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MacAskill House

7 MacAskill Drive, St. Peter's, Nova Scotia, B0E, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1983/08/04

Front elevation, MacAskill House, St. Peter's Nova Scotia, 2004.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004.
Front elevation
Front entrance, MacAskill House, St. Peter's, Nova Scotia, 2004.
; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004.
Front entrance
East elevation, MacAskill House, St. Peter's, Nova Scotia, 2004.
; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004.
East elevation

Other Name(s)

MacAskill House
MacAskill House Museum
Wallace MacAskill House
Ferguson House

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/05/03

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

MacAskill House is located on Main Street in St. Peter's, Cape Breton Island, overlooking St. Peter's Bay in Nova Scotia. This Nova Scotia Vernacular style house was built circa 1870 and was the birthplace of photographer, Wallace MacAskill. The building and property are included in the designation.

Heritage Value

MacAskill House is valued for its association with the internationally renowned Nova Scotian photographer, Wallace R. MacAskill.

Wallace Robertson MacAskill (1887-1956) was the son of Angus and Mary (Cunningham) MacAskill. Angus was a general merchant in the village of St. Peter's, Cape Breton Island, for many years. Wallace attended public school in St. Peter's at a very early age. He was introduced to the comparatively new art of photography, and later he enrolled in the Milton Wade School of Photography in New York. Upon graduation, Wallace returned to St. Peter's to establish his first studio in his father's store in 1907. Later he moved his business to Glace Bay and then to Halifax. MacAskill owned and operated Commercial Photo Studios located on Barrington Street in Halifax until his death in 1956.

Upon MacAskill's death, his widow Elva carried on the business until 1964 when she sold the business and MacAskill's negatives to another Halifax photographer. The negatives passed hands a few times but finally in 1987, the negatives were donated to the Public Archives of Nova Scotia.

MacAskill's renown as a photographer was well-established by the end of the 1920s. MacAskill specialized in pictures of the open sea, particularly of schooners that sailed off the coast of Nova Scotia. The Bluenose was his most cherished subject and the one with which he is most widely identified. MacAskill's pictures of this famous ship and the Nova Scotian seascape present a stirring chronicle of the province and the sea at the end of the era of sailing in the province.

Wallace lived in MacAskill House until 1907 and the house was owned by family members until 1920. The property was then sold and was owned by members of the Fraser Family from at least 1931 until it was purchased and transformed into the MacAskill House Museum in 1984.

MacAskill House now operates as the MacAskill House Museum. Set on a one acre lot and surrounded by mature trees, MacAskill House Museum includes a collection of over one hundred of Wallace MacAskill's pictures, most in their original frames, his books and several craft artefacts designed and made by him.

Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 19, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of MacAskill House include:

- two-storey, wooden structure;
- three-bay front façade;
- steeply pitched gable roof;
- centre gable on the façade;
- wood shingle cladding;
- stone foundation;
- two-storey addition in the rear;
- surrounding lot with mature trees.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Province of Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Provincially Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Learning and the Arts
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type




Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 19, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS

Cross-Reference to Collection

W.R. MacAskill fonds, [ca. 1875], [ca. 1907]-[ca. 1949]. 7558 photographs, 3 film reels. Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management. Online inventory of 4604 images available. Access Points: MacAskill, W.R., 1887-1956. Retrieval Code: Graphic material: 1987-453.

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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