Description of Historic Place
Benares is located at 1507 Clarkson Road North, on the east side of Clarkson Road North, south of Wedmore Way and Truscott Drive, in the Clarkson area, in the City in Mississauga. The two-storey honey-coloured brick and stone residence was constructed in 1857. Parts of the home are believed to date back to circa 1835 along with several of the outbuildings.
The property was designated, by the City of Mississauga, in 1977, for its heritage value, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, By-law Number 493-77. The building is also protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easement (2000).
Located on Clarkson Road in Mississauga, Benares is an important visual link to Mississauga's agrarian past. Its historic elements, mature trees and open spaces are all within an urban context.
Benares is important for its association with Mississauga's agricultural roots, as well as one of the most prominent families in Clarkson, the Harris Family. Edgar Neave is believed to have hired the local firm Leslie and Dingwall to start construction of the residence in circa 1835. It was sold to Captain James B. Harris in 1837, who settled there with his wife. The residence, reconstructed in circa 1857, following a fire, incorporated elements of the circa 1835 residence. Benares remained under the ownership of the Harris family for several generations. Elizabeth and Lucy Letitia, two of Harris' single daughters, are notable for having become society ladies, dividing their time between Benares in Clarkson and Toronto. Later generations of the family were important in seeing the house preserved for interpretive purposes, in order to protect its links with Clarkson's cultural heritage.
As added interest, it is believed that the house was the model for the 'Jalna Estate' in Mazo de la Roche's, “White Oakes Chronicles (1944-1958)”. De la Roche and her cousin, Caroline Clement, owned a cottage which was near the Harris home.
Benares represents Georgian style architecture with Queen Anne detailing along with vernacular adaptations, such as the veranda and balcony. The main house is a two-storey brick and stone structure, rectangular in shape, with a long single-storey stone portion to the rear that is believed to be part of the original structure built in circa 1835. Captain James B. Harris had the main block built in circa 1857 following a fire that destroyed the original circa 1835 stone building.
The facade of the house presents a symmetrical view in typical Georgian style. Along the complete width of the facade there is an open veranda, which was a common architectural feature to the area, when it was constructed. The posts are cambered and the cornice is trimmed with brackets. Above the front entrance there is a small balcony with turned balusters, spool work and lattice frame work and a gable. Windows, with their original shutters, line the house and four internal double-linked chimneys protrude from the medium hip roof. The property also boasts several interesting outbuildings, many of which are thought to date back to the original Edgar Neave Estate, circa 1835.
Source: City of Mississauga By-Law 493-77.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of Benares include its:
- symmetrical two-storey honey-coloured brick and stone construction of the main block
- single-storey stone construction of the rear portion
- hip roof on the main block with central gable
- 6 over 6 and 3 over 3 double-hung sash windows
- original shutters
- internally-bracketed, double-linked brick chimneys
- open veranda along the front facade with no balustrade
- small balcony above the entrance with turned balusters, spool work and lattice
- outbuildings, including the drive shed, dairy and potting shed
- slate roof
- zinc-over-tin roof of the rear portion of house
- location on Clarkson Road
- landscaping of mature trees and spacious lawns
- relationship of the drive shed, the dairy and the potting shed