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Lea House

Pembina, Manitoba, R0G, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1998/02/26

Primary elevations, from the northeast, of the Lea House, Manitou area, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Primary Elevations
South elevation of the Lea House, Manitou area, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
South Elevation
Contextual view, from the north, of the Lea House, Manitou area, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Contextual View

Other Name(s)

Fairbrook Farm
Ferme Fairbrook
Lea House

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1880/01/01 to 1890/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/10/18

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Lea House, built in 1880 and expanded in the 1890s, is a large wood-frame building on a farm site near Manitou. The municipal designation applies to the 1 1/2-storey dwelling and the land on which it sits.

Heritage Value

Lea House is a fine example of a house-building tradition from southern Ontario that in the nineteenth century combined modest Gothic Revival elements with a distinctive L-shaped plan. In this case the final building was the result of incremental construction, between 1880 and the 1890s, as various sections were added to the original building. Much of the new material came from the Pioneers' Rest Stopping House at nearby Pembina Crossing, a site of local renown on the Boundary Commission Trail, which was the notable trail established in 1872 by Dominion Government surveyors as they established the boundary between Canada and the United States. Richard N. Lea, who arrived from England in 1880, became an influential community figure of many interests and talents. His descendants occupied the house continuously until the 1980s and still own the property, whose views to the Pembina River valley are impressive.

Source: Rural Municipality of Pembina By-law No. 2/98, February 26, 1998

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Lea House site include:
- its location on the homestead of Richard Nathaniel Lea, near the site of Pembina Crossing
- the building's placement overlooking the Pembina River valley to the south

Key elements that define the dwelling's eclectic exterior character include:
- the complex massing which combines the 1 1/2-storey rectangular 1880 section with a later 1 1/2 -storey addition to the east and north and one-storey extensions to the west and south
- the irregular rooflines defined by a moderately pitched cross-gable roof with Gothic-inspired gable wall dormers on the main volume and shed and catslide roofs over the extensions
- the abundant fenestration of modest rectangular sash windows in wood surrounds, with a square bay window on the back
- details such as the gingerbread and finials on east gable ends, two brick chimneys, etc.

Key interior elements that define the dwelling's incremental development and pioneer character include:
- the sprawling informal farmhouse plan with a kitchen entrance, large living spaces, a central staircase and R.N. Lea's study on the main floor, and spacious upper-level rooms defined by the roof's gables and dormers
- the straightforward materials, finishes and features, including the rough limestone fireplace with a dark-stained wood mantel and iron fixtures, the staircase with a dark-stained wood balustrade, the variety of wood trim and doors, the iron registers, etc.




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (MB)

Recognition Statute

Manitoba Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Extraction and Production

Function - Category and Type


Single Dwelling


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

RM of Pembina 315 Main Street Box 189 Manitou MB R0G 1G0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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