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Barker-Wilson House

31, Foster St, Perth, Ontario, K7H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/03/11

View of facade; Rideau Heritage Initiative 2006
The Barker-Wilson House, Perth
Front details; Rideau Heritage Initiative 2006
The Barker-Wilson House, Perth
Upper floor; Rideau Heritage Initiative 2006
The Barker-Wilson House, Perth

Other Name(s)

Barker-Wilson House
The Shaw House

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1862/01/01 to 1865/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/12/12

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Barker-Wilson House, formerly the Shaw House, is an imposing two-and-a-half-storey sandstone structure, located at 31 Foster Street, at the corner of Drummond Street West and Foster Street. Construction of the Barker-Wilson House began in 1862 and took several years to complete under the supervision of the original owner, William McNairn Shaw. The Shaw House is currently known as the Barker Wilson House and stands as a visual expression of Italianate style homes that were popular in rural Ontario during the 1860s and 1870s.

The Barker-Wilson House was recognized by the Town of Perth for its heritage values in By-law 2651 on 11 March 1986.

Heritage Value

The Barker-Wilson House was recognized by the Town of Perth for its heritage values in By-law 2651 on 11 March 1986.

The Barker-Wilson house, is associated with its original owner William McNairn Shaw and Perth's early history and craftsmanship. Construction of the Shaw House began in 1862 under William McNairn Shaw and it is reputed that the construction took an estimated five to seven years to complete, as work on the house was seasonal. William McNairn Shaw was one of Perth's best early barristers, who went on to sit in the first parliament of the Provincial Legislature from 1867 until 1871 as the representative of South Lanark. The Shaw House stands as testimony to houses built in rural Ontario in the 1860s and 1870s. It is reputed that plans for a symmetrical Italianate house with a projecting frontispiece appeared in the Canada Farmer in 1865, after which variations of the style were built throughout rural and small-town Ontario, usually in brick. The Shaw House is a fine example of the Italianate style, which was in popular use for town houses around the time of Canada's Confederation, complete with rounded windows, wide eaves, and a symmetrical facade.

Sources: Town of Perth By-law 2651; Heritage Perth; Katherine Ashenburg, Going to Town: Architectural Walking Tours in Southern Ontario. (Toronto, Macfarlane Walter and Ross, 1996).

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of the Shaw House include the:
- sandstone exterior
- symmetrical facade
- wide eaves with decorative brackets beneath the gabled portion of the roofline
- double chimney stacks with flaring chimney pots
- cut-stone window surrounds with leafy centerpieces
- quarry-faced quoins with dressed margins
- portico at the front entrance complete with a balustrade
- stained-glass sidelights and fanlights in the front entrance
- rounded windows on the second floor facade




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building


Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

William McNairn Shaw



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

By-law 2651, Town Hall, Perth, Ontario

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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