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646, Paisley Road, City of Guelph, Ontario, N1K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2000/09/05

Maxwelton, situated on a 4-acre lot overlooking urban development.; Mary Tivy, 2008.
Facade, Maxwelton, 2008
Featured is the bay window and carved stone window mouldings.; Mary Tivy, 2008.
North Elevation, Maxwelton, 2008
Featured are the roof brackets, French windows and front entrance.; Mary Tivy, 2008.
Facade, Maxwelton, 2008

Other Name(s)

646 Paisley Road
Elm Park Farm
Elmpark Bed and Breakfast

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/09/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Maxwelton is located at 646 Paisley Road, on the south side of Paisley Road, immediately west of the Hanlon Expressway and east of Fisher Drive, in the City of Guelph. The two-storey limestone villa is on a four-acre property.

The property was designated, by the City of Guelph, in 2000, for its heritage value, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, By-law 2000-16420.

Heritage Value

The original 100 acre estate of Maxwelton has been reduced to four acres, due to highway expropriation and urban development. On a rise overlooking these developments, Maxwelton's grandeur, reflects the history of Guelph, noted for its limestone architecture and livestock-breeding history.

Maxwelton is associated with two prominent Guelph residents. Thomas Sandilands had the house built in circa 1848, and added a major addition in 1860. A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Sandilands was a successful merchant in Guelph. He was the manager of Guelph's first bank, the Gore Bank, and established Guelph's first lending library.

Maxwelton is also associated with local livestock breeder James Bowman, one of the most prominent livestock breeders in North America. Bowman purchased the property, in 1895, and renamed it Elm Park Farm. It was here that he bred Aberdeen Angus cattle and Suffolk sheep. Bowman was also director of the Canadian National Exhibition and Director of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and the Guelph Provincial Winter Fair. He was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1962.

Maxwelton is an outstanding example of a limestone villa of Italianate design. The building features elements of Italianate architectural design including a gable roof with projecting centrepiece, elaborate stonework, twin-flue stone chimneys and bracketed eaves. Decorative exterior features include semi-circular window heads embellished with carved stone mouldings and an unusual bay window. The large 1860 addition re-oriented the main facade of the house from north to west. The front veranda was added in 1910, but maintains the Italianate design of the original structure. The interior of the building retains a wide centre hall and staircase and decorative ceiling mouldings in many of the main rooms and halls.

Sources: City of Guelph By-law 2000-16420; www.cahfa.com; Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Association, 2008.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of Maxwelton include its:
- two-storey exterior limestone walls
- projecting frontispiece
- original window and door openings on the exterior walls, including the bay window on the north elevation
- stone window and door surrounds
- main entrance including the transom and sidelights
- gable roofline
- twin flue stone chimneys
- wood brackets and eaves
- front veranda
- interior main staircase and decorative ceiling mouldings
- original location overlooking the site of a former livestock-breeding estate




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1860/01/01 to 1860/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn



Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Guelph Community Design and Development Services 1 Carden Street Guelph, ON N1H3A1

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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