The perfect setting for a romantic weekend getaway, Gatsby-inspired wedding or themed cocktail party to celebrate your retirement, The CAPE (formerly Ross-McCallum House) is a historic mansion in the heart of Prince Edward County that has been spectacularly revived by a celebrated architect.

Once a distinguished grand house, The CAPE (which stands for Culinary Arts of Prince Edward) boasts a storied past. Built in 1855 by Walter Ross, a County businessman and mayor of Picton, it was then sold to George McMullen, a Boston railroad entrepreneur who planned to make it his family home. McMullen worked for Scottish-Canadian shipping magnate Sir Hugh Allan and had come to the region anticipating a contract to build the Pacific Railway.

As the story goes, the railway contract was unfairly won by a donor to Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald’s political party. The “bribery” was duly discovered and became known as the “Pacific Scandal” that brought down the government in 1872.

A fashionable rebirth

Today, after 70 years as the Picton Legion and a devastating fire that left it badly damaged, the building has been lovingly given an elegant new life by architect Jonathan Kearns and his partner, Corrine Spiegel.

Set back off Picton’s Main Street, the deserving property has been reborn with four charmingly unique bedroom suites (The Elizabeth Taylor, The Richard Burton, The Cary Grant and The Audrey Hepburn), chic salons, a stunning ballroom and pretty garden. Ideally suited for memorable family weekend reunions, magical wedding ceremonies, special events and larger gatherings for 90 or 900, The CAPE is this year’s spot in which to see and be seen.

Simply picturesque

Within walking distance to the shops and restaurants of Picton, The CAPE is also on insiders’ lists of romantic country-side getaways and couple’s retreats (previously, County visitors had to clamour for bookings at the “almost always sold out” hot spot, the Drake Devonshire).

The CAPE’s guests are privileged to go to the front of the line for a delightful list of services offered by the nearby Merrill House: Wines selected and served by the resident sommelier, 24/7 top-notch food service and use of a private VR lounge. Arrangements can be made for a rendezvous with a local carriage company, professional musicians, restaurant reservations and visits to local artists’ studios and wineries. Who wouldn’t fall in love here?

Kearns and Spiegel are definitely a welcome addition to the local hospitality scene, and a couple we can expect to see more from over the next few years.

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