generosity of members and other volunteers, donors, local businesses and granting agencies, the MAC boasts amazing acoustics, beautiful theatre seating and a studio gallery for workshops and visual art displays.
For more information about the Marble Arts Centre, go here: