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97-99 North River Road / Duff House

97-99 North River Road, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, C1A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1999/07/01

Showing east elevation; City of Charlottetown, Natalie Munn, 2005
97-99 North River Road / Duff House
Showing south east elevation; City of Charlottetown, Natalie Munn, 2005
97-99 North River Road / Duff House
Showing north east elevation; City of Charlottetown, Natalie Munn, 2005
97-99 North River Road / Duff House

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/04/24

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

97-99 North River Road is a wood framed, Colonial Revival style, former residence that is located on a large treed corner lot. The house was constructed for Alfred Eldred Duff (1882-1921) in 1916 and served as a residence for many years. The designation encompasses the building’s exterior and parcel; it does not include the building’s interior.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of 97-99 North River Road lies in its association with various prominent Charlottetown residents; its attractive Colonial Revival architecture; and its role in supporting the streetscape.

97-99 North River Road was constructed in 1916 for A.E. Duff, a native of the community of Morell in eastern Prince Edward Island. He went to the United States at an early age, but returned to the Island after he was struck with illness. He hired prominent architects, Chappell and Hunter to design his new residence and the firm of H. and S. Lowe to build it. The home was built in the Colonial Revival style. The style was based on North American models, which were essentially revivals of earlier forms. It was an effort to adapt the forms of earlier architectural styles to contemporary needs.

Features of the Colonial Revival style include a rectangular plan, symmetrical facades and restrained classical details.

Unfortunately, Duff died in 1921 leaving the home to his wife and daughter. Although of a retiring disposition, it was reported that he was "greatly esteemed by those who were fortunate as to know him intimately". During the Duff Family’s ownership of the home, Lieutenant Governor Augustine Colin MacDonald (1837-1919) stayed there temporarily, after he gave up his official residence at Fanningbank in 1917 as a patriotic gesture, allowing it to be used as a veterans’ hospital.

A robbery occurred at the Duff home in 1935. According to news reports, Elizabeth Duff awoke to hear suspicious noises coming from the downstairs. She crept down and surprised thieves in the act. One of the thieves hit her with a brass poker, but fortunately, the blow did not mortally wound her. Unfortunately, in all of the commotion, she was unable to identify them.

The 20 June 1942 edition of the local newspaper, the Guardian, contained a for sale notice for the home. It did not sell at the time and was put up for sale again. The 18 May 1943 edition of the Guardian contained a similar notice that indicated the home had a frontage of 256 feet on North River Road, running 197 feet deep on York Lane. The "unusually fine residence" featured all modern conveniences including three baths and a basement lavatory.

It is unclear when the home was purchased, but the Prince Edward Island Provincial Directory of 1950 lists J. Sterling MacDonald and his wife, Daris as living in the 97 North River Road section and manager of P.J.’s Grocery Store, Benjamin Earle MacDonald (1907-1965) and his wife, Jean in the 99 North River Road side. It is not clear when the home was divided into units but before 1950, it had always been listed as 99 North River Road.

Benjamin Earle MacDonald was an accountant and manager of his family’s grocery store. He was involved in Charlottetown Civic affairs as a City Councilor from 1940 until 1946 when he was elected Mayor of Charlottetown, an office he would serve in until 1951. In the general election of 1951, he ran successfully for the district of 5th Queens. He was appointed Minister of Health and Welfare under Premier Alexander Matheson in 1953 and later, on 16 June 1955, he was appointed Provincial Secretary and Treasurer of the Province of Prince Edward Island.

A beautiful and historic home, its well preserved Colonial Revival architecture and its association with many prominent Islanders make it an asset to the York Lane and North River Road streetscapes.

Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2

Character-Defining Elements

The following Colonial Revival style character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of 97-99 North River Road:
- The massing of the building with its two and one half storeys
- The relatively symmetrical facade
- The style and placement of the windows with black shutters, including the grouped windows of the first and second floors and the dormer windows
- The style and placement of the doors, particularly the centrally placed, panel door with side lights
- The southern section of the home, with its upstairs sun room, hipped roof and protruding belt course
- The gable rooflines with eave returns and simple cornice as well as the gabled dormers with pediments
- The style and placement of the chimneys
- The Classical details such as the portico, with large pediment and columns, as well as the pediments on the gabled dormers
Other character-defining elements of 97-99 North River Road are:
- The location of the building on the large corner lot of York Lane and North River Road
- The large treed lot



Prince Edward Island

Recognition Authority

City of Charlottetown

Recognition Statute

City of Charlottetown Zoning and Development Bylaw

Recognition Type

Heritage Resource

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

Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2 #1645

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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