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Colonel By Island / Île Colonel By, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1989/12/07

General view of the Cottage, showing the single storey, horizontal massing and the tripartite composition, 1989.; Environment Canada / Environnement Canada, 1989.
General view
General view of the Cottage, showing the fieldstone chimney, 1989.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, S. Lunn, 1989.
General view
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Other Name(s)

Colonel Bys' Cottage
la villa de Colonel By

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/10/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Located on one of the many islands on Big Rideau Lake, the Cottage on Colonel By Island overlooks rolling lawns that slope down to the water. The International Style building is a single storey, flat roofed bungalow with large fieldstone chimneys and a strong horizontal massing emphasised by deeply projecting eaves. Floor-to-ceiling windows stretch along the main elevation. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Cottage is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value
The Cottage is a very good example of a building associated with the development of Canadian tourism. Built for wealthy American entrepreneur Daniel Arnstein, the cottage is an excellent example of a Canadian summer home of wealthy and prominent Americans situated in a rural setting. As such it is associated with the development of tourism and the evolution of recreation-oriented areas. The building was later acquired by Parks Canada and is now used as a caretaker's residence and public washrooms.

Architectural Value
The Cottage is valued for its very good aesthetic design. As a relatively early and very good example of the International Style, the building displays many of the characteristics of the style in its residential design on both the exterior and interior, and also in some of the adaptations such as the use of regional materials for a cottage locale. It is characterized by strong horizontal massing with intersecting elements, a prominent roofline, tapering piers and the use of stone and wood. The large uninterrupted interior spaces and clearly expressed volumes exhibit very good functional design. Very good craftsmanship can be seen in the handling of the fieldstone masonry of the chimneys.

Environmental Value
The Cottage maintains an unchanged relationship of its lakeside site, is compatible with the present rural, recreation oriented character Colonel By Island, and is a familiar landmark to local residents, vacationers, and visitors.

Sources: Shannon Ricketts, Cottage, Colonel By Island, Rideau Canal, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report 88-148; Colonel By Island Cottage, Big Rideau Lake, Rideau Canal, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 88-148.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Cottage should be respected.

Its very good aesthetic, very good functional design and very good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the single storey, horizontal massing and the tripartite composition;
- the post and beam construction method with curtain walls;
- the flat, stepped roof and the deeply projecting eaves;
- the exterior walls of fumed, grained plywood;
- the large floor to ceiling windows along the main elevation;
- the two large fieldstone chimneys that provide interior spatial divisions;
- the interior’s open plan configuration in three main elements - service area, bedroom wing and the public spaces, the interior finishes and built in furnishings.

The manner in which the Cottage on Colonel By Island maintains an unchanged relationship to its lakeside site, is compatible with the present rural, recreation oriented character of Colonel By Island, as evidenced by:
- its ongoing relationship to the rolling lawns that slope down to the water;
- its overall scale, design and materials that complement the recreational/lakeside setting;
- its role as accommodation for Parks Canada employees, and its use as washrooms and its historical associations that make it a local landmark.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

Horace Roberts



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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