Old St. Andrews



Robert Mckay



Senator Robert MacKay and Clibrig


June 8/1905
Mr. Charles Bonaparte New Secretary of US Navy


Senator Mackay Buys Bleakney Property.
Senator Robert Mackay, of Montreal, one of the wealthiest and most energetic of Canadians, has purchase the Bleakney property, consisting of 350 acres, also the shore properties adjoining, belonging to the George S. Grimmer estate and the Christina Bolton estate. IN all, about 400 acres have been taken over by Mr. MacKay. The purchase price has not bee made public, but it is reported to be in the vicinity of $10,000. The deal was put through by Mr. F. H. Grimmer.


June 22/1905
Reported Senator MacKay and C. R. Hosmer to build summer homes in St. Andrews. Hosmer has cottage four this summer.


July 20/1905
Senator MacKay and Mrs. MacKay came down from Montreal last week and took a look over the property recently purchased by the Senator here. It includes 400 acres of land along the railway and shore, and affords unexampled views at a score of points. The senator will probably remove the present building on the property and erect a larger and handsomer residence for himself. He has engaged Mr. W. J. McQuoid as farm superintendent.


Oct 19/1905
Senator MacKay’s Plans
A Handsome Residence Begun on New Property
Senator Mackay, of Montreal, who recently purchased the Tupper-Bleakney property on the outskirts of the town, is losing no time in the development of his new estate. Already he has begun the erection of what will probably be the larges and most complete summer residence in this locality. He has selected as the site for his new summer abiding place a piece of ground about one hundred yards north of the old Bleakney dwelling place. The outlook from this point is one of the most beautiful imaginable, covering an extensive view of St. Andrews bay with all the country round about. Had he sought the Dominion over he could not have fallen upon a sport which embraces so much that is beautiful, as much that is varied and pleasing to his eye.
            The dwelling house, for which ground has now been broken, will be 93 x 45 feet on the ground, with a forty foot ell. The first story wall will be composed of rough field stone, cemented together. Above this there will be a story and a half of wood, the general design of the building being very handsome as will as comfortable and summer-like. A broad verandah will be constructed around the main dwelling. The contract for the stone work has been awarded to Mr. Charles Horsnell, who has already begun work. The carpenter contract has not been given out. It is Senator MacKay’s intention to have the building completed in time for occupation next season.
            The Senator has in view a comprehensive scheme of development, with a view to enhancing the many natural beauties of his estate. La part of this scheme has already been worked out in the establishment of a pretty little pond or lake to the right of the driveway. Many years ago the late Capt. James, who owned this property, had a skating pond at the same place. Senator has renewed this dam, making the water area much large than before.  A driveway to the railway will also be laid out. It is the intention next season to remove Supt. McQuoid’s dwelling place to another part of the property.


Nov 2/1905
Princes’ Visit to St. Andrews.
Princes Louis and Alexander Guests of Sir William Van Horne.
Prince Louis of Battenberg came and saw and conquered St. Andrews on Saturday last—or rather the small portion of it that gathered about the railway station when he took his departure that evening. The prince and his nephew, Prince Alexander, came to St. Andrews as the guests of Sir William Van Horne. They left the capital city in Sir William’s private car Saskatchewan at ten o’clock, arriving at the Bar Road station at 1:25. Sir William and his son, Mr. R. B. Van Horne, were on hand to welcome them to St. Andrews soil. Accompanying them were Capt. Pamphlett, engineer-commandant of the cruiser Cornwall, and flag lieutenant Sowerby, of the cruiser, Berwick also Mr. W. B. Brown, train master of St. John. Conductor Costley was in charge of the train, Mr. R. H. Purton being the river.
            The tide had not left the bar when the princes’ party arrived, so that they had to be boated across to Minister’s island. Reaching the island shore, they stepped into Sir William’s buck-board and in a twinkling were toasting their shins before the blazing logs in Covenhoven.
            Luncheon was served soon after arrival, and after a few hours spent in the enjoyment of Sir William’s generous hospitality, the prince and party took a hurried glance over Sir William’s estate. Then the party re-crossed to the mainland—the tide having sufficiently receded in the meantime—and drove out to Senator MacKay’s new property. The examination of this beautiful spot, with its entrancing scenery, occupied a short time.


