Briars - Peacock House
55, Hedge Road, Georgina, Ontario, L0E, Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
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.
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 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
Ontario Heritage Trust
Ontario Heritage Act
Ontario Heritage Foundation Easement
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
Location of Supporting Documentation
Conservation Easement Files
Ontario Heritage Trust
10 Adelaide Street East
Cross-Reference to Collection