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Joe and Nora MacDonald Home

64 Pleasant Street, Cardigan, Prince Edward Island, C0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2009/02/02

Showing south elevation; Donna Collings, 2007
Showing south elevation
Showing east elevation; Donna Collings, 2007
Showing east elevation
Archive image of house, c. 1900; Private Collection, Joe and Nora MacDonald
Archive image of house, c. 1900

Other Name(s)

Former James E. MacDonald House
Joe and Nora MacDonald Home

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/03/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

This Queen Anne Revival style house is located on spacious grounds in the Village of Cardigan. It retains many original elements including an asymmetrical roofline, stacked bays, beltcourses, and alternating shingle patterns.

Heritage Value

The home is valued for its fine Queen Anne Revival architectural details and for its historical association with James E. MacDonald.

James Emanuel MacDonald (1842-1903), the son of Angus MacDonald, was born and educated in Georgetown. In 1864, he moved to Cardigan and began working in the merchant business with Hugh Lord MacDonald. By 1876, he established his own mercantile business in the village, exported Island produce, and also began shipbuilding. He was married to Georgina Stephens of Orwell Cove in 1877.

His success as a shipbuilder was apparent in 1873, when he launched the three masted 492 ton barque, The Assyrian. This was one of the largest vessels ever to be constructed in Cardigan. During his life, MacDonald's shipbuilding business would launch 23 ships.

James E. MacDonald also began his thirty year political career in 1873, being elected that year as a Conservative to the provincial assembly. He occupied the 3rd Kings seat once held by Augustine Colin Macdonald, who became an MP in the House of Commons. James continued to represent the district until his brief retirement in 1882. He was back in the provincial assembly in 1890 and for a year was a member of the Executive Council as Commissioner of Public Works. He died in office in 1903.

In 1894, he completed work on his substantial Queen Anne style residence in Cardigan. It represents the popular style of the time and the personal success of MacDonald as a businessman and politician. After his death, Georgina continued to reside here until her death in 1929. The property then passed to her sister, Catherine MacDonald, the wife of John Angus MacDonald who was then operating the mercantile store which had been established by James. Upon her death in 1941, her son Gerald inherited it. He was involved in fox farming and also served as the postmaster for Cardigan from 1918 to 1964. Today, the well preserved home remains in the MacDonald family.

Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/TR25

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of the house is shown in the following character-defining elements:

- the two-and-one-half storey massing
- the Island sandstone foundation
- the wood frame construction and wood shingle cladding (with fish scale shingles in the gables)
- the asymmetrical gable roofline
- the brick chimneys
- the beltcourses, some with bracketted cornice
- the stacked bay windows, one with canted bays and a bracketted tower roof and the other cantilevered with a gable roof
- the original fenestration with some vinyl replacement windows
- the shed roofed porch on the side elevation



Prince Edward Island

Recognition Authority

Province of Prince Edward Island

Recognition Statute

Heritage Places Protection Act

Recognition Type

Registered Historic Place

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8 File #: 4310-20/TR25

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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