Jan 18, 1906
Senator MacKay’s Property
The transfer of Sir Hibbert Tupper’s property at St. Andrews to Senator Mackay, of Montreal, was made last week and it is now a part of the Senator’s St. Andrews demesne.


Feb 22/1906
Boston Comedy Company appears at Andraeleo Hall.
Roof being put on MacKay’s summer dwelling.


May 17/1906
Senator MacKay’s Summer Abiding Place
A Beautiful Building Beautifully Located
There is not more palatial residence in this corner of the King’s domain than that of Senator Robert Mackay, which is rapidly approaching completion.
            Standing on an eminence overlooking St. Andrews Bay the prospect before it is a most entrancing one. To the west is the Saint Croix river, winding, gracefully past three-clad hill and verdant meadow; to the south, beyond the waters of the inner bay, lie Deer Island and its sister isles; to the east are Minister’s island, the summer home of Sir William Van Horne, the distant shores of Mascarene and the granite hills of Saint George; to the north and east are the Chamcook hills, with their changing variety of scenery. Nowhere in Canada could there be found a more beautiful panorama than that which will be constantly spread before the Senator and his family and the stranger who many happen to be within his gates. The approach to the residence, through a tree-embowered avenue, is also surpassingly beautiful. Many years ago this property was the summer home of Sir Charles Tupper, who beautified it greatly. Now, under Senator MacKay’s guiding hand, it will be made still more beautiful.
            The dwelling which the Senator has erected on his newly acquired property is in keeping with the surroundings. Its heavy stone walls, broad galleries and buttresses of stone, impress the eye at once. It is massive without being too imposing, and there is withal a suggestion of comfort about it that is most pleasing.
            The first storey is built of rough field stone, the cement joints being painted in black. The walls and pillars of the verandah are similarly treated. The second storey is of wood, the panels in the exterior walls being filled in with pebbled plaster of a dark shade. The entrance will be on the western side, where a broad Porte cochere will b erected.
            To the right of the entrance is a cosy little reception room. A few feet above is the main living room of the house, which has an outlook towards the east and which is adorned with a massive fire place in the southern end. Adjoining this, on the south-east corner, is the Senator’s library, which also has a large fireplace. Alongside the library are a bath room and two bedrooms. On the northern side of the living room are the dining room, bath, fitted up with shower bath, etc., butler’s pantry, kitchen, servants’ dining hall and refrigerator. On the second floor are nine sleeping rooms of large size, bath rooms, and servants’ chambers in the north-western wing.
            In the attic above there is large water cistern, capable of containing 5,000 gallons of water. The supply for this tank will be obtained from a cold spring nearby, the water being forced up by hydraulic ram.
            The basement contains a large Gurney heater.
            A feature of the property is the ice-house, which is built of stone largely, and which cost $2,000. It is somewhat inconspicuously located.
            The building will probably be ready for occupation about the first of July.
            The stone-work of the building, which is its more prominent feature, was performed by Mr. Charles Horsnell, of St. Andrews. He also did the interior plastering, and the place of the fireplaces. The workmanship is highly creditable to him. Mr. Aquin, of Lachine, is the contractor for the woodwork. The plumbing and painting are being done by Montreal concerns. Messrs. Finley and Spence, of Montreal, are the architects.


Oct 4/1906
Whoppers From Clibrig
The editor has tried all summer with a fair degree of success to keep a level head, but when he entered his office the other day and found lying on his desk two mysterious objects, which looked like a cross between a huge trombone and a mammoth pumpkin, he felt included to pinch himself to see if he was sober or if he was not suffering from some for of optical hysteria. Having satisfied himself on these points he cautiously approached the objects to see that they were two tremendous Livingston squash which had been raised on Clibrig, Senator MacKay’s farm, by Supt. McQuoid. As an indication of the big things that are to follow from the Senator’s coming amongst, us, they are certain, “whoppers.”


