You are here

The Hillsdale House

The Hillsdale House

The 25 room Italiante mansion known as the Hillsdale House was built in 1859 for Susan Forbes Foster on land that had been the exercising ground for the garrison.

Miss Foster, a savvy business minded woman, operated the Hillsdale House as a first rate Inn. She named it Hillsdale for as she said "it had a dale to the front of it and a dale to the back of it". A dale is another word for a broad valley.

The property included a carriage house, a large barn with a glassed-in henhouse and piggery, and icehouse nearby, an orchard and 12 acres of land.

The Hillsdale Inn became a popular resort for well-to-do guests who enjoyed taking in the countryside, the river and mountains nearby, while resting in the lavish gardens under large spruce trees. A tennis court to the side of the home also attracted those in search of fun and wholesome activities.

Some illustrious guests such as Prince George of Whales (later King George V), Governors General Lord Lansdowne and Lord Tweedsmuir and the Right Honourable W. L. Mackenzie King, prime minister of Canada frequented the Inn.

In 1872, Miss Foster married widower Edwin Ryerson in the double parlour of the house. By request of the bride, Mr. Ryerson signed an elaborate pre-nuptial agreement in which it was stated that Susan Foster would retain complete control over her property.

In 1875 Susan’s sister Fanny had a larger and more elaborately decorated mansion built across the street, perhaps to rival her sister’s Hillsdale House. The property would become known as the Queen Hotel (now Queen Anne Inn) and would also operate as a first class inn.

When Mrs. Foster-Ryerson was getting on in her years she asked her friends, Mr. and Mrs Cyrus Perkins to purchase the Inn.

Upon Susan's death in 1895 the Perkins family gained possession of the Hillsdale House. The family would retain ownership of the Inn for two generations to come.

In the later half of the twentieth century Mr. Lesley Langille, and active heritage enthusiast, owned and operated the inn for a number of years. I

n May 2005, Paul and Val Patterson, the current owners, purchased the property from David and Heather Stairs.

Today, the Hillsdale House, set in the Historic District of Annapolis Royal, features 13 guests rooms complete with modern amenities. The property still maintains well manicured lawns and numerous gardens. The inn keepers private office on the first floor of the house features painted walls that may date back to the 1865 construction of the home. The artist is unknown. The paintings, which are still partially covered, were discovered in the 1990s under many layers of wallpaper by the former owner Leslie Langille. The two exposed panels depict central frames flanked by painted columns. One panel features a decorative urn filled with fruit and flowers, the other frames a free-hand Victorian design. The Patterson's wish to uncover the remaining walls but they do not want to damage the painted surfaces beneath.

Annapolis Royal


Property Type:

Herititage Designation:

Reason(s) for Designation: 

Hillsdale House is valued for its Italianate style and for its history as an inn, hosting notable guests such as King George V and Prime Minister King. Provincial Heritage designation was awared on June 14th 1991.



Open in season, April to November. For reservations: 1-877-839-2821 or

Full Address: 
519 St. George Street Annapolis Royal Nova Scotia B0S 1A0
Geographic Location: 

Latitude: 44.7407 Longitude: -65.5107

Construction Details: 
Construction Date: ??-??-1859 Builder Name:
Current Owner: 
Paul and Val Patterson