Bethune-Thompson House / White House National Historic Site of Canada
Bethune-Thompson House / White House
Maison Bethune-Thompson / maison White
Links and documents
1784/01/01 to 1804/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Highly evocative of time and place, the Bethune-Thompson / White House features the poteaux-sur-sol construction and verandah typical of Quebec architecture, combined with the symmetry and classical details typical of late 18th and early 19th century British architectural influences. Both exterior and interior are in a remarkable state of preservation and are included in the designation.
Bethune-Thompson House / White House was designated a national historic site of Canada because:
- this early Ontario home combines historic construction techniques and classic design; and
- the central part was built ca. 1805 as a manse for Rev. John Bethune, the first Presbyterian Minister of Upper Canada and was later the residence of explorer David Thompson.
Historic construction techniques and classical design are combined in this early Ontario home. The vertical log south wing may date from the 1780s when Loyalist Peter Ferguson settled on the site. The central part was built ca. 1805 as a manse for Rev. John Bethune, the first Presbyterian Minister of Upper Canada and was later the residence of explorer David Thompson. Beneath the stucco of the main block, the timber frame has three walls infilled with rubble stone and a fourth with ‘stick and mud’. The five-bay facade, formerly flanked by similar wings, expresses the British classical tradition.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1984.
Aspects of this national historic site which contribute to its heritage character include:
- those elements which speak to its historic construction techniques, specifically the timber frame with rubble and mud infill construction, wooden cladding and plaster finish;
- those elements which speak to the classical design, namely the rectangular massing and composition based upon contemporary classical traditions with a symmetrically organized five-bay facade with central entry flanked by multi-pane sash windows, and classical detailing of doors and windows, stair railings, mouldings, and fireplace surrounds;
- the high level of craftsmanship evident in the very fine wood detailing;
- evidence of the house’s organic, iterative evolution over time, such as the organic floor plan, the off-set chimney, the central gable over a sloped porch roof, and examples of changed usage patterns such as covered-over windows;
- the semi-rural setting on a large grassed lot.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection