20 Brighton Road
2 Ambrose Street
Links and documents
1878/01/01 to 1880/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
20 Brighton Road is a brick, Second Empire style former residence located on the corner of Brighton Road and Ambrose Street. Built for successful tanner, Donald MacKinnon, it is located near where his Brighton Tannery once operated. The designation encompasses the building’s exterior and parcel; it does not include the building’s interior.
The heritage value of 20 Brighton Road lies in its association with various prominent residents of Charlottetown; its Second Empire influenced architecture; and its role in supporting the Brighton Road and Ambrose Street streetscapes.
Tannery owner, Donald MacKinnon, built 20 Brighton Road between 1878 and 1880. He and his wife, Mary McGill, lived in the impressive home until his death in 1885. Donald MacKinnon was one of a handful of very successful tannery owners in Charlottetown. His tannery, the Brighton Tannery, constituted the only buildings on the block until MacKinnon built his lavish home. MacKinnon was not only a tanner, but he also served as chief of the Charlottetown volunteer fire department from 1875-1880. The large bell mounted in front of City Hall is named “Big Donald” in his honour.
Mary McGill, MacKinnon’s wife, sold the home to Frederick Perkins, of the dry goods firm of Perkins and Sterns, in 1890. Later in 1906, the home was purchased to serve as the manse for the Kirk of St. James Presbyterian church and the Reverend Thomas Fullerton and his family would live in the home for a number of years. Fullerton was not only the long serving minister of the church, but also a veteran of the Boer War of 1899-1902, when he served as chaplain to the Canadian troops. The Island's two casualties in this conflict, Riggs and Taylor, are commemorated by a plaque in the City's Trinity United Church. During the Kirk’s ownership of the home, the large pillared portico was added to the facade.
A later owner of the home was Mayor of Charlottetown and successful merchant, B. Roy Holman. Holman was involved in the fox breeding business and was a local representative of various coal companies. He served on City Council for a time and eventually became the Mayor Charlottetown in 1940. He remained in office until 1944.
20 Brighton Road was built in the Second Empire style. The style is identified through its Mansard roof which was named after François Mansart (1598-1666), and popularized by his son, Jules Hardoin Mansart, an architect who worked for France's King Louis XIV around 1700. The Mansard roof is almost flat on the top section and has deeply sloping, often curved, lower sections that generally contain dormers. The Second Empire referred to in the style is that of France's Napoleon III (1852-1870). The style reached Canada through Britain and the United States and was used extensively throughout Charlottetown from approximately 1860 until 1880. 20 Brighton Road is a well preserved and beautiful example of this style in Charlottetown. A truly grand home, it currently serves as a multiple dwelling. Located on the corner of Ambrose Street and Brighton Road, the combination of its historic associations and its impressive architecture continue to make a statement, making the house an asset to both streetscapes.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The heritage value of 20 Brighton Road is illustrated through the following Second Empire style character-defining elements:
- The massing of the home
- The size and shape of the brick construction, with its corbelled brick detailing at the eaves of both the roof of the home and the roofs of the bays
- The size and placement of the windows, particularly the hooded dormer windows, the bay windows on the east and west sides of the home and the tall, two over two windows, with their stone lintels and sills
- The style and placement of the doors, particularly the centrally placed paneled door of the facade with its transom lights and sidelights
- The second storey gallery set over the verandah, which is supported by rounded columns set in stone bases
- The two storey, centrally placed portico with its paired columns set in large stone bases
- The Mansard roof
- The style and placement of the chimney
- The various mouldings and details of the entablatures, including the dentil detailing under the portico roof
Other character-defining elements of 20 Brighton Road include:
- The location of the home at the corner of Brighton Road and Ambrose Street
Prince Edward Island
City of Charlottetown
City of Charlottetown Zoning and Development Bylaw
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Multiple Dwelling
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
Cross-Reference to Collection