Description of Historic Place
Dundas Terrace is a Queen Anne Revival style, wood framed, triple tenement located on the corner of Water Street and Haviland Street. The building overlooks the Charlottetown harbour and is in an area with a high concentration of large, heritage homes. The estate of Owen Connolly had the impressive building constructed in 1889 for use as a rental property. Dundas Terrace was recognized as a National Historic Site in 1990. The designation encompasses the building’s exterior and parcel; it does not include the building’s interior.
The heritage value of Dundas Terrace lies in its Queen Anne Revival style architecture, its association with the estate of merchant, Owen Connolly (1820-1887) and its importance in supporting the Water Street streetscape.
Owen Connolly was one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the late 1800s. His varied business interests left him a very wealthy man. Connolly was born in Ireland in 1820 but immigrated to Prince Edward Island in 1839, where he worked for the Smallwood Family as a farm laborer. Connolly eventually bought a farm of his own and soon after, opened a country store. His businesses multiplied and diversified making him one of the most successful businessmen in Prince Edward Island.
The Owen Connolly Estate executors were instructed to devote the remainder of Connolly’s estate “for the purpose of educating or assisting poor children, resident in Prince Edward Island, who are Irish, or the sons of Irish fathers...” The Estate was worth approximately 250 000 dollars. The Connolly Estate was involved in a number of investments including the construction and rental of buildings to provide continuing funding so that the Estate could carry on its charitable efforts. They have been very successful, as the Estate continues to offer awards each year.
The Connolly Estate commissioned prominent local architect, William Critchlow Harris, to design Dundas Terrace. Unfortunately, there is some confusion as to who built the impressive structure. Records have survived showing tender bids were received from H. and S. Lowe, John Fennel and William Harper, however a hand written contract does exist stating that the work was to be done by H and S Lowe.
Dundas Terrace was built in the Queen Anne Revival style, a style that was somewhat subdued in Charlottetown compared to other provinces. The Queen Anne Revival style was popular in the late Victorian era. Richard N. Shaw (1831-1912), a British architect, created the style that incorporated some of the classical motifs popular during Queen Anne’s reign (1702-1714). Some distinctive features of the style include, very large asymmetrical designs, a variety of rooflines and complex detailing, all of which have been incorporated into the design of Dundas Terrace. The building is a rare example of a Queen Anne Revival style apartment building constructed of wood and was recognized for its uniqueness in 1990 by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. The beautiful Queen Anne Revival inspired tenement has been extremely well maintained and its interesting cladding, which includes board and batten, shiplap and clapboard, have been restored.
The impressive building was originally named Dundas Terrace after Dundas Esplanade, a popular promenade that stretched along the breakwater to the west. It was also a fashionable building area of the 1870s with many large homes erected by the City’s more affluent citizens. The name Dundas came from the popular Lieutenant Governor, Hon. George Dundas (1819-1880). Dundas Terrace has more recently been named Dundas Esplanade in honour of the neighborhood and the promenade.
Some of the building’s more prominent tenants, according to McAlpine’s Prince Edward Island Directory, included the Father of Confederation, Senator and Lieutenant Governor, Hon. A.A. Macdonald (1829-1912), as well as druggist and composer of the music to Lucy Maud Montgomery’s “Island Hymn”, Lawrence W. Watson (1860-1925).
A huge presence on the west end of Water Street, the building is a very impressive sight. Built on the waterfront, Dundas Terrace is privy to a spectacular view of the Charlottetown harbour. Dundas Terrace is vital to the Water Street streetscape and an important part, not only of Charlottetown’s built heritage, but also the nation’s.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Queen Anne Revival inspired character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of Dundas Terrace:
- The overall massing of the asymmetrical building
- The placement and style of the windows, including the grouped and paired windows, as well as the small windows close to the roofline
- The style and placement of the doors, particularly the doors of the facade
- The porches of the first floor with their decorative arched detail, balustrades and cornices
- The bay projections, particularly the bay projection in the centre of the building with the balcony at the top with its ogee arched opening and balustrade
- The various rooflines, particularly the steeply hipped roof
- The placement and interesting style of the three chimneys
- The contrasting trim of the façade, particularly the trim around the doors and windows, the protruding belt courses and the cornices.
- The various cladding throughout the exterior of the building including shiplap, clapboard and board and batten which have been highlighted by various shades of yellow.
Other character-defining elements of Dundas Terrace include:
- The location of the building on Water Street, with its large lot and waterfront view