Ottawa House By-the-Sea
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Ottawa House is a two and one-half-storey wood-frame house located on Partidge Island, near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. Built circa 1770 in the Georgian style, this impressive residence overlooks the Bay of Fundy. Municipal designation includes the building and property.
Ottawa House is valued for its association with Sir Charles Tupper, as one of the area’s oldest buildings, and for its Georgian style.
Ottawa House was built circa 1770 by the Ratchford family, who were merchants and one of Parrsboro's founding families. It passed to James Taggart in 1839, who is thought to have brought the first school teacher to Parrsboro. It became the summer home of Sir Charles Tupper in 1871, who owned the house until 1895. Tupper was elected to the Assembly of Nova Scotia in 1843 and served as Prime Minister of Canada for 69 days in 1869. He was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1879. While Tupper owned the home, he had a wing added to house his staff. Tupper called his summer home Ottawa House By-The-Sea. It was later operated as a seasonal inn and is now the Ottawa House Museum, operated by the Parrsboro Shore Historical Society.
Ottawa House is valued as one of the Parrsboro area’s oldest buildings and is a good example of the Georgian style. Few buildings in the County date from this time period and were originally built in the Georgian style. While the exterior has undergone some changes, many original interior and historic elements remain, such as fireplaces, hand-hewn beams, and lathe work. The surrounding natural landscape contributes significantly to the heritage character of this historic place, and no doubt contributed to the original owner’s decision to build their home so close to the sea and outlying islands. Ottawa House represents an important segment of Cumberland County’s history at the time of Confederation and illustrates mid-nineteenth century architecture, economic and cultural development.
Source: Town Office, Town of Parrsboro, Heritage Property Site Inventory Forms, Book #2, Partridge Island
The character-defining elements of Ottawa House relate to its Georgian style and use as a summer retreat and include:
- two and one-half-storey wood construction;
- hipped roof without eaves or decoration with three gables facing water;
- two inset chimneys at roof peak;
- symmetrical nine-bay façade;
- centered doorway;
- long verandah and balcony facing water;
- all original windows; small paned six-over-six windows on main elevation;
- bracketed bay and oriel windows on side elevations;
- all original or historic building materials, including clapboards, trim, brick (fireplaces), and framing;
- location in natural setting, on a large property overlooking and directly on the Minas Basin.
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Sports and Leisure
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
James Nobel Shannon
Location of Supporting Documentation
Town Office, Town of Parrsboro, PO Box 400, Parrsboro, NS B0M 1S0
Cross-Reference to Collection