Aug 6/1908
. . . Hon. Robert Mackay, of Montreal, is a Senator of Canada, and one of its wealthiest capitalists. He is associated with a large number of industrial and financial enterprises.


March 4, 1909
Cairine MacKay, daughter of Robert MacKay, married to Norman Wilson. Details.


April 8/1909
Clibrig is being run as a farm. Pigs being raised there, etc.


Dec 2/1909
Senator MacKay Leads
Pointing out that the control of Canadian companies is in very few hands, Moody’s Magazine shows the directors who are at the elm in the big enterprise. Of the important concerns, Senator Mackay leads, for he is a director of 14 concerns, having total assets of $765,000,000. The list in part is as follows:


Mackay, R.                            14                    $765,000,000
Hosmer, C. R.                        10                    $667,000,000
Strathcona, Lord                 9                      $662,000,000
Shaughnessy, Sir T.             6                      $620,000,000
Van Horne, Sir W.                12                    $594,000,000
Meighen, R.                          5                      $481,000,000


Feb 23/1911
Motor for waterworks to be 50 hp gasoline-powered pumping 400 gals per minute.  Pump house to be put alongside track where water pipes enter Senator MacKay’s property. Water will flow to that point by gravity. Then forced up to reservoir on Hume’s Hill, then on the highest point in town.


May 25/1911
Chamcook Lake Water
Now connected with Algonquin Hotel
A very important event in the history of St. Andrews occurred on /Saturday last, when the last pipe in the water works system was laid at Chamcook Lake and the waters of this beautiful lake were of for the first time brought within immediate reach of the town.
            The construction of this water works system was begun last Fall by the CPR, the contract with Messrs. Joseph McVay and Son, of SS, requiring it to be completed during the present month. Mr. Hugh Lumsden, an engineer of large experience, planned and carried out the work. The primary object of this system was to provide an abundant supply of good, pure, water for the Algonquin hotel and cottages, and to give connection with the town, in case a satisfactory arrangement can be entered into. It is hoped and expected that this will be done.
            An analysis of the water, which was made before the work was begun, shows it to be of remarkable purity and softness. It is absolutely free from bacteria and is about as perfect a drinking water as can be procured anywhere.
            The pipe enters Chamcook Lake at his south-western extremity, a few rods north of the track. An eight inch pipe follows the course of the track for 8,500 feet, and then by the aid of a 40 h. p. gasoline engine is forced up the hill, a distance of something like 7,900 feet, through Senator MacKay’s woods (crossing the Saint John road a few rods north of the Catholic cemetery) to a concrete reservoir on the top of the hill overlooking the town. This reservoir has a capacity of 250,000 gallons. Provision has been made for its enlargement should the Town make a permanent contract with the Company. From the reservoir the water is brought in by gravitation in a 12 inch main, following the highway almost the entire distance. A 10 inch pipe, 1100 feet long, carried the water to the hotel. The entire distance traversed by the pipes is about 23,250 feet.


June 29/1911
Coronation Day festivities--MacKay, Shaughnessy, Hosmer, Hope, McColl and Ross loan their teams and horsemen, and participate in the hurdle-jumping and other horse-racing events in the town.


