Macmillan - Cameron House, Inverness

by Ned MacDonald

Macmillan - Cameron House, InvernessThis majestic and unique building stands overlooking 'MacIsaac Pond' and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The building was originally planned by Sam Whiston, the local druggist who had plans to make it into a 'Gentlemens Club.' Construction started around 1908 and it was soon realized that the building was to prove a costly enterprise for Mr. Whishton. By 1912, the building was purchased by Dr. Charles Edward MacMillan, a physician who owned and operated the Imperial Drug Store as well as serving the medical needs of the community. Until his death in 1923 Dr. MacMillan and his family maintained the building as a family dwelling and doctor's office.

After 1923, his widow operated the building as an Inn, namely, the Seaview Inn. With the death of Mrs. MacMillan, Mrs. Mae Cameron, a daughter of Dr. MacMillan managed the property for her sister Mrs. Jean MacMillan Glencross of Ontario. Presently the house is owned by Doug and Betty Cameron who are now in the process of restoring the building to its original state.

The building is in excellent condition, lavish in decoration, and consists of three fire places on the ground floor. Ornamental tiling around the fireplace is impressive. Much of the interior door design is from cypress imported wood. Using a blend of Queen Anne Revival and late Victorian architecture, the interior is lavishly designed. This decorative approach diminished after World War I since costs rose sharply and there were too few labourers to allow indulgence in extravaganzas of form and decoration.

Not only is the house of architectural value but is of historical significance in that two of Canada's Prime Ministers, namely, Sir Robert Bordon and R.B. Bennett were treated to the hospitality of the Macmillan family. The register guest list also accounts for many other distinguished guests. Some of our earliest radio shows highlighting local talent originated in the MacMillan home. This is a house with both a unique architecture and history.