Heirloom stained-glass window finds new home in Yellowknife

Janet Pacey says she's a lot like her late dad. 

As a graphic designer and business owner, Pacey mimics how her dad wanted to figure out everything on his own. For him, creating stained glass was one of those things.

Now, one half of a historic piece made for a church near his family farm in Milberta, Ont., is in Pacey's home in Yellowknife, set to complete a gallery wall full of family photos and memories.

"The sun streams in there in the morning," Pacey said, referring to the current window on that wall. "It'll just be gorgeous to be able to walk out of our room and be able to go, 'Aw, look at that.' It's amazing."

Keeping it in the family

In 1997, Allan Pacey designed and created two mirrored-image, stained-glass windows to commemorate his late mother.

"It's got the most beautiful glass in it," Pacey said. "And it reminds me of ... Monet's garden scenes with the lily pads and that sort of thing."

Submitted by Andrew Pacey

There was a spot for them near the doors of the Milberta United Church in eastern Ontario.

Pacey remembers watching her dad design the windows after modifying a pattern he'd found in a book. He then drew the design himself, scoured over which glass he'd use for each piece of the windows, hand cut each piece, and then ground, taped and soldered it all together.

"He was quite proud of it," Pacey said.  

But five years ago, not long after Allan died, Pacey and her four older siblings found out the United church was being torn down. 

"We wondered, 'What's going to happen to these windows? We don't want them to just be sold off. We'd like them to come back to the family,'" Pacey said. 

Pacey says she spent years trying to make that happen, but didn't have any luck. Then, one of her cousins was in the Milberta area and decided to stop by and check in on the windows. 

"And they gave them to him," Pacey said. 

After that, the Pacey family wasn't sure exactly what they wanted to do with the windows. They considered donating them to another church their father attended, but then Pacey piped up and said, "I would really like one."

And just like that, with the other window going to Pacey's sister in High River, Alta., their father's windows had new homes.

Submitted by Andrew Pacey

Pacey says it took her about 20 minutes to open the package when it arrived in Yellowknife via Canada Post; it was packed tight with tape and cardboard. But then, there it was: the window with the right-facing dove, now framed in oak by that same cousin that helped get the windows in the first place.

"It's a bit more special," Pacey said, referring to when she saw it again for the first time.

"It's quite nice to have it in my home now."

Submitted by Andrew Pacey