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The Briars - Manor House

55, Hedge Road, Georgina, Ontario, N9A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1977/11/30

View of the main (east) façade showing the centre house and wings – May 2000; OHT, 2000
View of the main (east) façade – May 2000
View of the landscaped grounds located east of the manor house main entrance – June 2003; OHT, 2003
View of grounds east of main entrance – June 2003
Historic view of the manor house and the grounds from the northeast – c. 1920; briarsgolf.com, 2005
Historic view from the northeast – c. 1920

Other Name(s)

The Briars - Manor House
Sibbald Manor
The Briars

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/11/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The The Briars - Manor House located at 55 Hedge Road, commonly known as "The Briars", is situated on a 200-acre parcel of land in the lakeside community of Jackson's Point. The two-storey rubblestone structure was constructed as a homestead by Captain William Bourchier in 1840 and is characteristic of the Regency style of architecture.

The exterior of the building, excluding the rear (west) elevation, and the landscaped grounds to the east of the house are protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easement.

Heritage Value

Like most Regency buildings, the location of the manor house was carefully selected to provide for maximum visual effect and to allow for highly picturesque views from the residence. The front entrance is set upon a large expanse of carefully manicured lawns and provides a view to the east which passes over the towering trees along Hedge Road and fades into the waters of Lake Simcoe. With an area of land totalling more than 200 acres, The Briars is the site of a number of historic outbuildings, with the most notable being the octagonal-shaped Peacock House.

The property was originally assigned through an 1819 land grant to Captain William Bourchier, a retired half-pay officer and the brother of James O'Brien Bourchier, an early settler in Georgina Township and the founder of the Town of Sutton. Following his service in the War of 1812, William Bourchier spent much of his time traveling abroad, but in 1837 he returned to Upper Canada to construct a retirement residence in the area known as Jackson's Point. Completed in 1840, he named the residence 'The Briars” to commemorate a home of the same name in St. Helena where both he and Napoleon Bonaparte had lived during their respective stays on the island. The Briars remained in the Bourchier family well beyond the death of William until it was purchased in 1879 by Dr. Francis (Frank) Sibbald. As the settlers of Sibbald Point and the builders of St. George's Anglican Church, the Sibbald family was one of the most influential families in the history of Georgina Township. Following the acquisition of the property, Dr. Sibbald added north and south wings to the manor house and constructed a number of buildings on the grounds including a coach house, gatehouse, peacock house, and a barn and stables. The Briars continued to evolve throughout the early 20th century with the addition of a dairy, a golf course, a country club, and a theatre, and today it exists as one of Ontario's oldest recreational resort facilities.

The historically significant portion of the manor house is comprised of a central rubblestone structure built in 1840 and two flanking wings clad in brick added in 1880. Despite the setbacks of the wings, the building appears as a unified structure and its central portion is regarded as a fine example of Regency architecture. Continuous improvements and expansions to the property have resulted in a process of organic evolution that has seen the construction of a number of contemporary additions to the rear of the house. Each addition is significant in revealing the changing needs of the Sibbald family as the property was transformed from a homestead to a recreational resort and spa. Of the building's original components, the most prominent feature remains the symmetry of the main (east) façade, which is accented by a portico-sheltered main entrance and flanking French doors.

Source: Conservation Easement Files, Ontario Heritage Trust

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Manor House include the:
- unique location and well-groomed, park-like setting on the shore of Lake Simcoe
- building as one of a number of heritage buildings located on the property
- two-storey rubblestone central structure executed in a rough cast finish
- two-storey north and south wings composed of red brick that has been painted white on the main (east) façade
- wood portico supported by brick pillars
- rectangular transom and half sidelights accenting the main entrance
- French doors with matching decorative transoms that flank the main entrance
- three casement windows at the second storey level of the central structure
- highly ornamental three-sided oriel window and half-hexagonal brick bay with arch-headed windows of the north wing
- low hip roofs with deep overhangs and decorative brackets atop the central structure and the north and south wings
- six tall and slender brick chimneys (two on the central structure and two on each wing)




Recognition Authority

Ontario Heritage Trust

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Ontario Heritage Foundation Easement

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1977/01/01 to 1977/01/01
1975/01/01 to 1977/01/01
1879/01/01 to 1879/01/01
1880/01/01 to 1880/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Sports and Leisure

Function - Category and Type


Tourist Facility



Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Conservation Easement Files Ontario Heritage Trust 10 Adelaide Street East Toronto, Ontario

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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