Old St. Andrews



Adaline Van Horne



Sir William left his Minister's Island estate to his daughter Adaline. Adaline was very much a girl after Sir Wiliam's own heart - she loved the Island, art and farming. In 1926 Addie secured complete possession of the Island, picking up the remaining 100 acres from Edwin Andrews. She returned to the Island every summer, along with her mother, and would often be joined there by Benny, his wife Edith and son Billy.

The general consensus is that Addie was an affable and easy going persons, kind-hearted and generous. She had a sense of humour. There were always visitors touring the Island, and on rainy days they would lower their heads as they passed under the porte-cochère so as to avoid having water drip on their faces. "The townspeople are so polite," Addie remarked to her gardener Bill Clarke on one such occasion. "They always bow their heads when they pass by." Her brother Richard produced a comical portrait of Addie in a little illustrated series of fantastical misadventures titled "The Covenhoven Follies of 1919," featuring Addie and her Model-T Ford. In this rather droll production, Addie is referred to as "Cherub," an affectionate dig at her genial good nature, and comes under the ironic gaze of her somewhat cynical younger brother. After Addie, in an access of frugality, decides on a cheap Model-T instead of something more fitting to her station, like a Bentley or Rolls, she custom orders an especially large door for the vehicle so she can get in and out with greater ease. After she leaves, the salesman calls the mechanic aside and tells him to throw in an extra leaf spring or two, for good measure. On another occasion Addie and her reluctant driver, old Fred Dreyer, find themselves submerged on the bar, with just enough car showing for an annoyed Addie to stick her head out the vehicle window. "When I seen the bar and how close it was," protests Dreyer from his perch on the roof, "I just remembered that we could get home for your lunch time. So I says to myself, remembering how much you thought of your meals, we'll have to chance it and get Miss Addie home to her lunch at any cost." Since Benny produced this booklet as gifts for friends and family, Addie would have been well aware of these digs and must have been understood to be of sufficiently good nature to take them in the proper spirit.

Addie was also a conscientious summer citizen and did many good works for the town. In 1907 summer resident Donald MacMaster presented the schools of St. Andrews with a British flag, a ceremony at which Addie was present. She had a care for her nephew, Billy, who was a Boy Scout. In 1922 she presented the local Troop with a new Club House on Prince of Wales street. The ceremony included a letter from Sir Robert Baden-Powell, which was hung on the Club House walls. In 1930 she added to this gift a new gymnasium next door. Lady Willingdon, wife of Governor-General Willingdon, attended the ceremony and presented Addie with an honorary medal of merit in recognition of her services to the Scouts. The gymnasium is still used by the Scouts but is now formally the property of Vincent Massey School. Addie loved cattle, and in August of 1930 she hosted the annual Ayrshire Cattle Breeders Day. Representatives of the Association came from Ottawa and around the Maritimes. The Scouts themselves were present in large numbers and a striking panoramic photo was taken of the event in front of the ice-house. Miss Addie stands dead-center in the picture with characteristic but misleading dourness of expression. She donated the judging prizes, and her own fine stock of cattle were used for the purpose. "Not the least enjoyable feature of the day," remarked the local newspaper, "was the inspection of the beautiful grounds of Covenhoven, the modern improvements of the estate and the fine livestock with which it is equipped and which has won many prizes." Even at this event, Addie's kindness and good nature showed through. John Gibson's sister Phyllis won one of the judging events, but declined the prize as she had entered the contest only as a dare and had no interest in cattle or cattle-related prizes. Miss Addie gave her a huge basket of Covenhoven grapes instead and re-assigned the original prize to someone else. When Addie sent the photograph of this event to her nephew Billy in Toronto, he replied: "I received the pictures of your 'cow picnic' and I must say you look very dainty with the broad grin on your face, in the centre of all the bovine celebrities. How many of the children got sick on the barrels of candy? I hope you did not indulge yourself too much." As under Sir William, Minister's Island remained a groomed and manicured estate with doors open to summer visitors. In 1923 a Colonel Heasley featured a visit to it and St. Andrews in his home silent movie, now in the Provincial Archives. A large and cheerful Addie in a print dress comes out to meet the visitors and, accompanied by her nurse, a slim and frail-looking Mrs. Van Horne is brought out to sit on the veranda in her rocking chair. The day is gusty and sunny. The windmill is spinning at a great rate, and the grounds look lush. There is the Bar Road crossing, and there is Addie's famous Model-T.