Description of Historic Place
The Wintemute House is a large two-storey wood-frame Victorian era country farm house with Victorian Italianate detailing. Designed in a symmetrical Foursquare form, it features a low-pitched hipped roof with deep eaves. Later additions to the rear of the house, and the extensive wraparound verandah and porte-cochere, were Edwardian era additions. It is located on its original site, in the modern subdivision of Buckingham Heights in southeast Burnaby. The Wintemute House is one of the oldest surviving houses in Burnaby.
Built circa 1891, the Wintemute House is valued as a representation of the early history of Burnaby and its agricultural origins. Built prior to the civic incorporation of Burnaby in 1892, the house was situated to face Douglas Road (now Canada Way), one of the first roads built to connect the rural farmlands of Burnaby to New Westminster. The original large property has been extensively subdivided and the house is now isolated in a modern subdivision. Designated in 1977, the Wintemute House is also significant as Burnaby's first protected municipal heritage site.
The house is valued for its association with Joseph S. Wintemute (1832-1911) and Jane Wintemute (1832-1910), who came to British Columbia from Port Stanley, Ontario in 1865, traveling via the Isthmus of Panama. Joseph Wintemute, a skilled carpenter and contractor by trade, operated the Wintemute Furniture Factory in New Westminster, the first furniture plant established on the mainland of British Columbia. In 1891, he acquired this property, where he set up a cord wood sawmill to supply his factory. Wintemute was likely responsible for the design and construction of this commodious structure, as it was built in an Eastern Canadian style with which he would have been familiar. After the lands were cleared of timber, the Wintemutes developed the property into a typical small-scale "market garden," involved in the production of vegetables and fruits, such as strawberries, for sale at the New Westminster City Market.
The Wintemute House is additionally significant for its association with the speculative land boom that occurred prior to the First World War, and ongoing suburban subdivision. Charles Gordon, a real estate agent, acquired the Wintemute farm and subdivided the acreage, which he marketed through the People's Trust Company as "Montrelynview" and offered this house as a draw prize to lot purchasers. With the collapse of the land boom, the house remained in Gordon's possession until 1929 when it was purchased by his brother-in-law, Geoffrey Burnett, a local surveyor responsible for many of the original land surveys of Burnaby. David Burnett, Geoffrey's son, requested designation of the house when the family decided to subdivide the remaining 1.4 hectares of property in 1977.
Furthermore, the Wintemute House is valued as an excellent example of a Victorian era country farm house, based loosely on the traditional farmhouses seen commonly in nineteenth century Ontario. Designed in a vernacular version of the Victorian Italianate style, the house displays restrained detailing, including several original multi-paned windows notable for their vertical proportions. The house retains many original exterior features, and the original interior layout, although modernized during the Edwardian era, is substantially intact, including finely crafted maple and cedar interior millwork that was produced by the Wintemute Furniture Factory. From 1904 to 1910, Charles Gordon, the second owner, made a number of alterations to the house including the addition of the wrap-around verandah, a porte-cochere and a 7.6 metre by 9 metre billiard room in the Arts and Crafts style, beamed and panelled in Douglas Fir. These later additions and alterations have value in demonstrating the evolution of the house and property and changing tastes at the turn of the nineteenth century.
Source: Heritage Site Files, City of Burnaby, Planning and Building Department
Key elements that define the heritage character of Wintemute House include its:
- picturesque original setting with views to the North Shore
- residential form, scale and massing as expressed by its symmetrical cubic form and two-storey height, with later additions to the rear
- Victorian Italianate architectural features such as the vertically-proportioned original windows with vestigial window hoods, low-pitched hipped roof and Classical Revival details such as the corner boards articulated as pilasters
- hipped roof with deep boxed eaves
- horizontal lapped narrow wooden siding
- second storey balcony over front entry
- wide wraparound columned verandah with porte-cochere, with square trimmed columns
- irregular fenestration: original Victorian era double-hung 6-over-6 wood-sash windows with vertical proportions and segmental arched tops; Edwardian era double-hung 1-over-1 wooden-sash windows; and Edwardian era wooden-sash casement window assemblies with leaded transoms
- central front entry with sidelights and transom
- multi-paned French doors opening out to verandah
- interior features such as its 3.7 metre ceiling height on the main and second floors; the coal grate fireplace with elaborate woodwork and glazed tile surround in the front parlour; five other fireplaces throughout the house; maple and cedar interior millwork; and the Douglas Fir panelled and beamed billiard room with hidden doors, seven-panelled doors, original light fixtures and mouldings
- internal red brick chimneys with corbelled caps