Home / Accueil

Joan Watson and Jackie Lavers Home

614 Main Street, Montague, Prince Edward Island, C0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2008/02/07

Showing front elevation; Province of PEI, 2007
Showing front elevation
Showing side elevation; Province of PEI, 2007
Showing side elevation
Archive image of MacKinnon House; Garden of the Gulf Museum Collection
Archive image of MacKinnon House

Other Name(s)

Joan Watson and Jackie Lavers Home
Former MacKinnon House

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/05/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Joan Watson and Jackie Lavers Home is a large two storey house with a hipped roof. It is influenced by the Colonial Revival style as shown by its wide eaves with brackets and corner pendants, the hipped roof dormers, the stacked bay windows, and the large verandah across the front of the house.

Heritage Value

The house is valued for its association with the MacKinnon family of Montague; for its well preserved Colonial Revival style architecture; and for its contribution to the streetscape.

The property on which the house sits was purchased on May 22, 1913 by Lauchlin M. MacKinnon from James E. Robertson. Lauchlin or "Lauchie" was the only child of Donald Laughlin MacKinnon, the founder of the renowned Montague Furnishing Company. Laughlin would marry Adelaide MacDonald and raise a family of three children in the home: Athol, Eric, and Olga. All three never married and remained in the family home throughout their lives.

Donald L. MacKinnon had begun the business around 1880 on the south side of the Montague bridge. He originally had only two employees who built household furniture and coffins. This fledgling business suffered a major setback in the winter of 1911, when a fire destroyed the factory. The building had also been rented out for various uses including as a telephone switchboard, restaurant, and an auditorium. One of the last major events it hosted was the reception for Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who gave a speech there in the autumn of 1911.

The Company soon rebuilt its operation moving into a former warehouse once owned by Island entrepreneur Owen Connolly on the north side of the bridge. This building no longer stands on Main Street. The reputation and quality of their products, especially their coffins, which were made from locally harvested logs, continued to grow. They would eventually sell their coffins across Canada, to Newfoundland, the West Indies, South America, and even South Africa. They owned warehouses in Sydney and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and as far away as Athens, Ontario.

The business was associated with some major events in Canadian history, including the 1917 Halifax Explosion. The plant worked around the clock, sending hundreds of caskets to the scene. In 1922, the Company was given the honour of directing the funeral for Alexander Graham Bell, who had died at his estate in Cape Breton. The quality of their product received further profile in 1929, when a sample of their caskets won a design medal at the French Exposition in Limoges.

The Great Depression of the 1930s impacted the business and the number of employees was reduced. After World War II, increased shipping costs, a shortage of raw materials, and increased off Island competition eventually led to the company closing its manufacturing business. The family continued to operate a funeral home into the 1980s.

The current house was built in 1913 by Lauchlin MacKinnon at a time when the fortunes of the company were bright. It represents the financial success the company had achieved and the status of the MacKinnon family in the town of Montague. The contractor for the new home was a Mr. Bradley and the builder was a Mr. Lathard.

The Colonial Revival style of the house was in vogue at the time. This style was popular on PEI from the 1890s to the 1930s. They often had a square configuration with hipped roofs and hipped roof dormers. Bay windows, string courses, and verandahs were also aspects of the design.

This example of the style is well preserved and evocative of a family whose company once contributed greatly to the economy of Montague. It continues to contribute to its streetscape.

Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/M20

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of the house:

- the two storey elevation
- the hipped roof with hipped roof dormers
- the brick chimney
- the wide eaves with brackets and corner pendant decoration
- the stacked bay windows
- the oriel window
- the wood shingle cladding - pine siding on first storey and shingles on second separated with stringcourse
- the original fenestration of the windows and doors
- the front entrance with sidelights
- the front verandah with Tuscan style columns and balustrade
- the roof deck above the verandah also with balustrade
- the location of the house on Main Street on a treed lot



Prince Edward Island

Recognition Authority

Province of Prince Edward Island

Recognition Statute

Heritage Places Protection Act

Recognition Type

Registered Historic Place

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8 File #: 4310-20/M20

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places