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Briars - Peacock House

55, Hedge Road, Georgina, Ontario, L0E, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1981/04/07

View of the peacock house from the east showing two-storey elevation – June 2003; OHT, 2003
View of peacock house from the east – June 2003
View of the peacock house from the north showing main entrance – June 2003; OHT, 2003
View of peacock house from the north – June 2003
Historic illustration of the buildings of The Briars (Peacock House at top right corner) – c. 1888; briars.ca, 2005
Historic illustration (top right corner) – c. 1888

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/06/19

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The octagonal building located at 55 Hedge Road, commonly known as the Peacock House, is situated on a 200-acre parcel of land in the lakeside community of Jackson's Point. The two-storey, eight-sided brick building was erected in 1885 as one of a number of outbuildings constructed by Dr. Francis (Frank) Sibbald on the property known as “The Briars”.

The exterior of the Peacock House and a small portion of land surrounding the structure are protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easement.

Heritage Value

The Peacock House is situated amidst the well-manicured lawns and gardens of The Briars at a location southwest of the historic manor house. It is approached on its north side by a private roadway that commences at the main entrance to the resort and loops at the rear of the main building complex. With an area of land totalling more than 200 acres, the Peacock House is one of a number of heritage buildings contributing to the overall estate.

The Sibbald family was one of the most influential families in the early history of Georgina Township. They are best known for the settlement of a large plot of land in Georgina Township known as Sibbald Point, for constructing the area's first stone church (St. George's Anglican), and for publishing posthumously in 1926, the memoirs of Susan Mein Sibbald, mother of Dr. Sibbald.

The Peacock House was erected in 1885 by Dr. Sibbald shortly after he purchased The Briars from the original owners, the Bourchier family. In an attempt to functionalize his newly acquired land, he spent much of his first decade of ownership constructing a series of outbuildings including a coach house, a gatehouse, a barn, stables, and a peacock house. As indicated by the name of the building, the Peacock House was used to accommodate the small number of peacocks owned by Dr. Sibbald.

The Peacock House is Ontario's only example of an octagonal-shaped peacock house. Despite its upper and lower rows of windows, the Peacock House was constructed as a single-floor structure without any internal dividing walls. Its eight-sided design was likely influenced by American writer Orson Squire Fowler, who in 1849 published a book asserting the many advantages of octagonal buildings, including claims that octagonal buildings reduced heat loss, allowed in more sunlight and had better ventilation than conventional building shapes. A more evident advantage is the picturesque quality of the octagonal Peacock House.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that illustrate the heritage value of the Peacock House include the:
- unique octagonal design and construction
- small footprint
- eight equally-sized walls
- orange-coloured brick in a stretcher bond pattern
- axial symmetry in plan and fenestration from the centre line of each of the eight walls
- location of the door on the north-facing elevation
- lack of fenestration on the opposite south-facing elevation
- round headed double-hung sash windows on the ground floor
- round headed fixed sash windows on the upper level
- lone door which is constructed of wood and features a round head and four panels (two rectangular panels at the bottom and two round arched panels at the top)
- bell-cast roof with brown asphalt shingles and circular wood finial
- location amidst the well-manicured lawns and gardens of The Briar




Recognition Authority

Ontario Heritage Trust

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Ontario Heritage Foundation Easement

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1980/01/01 to 1981/01/01
1981/01/01 to 1981/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Sports and Leisure

Function - Category and Type


Park Fixture


Aquarium, Planetarium or Zoo

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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