Description of Historic Place
The House, part of the Woodside National Historic Site of Canada, is set in wooded, park-like grounds within the town of Kitchener. The structure’s appearance is based on a Gothic Revival style farmhouse. The one-and-one-half storey, brick-faced building features a steeply pitched gable roof with a shed-roofed dormer, gables, and a porch, which is located in the corner of the ‘L’-shaped plan. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The House is associated with the development in Canada of the commemoration of important people and places, and the growing interest in social history in the post-war period. Communities undertook to commemorate their past through the establishment of house museums in restored or reconstructed buildings. The House was constructed by a local committee, the Woodside Trust, as a replication of the childhood home of former Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. Declared a national historic site of Canada in 1952, the building has become a significant draw for tourists and is a very good example of a 1950s house museum. The House is associated with L.O. Breithaupt, a member of the Woodside Trust, Member of Parliament for the federal riding, and Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1952-1957.
The House is valued for its good aesthetics. Its form, plan, massing and some details are loosely based on the vernacular interpretation of Gothic Revival of the farmhouse that preceded it on the site. The steeply pitched roof, centre gable on the west elevation and the porch, located in the corner of its ‘L’-shape, are characteristic of the type. Purpose built as a house museum, the House is of conventional 1950s construction and reflects building practices of that period. The brick veneer exterior walls, the shed-roofed dormer, and the trim treatment show good craftsmanship and materials.
The House reinforces the picturesque character of its park-like setting at the National Historic Site of Canada. The structure is familiar to visitors and is also a regional landmark.
Sources: Shannon Ricketts, Woodside (House) National Historic Site, Woodside National Historic Site, Kitchener, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Report 91-028; Woodside House, Woodside National Historic Site, Kitchener, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 91-028.
The character-defining elements of the House should be respected.
Its vernacular Gothic Revival style with 1950s influences, very good functional design and very good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the low, ‘L’-shaped, one-and-a-half-storey massing;
- the vernacular interpretation of Gothic Revival influenced design, the steeply pitched gable roof, the gables, and the porch located in the corner of the structure’s ‘L’-shape;
- the conventional 1950s construction that includes the brick-veneer exterior walls supported by a wood frame construction, the shed-roofed dormer, and the trim treatment.
The manner in which the House reinforces the picturesque character of its park-like setting and acts as a regional landmark as evidenced by:
- the picturesque qualities of its vernacular interpretation of Gothic design and form that complement the park-like environment;
- the structure’s high profile as a replication of the childhood home of former Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King and its familiarity to residents.