Maplewood Manor through time
The wealthy business man and Senator Asa Belknap Foster was born in the Ù.S. in 1817. Son of Dr. Stephen Sewell Foster and Mrs. Sally Belknap, they settled in Frost Village with their four children in 1822.
After almost 15 years living in the U.S. working for his uncle, A.B. Foster moved back to Quebec when he was 35. He then began to establish a network of railroads between the U.S. and several cities in the province of Quebec.
Between 1852 and 1872, he invested in several businesses which he helped administer and managed a bank. He also had, at his own personal cost, a train station and mechanic workshop built in Waterloo hoping to make it a hub for the railway industry in Quebec.
In 1860 he acquired the entire southern portion of the Waterloo village where he built crossroads, passable roads such as Foster Street, a park, an imposing hotel as well as several brick homes.
During this period he also helped build an important sawmill, he financed diverse religious communities to build churches and offered reasonable prices to anyone wishing to buy land in order to build homes, stores or shops.
Between 1857 and 1875 the population of Waterloo went from 200 to 2000.
The combination of his contribution to the development of the Waterloo region as well as the prestigious positions he occupied in both the political and business sectors rapidly made A.B. Foster one of the most visible figures in the area, known as ”The King of Canadian Railways”.
At the peak of his popularity in 1860 is when he decided to undertake the building of his luxurious residence at the top of a maple tree covered hill, looking over the accomplishments he helped so much achieve.
For this project, the services of well-known architect John William Hopkins were retained. He was one of the most popular architects of the time in Montreal. Construction began in 1864 and ended in the fall of 1865.
Asa Belknap Foster died prematurely on November 1st 1877
Following his death and several financial issues, the majestic Waterloo residence was sold for a symbolic amount to the religious congregation of Saints-Noms-de-Jésus-et-de-Marie in 1882.
Until 1961 the Maplewood Convent brought rigorous and religious education to several young women from its surroundings as well as certain families from the U.S. bourgeoisie.
Following the 1960 reform in education the vocation of the site changed to a resort of sorts and used as a retreat and for convalescence for its congregation.
In 1989, the religious population decline lead the Congregation to dispose of the old Maplewood Convent.
Forever anchored in the memory of many patrons of the convent is the influence of Sœur-Louis-De-Sainte-Marie (Mariette Dubreuil). She devoted her entire career to teaching painting and passed in 2010 at the age of 101 years old.
Between 1989 and 2012 two owners succeeded each other and the manor was left abandoned and its condition degraded considerably until its current owners purchased it in July of 2012.
After more than 2 years of restoration, performed passionately and with love, this jewel of Canadian heritage was given a new breath of life permitting to showcase the historic values, stories and people which it contains. It is with great pleasure that we are now opening the doors of our magnificent residence to you.
Cross the threshold of Maplewood Manor is to recognize an exceptional place