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William Alexander House Registered Heritage Structure

Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/12/02

Exterior photo, north and east facades of the William Alexander House, Bonavista, Newfoundland, in 1995.; HFNL 1995
William Alexander House, Bonavista, NL
William Alexander House, Bonavista, NL (Bridge House) in 1978.; Centre for Newfoundland Studies photo 12.03.006
William Alexander House, Bonavista, NL
Exterior view of William Alexander House (also known as Bridge House), Bonavista, NL, circa 2003.; www.bonavista.net
William Alexander House circa 2003.

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/11/02

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

William Alexander House is a two and a half storey wooden framed building, designed in the Georgian style by Alexander Strathie. Alexander House is located in Bonavista, Newfoundland.
This designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

William Alexander House is designated as a Registered Heritage Structure due to its historical, architectural and environmental values.

William Alexander House is historically valuable for its age and its association with William Alexander. William Alexander House was built between 1811 and 1814 and is the oldest residential structure in Newfoundland that has been assigned a date. In the early 19th century, William Alexander, a prominent Scottish merchant planter made his home in the flourishing fishing community of Bonavista. During his time in Bonavista he formed the firm of Alexander and Co. and contributed a great deal to the community of Bonavista. One of his most famous contributions was the funding of the Alexander Chapel of All Souls Mortuary Chapel.

William Alexander House is architecturally valuable for its uniqueness in the community of Bonavista. A two and a half storey, Georgian style house with a central hall plan, William Alexander House is the only house of this style in Bonavista. The house features a highly symmetrical, 3 bay front façade capped by peaked dormers on a steep gable roof with end chimneys. This house is the earliest house in Bonavista and defined the architectural character of the community.

William Alexander House is also architecturally valuable for its association with Alexander Strathie. In 1811, William Alexander commissioned his fellow Scottish countryman, builder and architect, Alexander Strathie to build him a house in Bonavista. Strathie came to Newfoundland from Renfrew, Scotland in 1811 and began construction on William Alexander House. Alexander House was the first building that Strathie built in Bonavista, but it would not be his last. Strathie stayed in Newfoundland after building Alexander House and his architectural legacy continued through the generations to his son Ronald Strathie and others. Strathie constructed many more buildings in Bonavista including a home for his family which eventually became known as “Renfrew Castle.”

William Alexander House is environmentally valuable for its location in Bonavista. Alexander House is located grandly on the harbour front in Bonavista and this location stands as a testament to the affluence and influence of William Alexander in the community of Bonavista.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador unnumbered property file: "Bonavista-William Alexander House", 1 Springdale Street, St. John's, NL.

Character-Defining Elements

-3 bay façade;
-peaked dormers;
-end chimneys;
-central hall plan;
-location in Bonavista;
-wooden construction;
-steep gable roof;
-window position.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Statute

Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

Alexander Strathie



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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