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Elam Martin Farmstead

0, Woolwich Street, City of Waterloo, Ontario, N2K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2001/01/22

View of the Doddy House and Mennonite Georgian style two-storey main house, 2007.; Kendra Green, 2007.
Main and Doddy House on the Elam Martin Farmstead
Poured concrete silo located next to the barn, 2007.; Kendra Green, 2007.
Silo on the Elam Martin Farmstead
View of the 'bank barn' now functioning as an interpretive centre, 2007.; Kendra Green, 2007.
Bank Barn on the Elam Martin Farmstead

Other Name(s)

Millennium Recreation Park
Elam Martin Farmstead

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/09/28

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Elam Martin Farmstead is located within Research In Motion's (RIM) Millennium Recreation Park, on Woolwich Street in the City of Waterloo. This sixth generation Mennonite farmstead was founded in 1820 and consists of 17 buildings and 18.5 acres of heritage landscape. The property was designated for its historic and architectural value by the City of Waterloo under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law No. 01-03).

Heritage Value

The Elam Martin Farmstead is associated with the early Mennonite immigrants that settled land in rural Canada. The Martin family migrated to Lot 65 after its purchase in 1820, where they established a family farm. The original house has been lost, but in its place is the spring house. Additional structures were added as the farm was subdivided and passed down through six generations.

The Elam Martin Farmstead is characteristic of a Mennonite farming settlement in Southern Ontario. The layout is reminiscent of the Mennonite Old Order way of life, with built and natural features constructed to service the needs of large, immigrant families. The main house was constructed in 1856 in the Mennonite Georgian style, featuring two-storeys, a gable-roof, a yellow-brick facade and a unique moulded brick cornice. The Martin house features a southern exposure, typical of older Mennonite buildings in the area, and a kitchen with access to the gardens, smoke house, schnitz house and wood shed. A doddy house, a house generally used for the grandparents, was constructed adjacent to the main house in the 1870s, which is distinctive of Mennonite homesteads and often incorporated in many Waterloo Region farms.

Sources: City of Waterloo By-law 01-03; Designation Proposal from the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value include:
- its association with early Canadian rural settlements
- the influence of Mennonite immigration on the landscape in Waterloo
- the collection of buildings as dispersed upon the landscape
- Mennonite Georgian style two-storey house
- gable roof line
- yellow-brick facade
- brick moulded in a quarter-round shape
- fieldstone foundation
- connected wash house which forms a porch roof
- doddy house fronted by a 'shed' roofed porch, with cove siding, red-brick centre chimney with concrete cap and a fieldstone foundation
- porch posts and railings of doddy house and main house
- poured concrete silo attached to the barn by horizontally boarded shaft, topped by a west-sloping shed roof
- corn crib's gable roofline, vertical and horizontal slats, slanted studs (creating a letter 'M' effect)
- cement foundation
- wood cove siding with corner boards, trim and corner brackets on tool shed
- vertical barn boards, stone foundation and east-west gable roof covered with tin that extends northward on the Wagon Shed
- position of the 'bank barn' on a slope, easing access to upper levels at grade and limiting visibility of stone basement
- eaves troughs supported by brackets, metal roof, twin windows and decorative diamond openings below the peak of the eaves on the barn
- plain fascia terminated by small curved brackets, raking cornice and wood ventilators on the barn and pump house
- small stone spring house with a concrete slab roof, a stone and concrete channel leading to the creek (reported to be located beside the foundation of the original log home)
- brick facade of main house and wash house
- southward orientation of the main structures.




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1820/01/01 to 1820/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type


Historic or Interpretive Site



Architect / Designer



Jacob Martin

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Waterloo 100 Regina Street South Waterloo, Ontario N2J 4P9

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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