Aug 29/1912
Vice Regal Visit
Duke of Connaught Loyally Welcomed at St. Andrews [Willa’s book, p. 29 photo]
Receives Address, Dedicates School and has a Good Time on the Golf Links
All anticipations with respect to the visit of St. Andrews of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught and Princess Patricia, last week were more than realized. The weather was not quite up to the mark in all respects, but it remained sufficiently stationary on Thursday to permit the public functions to be held most successfully.
The town was never more gaily decorated, nor was there ever more people on the streets. Autos and carriages by the score were present. SS, Milltown, Calais, SG, the islands and the mainland villages in the County each contributed its quota to the general throng. The Warden of the county, Mr. E. A. McNeill attended, and was present on the dock to greet His Highness and welcome him to Charlotte County. So also were Mayor Murchie, of Milltown, and Mayor Grearson, of St. George.
            Nor was the scene afloat any less dazzling than on shore. The big American yacht Kehtoh was a mass of bunting, so was Mr. Hopkins’s beautiful yacht Seiglinde, also the clipper sardine boat Cansarco, Mr. Wheelock’s yacht, the yachts belonging to the Rigby fleet and many others beside. A more spontaneous greeting to a representative of royalty could not have been devised.
            Promptly at 3 o’clock the vice-regal party landed at the public wharf. The Duke, attired in plain afternoon dress, was accompanied by the Duchess of Princess Patricia, with the official and personal attendants.
            Upon reaching the wharf they were welcomed by a reception committee composed of the Mayor, members of the council and school board and a number of representative residents, included among the latter being Sir William Van Horne an Hon. Senator Mackay.


Sept 26/1912
Mrs. Robert MacKay
The wife of Ho. Robert Mackay, who was stricken with paralysis a month or more ago, passed away at her summer home on Friday night lat, surrounded by her family. . . . The body was taken to Montreal for interment by special strain o Sunday.


April 24/1913
15 foot extension planned to powerhouse for another boiler.
CPR having 45,000 gallon reservoir alongside pumping station below Senator MacKay’s property. “This is designed to improve the supply of water to the Algonquin hotel and its cottages.”


Nov 4/1915
Sir William Van Horne’s Recreations.
By Rev. A Wylie Mahon
Someone has said that we never know our great men till we see them at play, till we watch them throw off the vexing cares of business and allow themselves to be themselves. Now that Sir William Van Horne has gone from us, we like to think of him, not so much as phenomenally successful business man, who possessed, as few have done the Midas touch, who saw visions an dreamed dreams of Canada’s future greatness, and who did not a little to realize his own dreams; but we like to think of him as he revealed himself when far from the madding crowd he enjoyed his happy and beautiful home at Covenhoven, St. Andrews.
            Sir William discovered St. Andrews as a summer resort about twenty-five years ago. He was the pioneer of the interesting Montreal colony that followed his lead, that included Sir Thomas Shaughnessy, Mr. Charles R. Hosmer, Senator Robert, MacKay, Mr. William Hope, Mr. Donald MacMaster, Mr. Edward Maxwell and many others. Sir William was universally acknowledged as the beloved chief of the Montreal clan, and this distinction gave him a great deal of pleasure. Whenever a member of the Montreal clan built a summer home for himself in that charming resort Sir William showed his appreciation by painting a large picture, usually of a his favorite bare birches, which was placed over the mantel of the new home, and was treasured by the happy recipient as nothing else in the house was.


Dec 23/1916
The news of Senator’s Mackay’s death was received with feelings of very deep and sincere regret in St. Andrews., where his beautiful summer residence, Clibrig, is situated and where for many summers past he and his family had made their home, and had endeared themselves to the people of the Town. A Scotsman of the finest type, and one of the keenest and most successful business men that the Dominion possessed, Senator MacKay was a man of unassuming personality and of most kindly and benevolent disposition. He was deeply read and took special delight in the society of men of culture. His death will be sincerely mourned by a wide circle of friends who will extend to the bereaved family their most profound sympathy.


