Efforts to Save Al Purdy’s Home

Emily Jackson at Toronto Star on the effort to save the A-frame:

Made of salvaged lumber in 1957, the house that beloved Canadian poet Al Purdy built sits on the bank of a rural Ontario lake, its future as insecure as its rickety footings.

For more than 40 years Purdy and his wife Eurithe welcomed writers, both aspiring and accomplished, to converse, to debate, to argue about poetry at the A-frame house nestled in the Prince Edward County hamlet of Ameliasburgh (Purdy forgoes the ‘h’ in his writings of the place).

She offered sandwiches; he served whisky.

Yet the fight to buy and preserve the storied home as a writer’s retreat has stalled along with the economy, said Jean Baird, Vancouver-based publishing consultant and many-time houseguest.

The house is a literature landmark and should be protected as a cultural resource, argue Baird and scores of other Canadian greats, including Margaret Atwood, George Bowering, Yann Martel and Michael Ondaatje in a joint letter.

Unless the house is sold to the Association set up to protect it, Baird fears the land will be bought as a development property and the house demolished to make room for one of the new, more luxurious homes that now dot Ontario’s cottage country.

“It’s a wonky little building, but I can’t imagine the Americans would let Walden Pond (philosopher Henry David Thoreau’s property) be torn down because it needs electricity upgrades,” Baird said.

View the complete article here.