Thomas Owen and Frances M. Townley Estate
T.O. Townley Estate
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Deerholme, the Townley Estate, is located on a lake front property on the north shore of Deer Lake Park. The main house is a two and one half storey, symmetrical-massed, wood frame Colonial Revival structure, with flanking one storey wings, a side gable roof and a central front entry. The historic place includes the house and grounds.
Deerholme was built as the retirement estate of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Owen Townley (1862-1935) and his wife, Frances M. Townley. Townley was a pioneer resident of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia: he served as a lawyer, Registrar of Land Titles for New Westminster District and Mayor of Vancouver for one term in 1901.
Built in 1913, this is one of the most significant of the Deer Lake estate houses and was the last of grand Edwardian era mansions built on the lots surrounding the lake. The area had been opened up for development two years earlier by the construction of the British Columbia Electric Railway Interurban Line. The estate speaks of a gracious way of life achieved by society's elite during the Edwardian era, supported by the use of domestic servants. Grand in scale, architecturally sophisticated and set in a bucolic landscape, this residence demonstrates the social status of the owner in the privileged classes of the rapidly developing social structure of Burnaby.
The house is also significant as one of the earliest designs by the son of Thomas and Frances Townley, architect Fred Laughton Townley (1887-1966), who had graduated in architecture in 1911 from the University of Pennsylvania. In this house for his parents, he demonstrated his deft understanding of the American Period Revival styles learned during his schooling in the United States. The prevailing local taste for British-derived architecture dictated that this was a style he was rarely able to use until the Colonial Revival styles became more popular in the 1920s. F.L. Townley was a founding partner in Townley and Matheson, which achieved significant success as one of the most accomplished local architectural firms, culminating in their best known commission, Vancouver City Hall, 1935-36.
Source: Heritage Site Files: PC77000 20. City of Burnaby Planning and Building Department
Key elements the define the heritage character of Deerholme include its:
- integration with its south sloping lakefront site, which contains many original landscape features (extant rockeries, formal drive, tennis lawn, open fields, and specimen shrubs and trees)
- two and one half storey form with flanking one storey wings
- side gable roof with symmetrical shed dormers, three at the front and three at the rear
- complex fenestration, including multi-paned wooden sash double hung windows, 6-over-1 on the ground floor and 6-over-9 on the second floor, and multi-paned wooden sash casements in the dormers
- pair of prominent exterior brick chimneys on each side elevation, clad with rough cast stucco up to the roof level, and each with four chimney pots
- rough cast stucco cladding
- design elements typical of the Colonial Revival style, such as composed classical formality, side gable roof and balanced symmetrical massing
- exterior architectural elements, such as classical columns, window shutters, fanlight feature window, multi-paned quarter-round windows flanking the chimneys, and projecting square brackets in the gables
- superior level of design and craftsmanship throughout, including refined interior woodwork such as fireplaces, interior columned screen between hallway and living room and a staircase with Colonial Revival details
- significant mature trees, such as Red Oaks, Silver Maples, and Copper Beech.
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.967
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
Architect / Designer
Fred Laughton Townley
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Site Files: PC77000 20. City of Burnaby Planning and Building Department, 4949 Canada Way, Burnaby, B.C., V5G 1M2.
See also: City of Vancouver Archives: T.O. Townley Residence, Original Plans, Add. MSS. 1399, Temporary No. 61, Location 920 D
Cross-Reference to Collection