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Our Story

Our History

Colonel John Bain Maclean, the founder of Maclean's magazine, The Financial Post and Maclean-Hunter publishers, was born and raised in the small village of Crieff, Ontario, where his father was the minister at Knox Presbyterian Church. After establishing a successful career in Toronto, he returned to Crieff in 1916 to visit and found the churchyard in disrepair. He then led efforts to restore both the grounds and the cemetery with the help of the Olmstead Brothers landscape architectural firm.

In recognition of his service, the church gave Col. Maclean the old manse and an acre of land, which became his country home. He bought adjacent farmland (300 acres) and created an industrious farm with a dairy herd, pigs, grain fields, orchards and about 100 acres of reforested land.  His estate, known as Crieff Hills Farm, was famous for its beautiful landscape and gardens.

When Col. Maclean died in 1950 he left 250 acres of the farm and its buildings to the Presbyterian Church in Canada, along with money invested to maintain the properties “...as a model and example to other communities." In the mid 1970’s the denomination began to develop the land as a retreat facility, gradually adding buildings as demand increased.

Today, Crieff Hills is open all year long, welcoming individuals and groups of up to a hundred people. This quiet place has an important mission in today’s busy world, providing a warm welcome and an opportunity for people from all walks of life to connect with the Divine and find renewal.

Beliefs & Spirituality

People of all faiths and traditions are welcome at Crieff Hills. We want everyone to find rest and renewal in God’s creation and do our best to be respectful and accommodating.

We are rooted in the reformed tradition and are a ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. You can read about what that means in detail here (https://presbyterian.ca/about/more/).

Governance

Crieff Hills is owned and operated by the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Each year the General Assembly (a national gathering of ministers and elders from the denomination) appoints members to the Maclean Estate Committee. That committee meets five times a year and is responsible for hiring the Director, establishing annual budgets and developing effective policy. If you would like to serve, please send a brief email indicating your interest (info@crieffhills.com). Especially welcome are volunteers with experience in the trades, accounting, law and policy.