You are here
The Sinclair Inn
The Sinclair Inn
Situated in the heart of Annapolis Royal (formerly Port Royal) The Sinclair Inn may very well be one of the most significant heritage establishments in the town's Nationally designated historic district.
The Inn survives today as one of the very few examples of French regime Acadian construction. It is also the second oldest wood frame structure in Canada.
The near 300 year old Inn is comprised of two buildings, the Soullard House, built in 1710 by silversmith Jean Baptiste Soullard, and the Skene House, built for William Skene also in 1710. When Frederick and Mary Sinclair purchased the properties in June 1781, they joined the houses together to create what we know today as The Sinclair Inn.
In its early years, The Sinclair Inn became an important centre of activity, not only as a tavern and a place to rent a bed, but also as the location of court-ordered property auctions carried out by the High Sheriff of Annapolis County. This activity would continue well into the early 1800s. The building also served as the home of the first Masonic Lodge in Canada in 1738.
The Sinclair family continued to own and operate the hotel until 1814. From then on the Inn would pass through the hands of multiple owners. Although the name of the Inn would change several times, it would remain a hotel until 1956. At this time the building was used as a business complex for small retail operations. At one point its walls housed the Foster Stevenson's taxi business. Unfortunately the building was not well maintained and as such, the Sinclair Inn began its long period of deterioration which would continue until Heritage Canada intervened to stabilized the edifice in the early 1980s.
In 1984 the Annapolis Heritage Society took over the building. In the mid 1990's federal funding was granted in order to further stabilize the building and allow for its restoration. To date, the exterior has been restored as well as much of the first floor. The second and third floors remain in a state of decay and are not accessible to the general public.
I was granted special permission to view the partially uncovered painted surface on the second floor. The mural was discovered under multiple layers of wallpaper in the right front room of the second floor. The portion that is uncovered depicts a landscape scene in which a large stone arch, a small house, a lake and mountains can be identified. The Annapolis Heritage Society has decided to wait for professional assistance before removing any additional wallpaper. It is speculated that the entire room may be painted in this manner.
The Sinclair Inn is a National Historic Site (Designated by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 1995) within a National Historic District. It is the earliest surviving example of an Acadian building in Canada. It is the second oldest wooden structure building in the country.
Latitude: 44.7446 Longitude: -65.5194