The Drummond Foundation and Gad’s Hill at Cacouna

In 1871, Sir George Alexander Drummond built his country home Gad’s Hill in Cacouna, near Rivière-du-Loup, Québec. The construction of the villa was the beginning of a longstanding relationship between the Drummond family and the Municipality of Cacouna.

Cacouna is known as a “picturesque village steeped in history by the St. Lawrence River,” a true summer paradise. For almost a century, the Drummond family enjoyed the stunning beauty of Cacouna over summers spent at Gad’s Hill. Through the Drummond Foundation, members of the Drummond family have continued to support the Cacouna community through initiatives to preserve and promote local history.

Gad’s Hill c. 1900 Photo courtesy Corporation de développement de Cacouna

Gad’s Hill:

Nestled along the shores of the St. Lawrence River, Sir George Drummond’s summer home, Gad’s Hill, was built in the Picturesque architectural style, complete with Gothic Revival pointed dormers. The name of the house itself was a play on words, being both a play on George Alexander Drummond’s initials (G.A.D.) and a reference to the then well-known residence of author Charles Dickens’ house located in Kent, England known as Gad’s Hill Place. One of the first large summer homes to be constructed in the western area of Cacouna, it featured a wide, decorative veranda that spoke to the relationship of the house to nature, to fresh air and to the landscape. Unfortunately, the house suffered a very damaging fire in the 1990s. The basic design elements of the house currently standing on this site are deeply inspired by the original 1871 building.

Between 2020 and 2022, to preserve the history associated with the site of Gad’s Hill, the Drummond Foundation supported the research, design and installation of a Historic Plaque. The Foundation supplied research, texts and images to the Corporation de développement de Cacouna. Under the excellent management of Lynda Dionne and Georges Pelletier, the Plaque was installed in 2022 to commemorate the rich history of the villa and its surroundings.

Yann-Maurice Drummond McNiven with the historic plaque at Gad’s Hill, 2022.
Photo credit: The Drummond Foundation.

Saint James the Apostle Church

In 2017, when the Saint James the Apostle Church held an appeal to replace the church’s roof the Drummond Foundation – recognizing the importance of this listed church to the community – was happy to contribute to a renovation project that protects the longevity of Cacouna’s built heritage Designed by architect Edward Staveley, Saint James the Apostle was built in 1865 and enlarged in 1885 to include a taller steeple and decorative ironwork, this historic church holds an enduring legacy for the local community and continues to play a vital role within it. Lady (Julia) Drummond, née Parker, was a young widow at the time of her marriage to the recently widowed Sir George Drummond in 1884 and had strong roots in the Cacouna community. Her first husband, the Reverend George Hamilton, was a member of the prominent Hamilton family, long-time Cacouna summer residents, a number of whom served in the Anglican priesthood, including as vicars of Saint James the Apostle.

Saint James the Apostle Church with roof renovations completed 2020.
 Photo credit: Conseil du patrimoine religieux du Québec

The Drummond Foundation is proud to have supported both of these projects that enrich the Cacouna community by helping to make the late 19th century and 20th century history of the Bas St. Laurent more accessible to its residents and visitors alike.