Hon. Robert MacKay
The Hon. Robert MacKay, a member of the Dominion Senate since January 21, 1901, and a director of the Bank of Montreal, the CPR and vice-president of the City and District Savings Bank, died at his residence, Kildonan Hall, 681 Sherbrooke street west, at three o’clock yesterday afternoon after a brief illness. He was in his 77th year.
            On June 14 last, Senator Mackay had a narrow escape from death when an electric car crashed into and ditched his motor car. he suffered serious injuries and for a time his life hung in the balance. he recovered, however, and apparently regained his old time health and vigor. Less than a week ago, he was taken ill and did not again leave the house.
            The funeral will take place from the family residence to Crescent street Presbyterian Church, of which the Senator was a member, at 2 pm tomorrow, thence to Mount Royal Cemetery.
            The Hon. Robert Mackay was born in Caithness, Scotland, On February 26, 1849, the son of Angus and Euphemia Mackay. In 1855 he came to Canada, and completed his education at the Phillips School, in Montreal.
            At an early age he entered business life in connexion with his uncles, Joseph and Edward Mackay, proprietors of an extensive wholesale dry goods house, then conducted under the firm name of Joseph Mackay and Brother. With the energy which characterized him throughout his life, he applied himself to the mastery of every detail of the business, and in 1867 he was admitted to a partnership.
            In 1875 Joseph and Edward Mackay, his uncles, withdrew from the business, and were succeeded by Robert Mackay and his two brothers, Hugh Mackay, a member of the legislative Council, and James MacKay, who continued during their lifetime in active association with the house, under the firm name of Mackay Brothers. James MacKay died in 1899, and Hugh MacKay in 1890. Robert Mackay then remained at the head of the business for three years, when, owing to the many calls upon his time, in connexion with the many enterprises he had become associated with, he retired, and the business was would up. During hits existence, the firm of Mackay Brothers was noted all over Canada for its high=standing and wealth, being considered easily one of the largest houses in the Dominion.
            After 1893, Mr. Mackay devoted his entire time to his private interest and investments and he became financially interested in many of the most important enterprises of the Dominion. Shrewd, cautious and resourceful, his counsel was a valuable asset to the different companies with which he was connected.
            He was a director of the Bank of Montreal, the CPR, the Montreal Light, heat and Power Company; the Dominion Textile Company; the Canada Paper Company; the Dominion Steel Corporation; the Royal Trust Company; the Dominion Transport Company, and of many other corporations. he was vice-president of the Bell; Telephone Company of Canada; the LAKE OF THE Woods Milling Company; the City and District Savings Bank; and the Shedden Forwarding Company; and the Paton manufacturing Company.
            Senator Mackay was president of Montreal Harbor Board from 1896 to 1907, and in that capacity his work was of signal service to the city and port. he formerly held the presidency of the Montreal Board of Trade, and of the St. Andrews Society of Montreal. He served for many years as vice-president of the Mackay Institute, which was founded by the Mackay family; and also was a Governor of the Montreal General Hospital, the Notre Dame Hospital and the Western Hospital.
            In politics, Mr. Mackay was a strong Liberal, and Sir Wilfred Laurier, who honored him with his personal friendship, had strong confidence in his judgement as a man of affairs. At the Dominion general elections of the 1896 he contested Montreal West for the House of Commons, but was unsuccessful. he contested the Same division against at the general elections of 1900, but with the same result. He was called to the Senate on January 21, 1901.
            In 1871, Mr. Mackay married Miss Baptist, of three Rivers, Quebec. Mrs. Mackay died about four years go. there are four sons and two daughters namely Angus Robert Mackay, mining engineer, of Arizona; George B. Mackay, merchant of Lethbridge, Alberta; Hugh Mackay, K. C., of Montreal; Edward MacKay, engineer of the Bell Telephone Company; Mrs. Robert Loring of London, England; and Mrs. Norman F. Wilson, of Rockland, Ontario.
            Senator Mackay was a member of the St. James Club, the Mount Royal Club, the Forest and Stream Club, the Montreal Hunt Club, the Reform Club, the Montreal Curling Club, the St. George’s Snowshoes Club, the Montreal Jockey Club, and the Rideau Club, on Ottawa. He was Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the Fifth Royal Highlanders, (since May 7, 12900) and had held office as vice-president of the Dominion and the Province of :Quebec Rifle Associations. –Montreal Star.


Oct. 10/1979
Van Horne painting donated to St. Andrews library. Orig. to senator Robert MacKay at Clibrig, 1906. Birches. Presented to library in 1978. Restored by Fred Ross.