Constructed in 1897 for Thomas Wheelock, Kingsbrae Arms is a notable building on King Street in St. Andrews, characterized by its steep gable roofs and asymmetrical design. The property is further distinguished by its expansive garden overlooking the Bay of Fundy. Kingsbrae Arms is just one of several buildings erected for affluent summer visitors who were drawn to St. Andrews at the dawn of the 20th century.
Kingsbrae Arms is also renowned for its connection to Florence Ayscough, Thomas Wheelock’s daughter. Wheelock had been a successful merchant in Shanghai, China, where he owned a fleet of cargo boats that transported goods to and from large foreign ships at the Yangtze River’s mouth. His daughter inherited the home and lived in Shanghai with her husband, where she became a world-renowned expert on Chinese culture and traditions.
Florence Ayscough and poet Amy Lowell collaborated to produce accurate translations of Chinese poetry that captured its essence and spirit for American audiences. Through their joint efforts, Chinese poetry, mythology, and history inspired creative writers in the Western world. Ayscough authored numerous books on Chinese topics, most notably “Firecracker Land – Pictures of the Chinese World for Younger Readers” (1932). She also introduced Chinese servants to St. Andrews. Ayscough bequeathed the St. Andrews Tea House to the town and left Chinese porcelain, screens, tables, jade vases, and other artifacts from her home to the Charlotte County Historical Society.
Kingsbrae Arms earned the distinction of being Canada’s first 5-star hotel. In 2004, Fodor’s Travel Publications, a leading American travel information provider, ranked it among the world’s top 20 hotels. Today, Kingsbrae Arms operates as a luxury boutique inn.
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