New graduate will leave her mark on Province House

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Jenna MacNeill holds up a kazoo found inside the walls of Province House

Creating jobs for Islanders -

Jenna MacNeill found her dream job through the Graduate Mentorship Program.

After graduating from Holland College's Heritage Retrofit Carpentry program last spring, the 26-year-old Cornwall resident was hired the following week to work on the large and prestigious task of renovating historic Province House in Charlottetown.

" I love it -- it's really a dream come true,” she said. “ I never thought anything like this would happen."

The Graduate Mentorship Program provides new graduates with real-world opportunities to develop new skills and gain work experience in their chosen field. For employers, it offers wage subsidies that help them hire and train new employees, as well as create long-term positions. 

MacNeill is documenting and photographing hundreds of pieces of old wooden infrastructure such as window frames, archways, and baseboards.

"Everything that comes off will be documented and put back,” she said. "Some stuff is in good enough shape to be restored, some stuff has to be rebuilt.”

The team at Province House is also digging rock floors out of the basement to lift the historic portico by two feet, so the building is safe and sound for the visitors and legislators who will pour through its doors when the renovations are complete.

Along the way they've found some interesting artifacts hidden in the walls: a kazoo, antique pudding tins, rum bottles, eyeglasses, and a floral cross - which they gave to the PEI Public Archives to examine.

The restoration team plans to leave a new time capsule in the building for future generations to discover.


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