By Sandra Kielback
Architect, artist and a lover of the county, Brian Clark shares what living in this area means to him and the journey his life has taken him on.
Originally from Streetsville, ON., Clark is an architect currently living in Picton. He runs an architecture firm and art gallery out of his renovated barn turned muti-use space.
Clark graduated from the University of Waterloo in architecture in 1975.
“I was always interested in building and drawing,” said Clark when asked why he went into architecture. “Even though you don’t do much drawing anymore.”
Clark is currently working on many projects in the Picton area including a 30-unit mixed-use building and the second phase of Hillier Blacksmith Bar and Cider Mill Restaurant. This consists of a new tavern and gourmet restaurant.
Clark and his wife, Anne House, both love living in Prince Edward County, where they moved, in 1986 after living in the Greater Toronto Area.
They both fell in love with the area while visiting a friend’s cottage for Thanksgiving one year. Three months later, they bought a house and Clark moved here part time, three days on – four days off. This way, he could continue working at his successful architecture firm in downtown Toronto. After two months, he found this way of life too difficult so he dissolved his practice in Toronto and moved full-time with his wife in Picton.
The couple moved to the old century farm, where they currently live, in 1996 after having their son, Fraser. They started a bed and breakfast in the old home. Soon after moving into the home they began to renovate the barn, and after 10 years of running the bed and breakfast, they moved into the barn full time.
The barn is separated into three sections, living area, studio and art gallery.
The family owns 25 acres of previously overused farmland where they have planted lots of trees and have an organic vegetable and flower garden. They also use the land as a place for their horse, two dogs and cat to run.
Since 1990, the couple has run the Mad Dog Gallery, which has been in two different locations since opening. It is currently in a portion of their home.
Both Clark and House are featured in the gallery, Clark with his paintings and House with colourful hand-sewn quilts.
“I just love my work. It’s never boring. Every day is different.”
Since 1969, Clark has worked on many projects around the world including an award winning Northern Settlement about 113 kilometers. from Magnetic North. This settlement was used to accommodate 240 Polaris Zink miners. Since coming to the Prince Edward County he has worked on roughly 300 projects.
“The next project is always the favorite. That’s what keeps you going.” says Clark.
Clark loves working in this area for a couple main reasons, one, he says the people at the Prince Edward County building department are awesome and two because he knows everyone.
Clark say that the one thing he does not enjoy creating is houses because they take up so much of his time. He does enjoy creating wineries, and muti-unit mixed use buildings.