Born in Orwell, Andrew Macphail was educated in Uigg School, entered Prince of Wales College at age fifteen; received his medical education at McGill in Montreal and editor of the McGill University magazine, where he graduated B.A. in 1888, and M.D., C.M. in 1891, later becoming their first professor of the history of medicine. Sir Andrew was founder and first editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Beginning in 1905 he published more than 10 books. At the age of 50 he enlisted, spending twenty months at the Front with a field ambulance corps in World War One. He considered his greatest honour being knighted by the King on New Year's Day, January 1, 1918; this was in recognition of both his military and literary contribution. He made Orwell both his family's summer sanctuary and a place to experiment in agriculture. His semi-autobiographical book The Master's Wife provides lasting insight into 19th century Island life. It was written in the 1920's, and first published in 1939. It is an excellent description of 19th century life on P.E.I., a very important social history of P.E.I.'s past. The "Master" was his father, William, the book about his family and the community they lived in, Orwell. Sir Andrew was a noted social critic, his writings reflecting his Scottish Protestant upraising in rural Orwell. Sir Andrew Macphail passed away on September 23, 1938.
Sir Andrew's birthplace is a memorial to his genius and diversity of interests. In visiting the 140-acre site you are offered a memorable experience. You may feel that Sir Andrew has just stepped out of his study. You can visit the stream where he bathed. Because he was ahead of his time in his concern for sustainable land and forest practices, you can share in his spirit by walking the nature trail, watching for birds, identifying trees and flowers, exploring the reforestation project or wildlife gardens designed to continue his environmental interests. Guided tours of the house and property with observations from The Master's Wife will also tell you about the pillar gates from McGill, the story behind the Wallace stone steps, and the church bell in the front yard.
Sir Andrew's memorial offers other services: extensive grounds for special events like family reunions or picnics; a large conference room in the former dining room; a tea room in the sun porch, with catering for groups on request; a gift shop and a library. The homestead is a short ride from Orwell Corner historic Village and the Trans Canada Highway.
Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead is a unique natural area that will appeal to our interest in the environment, in heritage, or in meeting a creative mind. Or, it can be just a quiet place to relax and enjoy nature.