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The Doctor's House

22, Wilson Street West, Perth, Ontario, K7H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/06/24

Front view; Rideau Heritage Initiative 2006
The Doctor's House, Perth
Front facade; Rideau Heritage Initiative 2006
The Doctor's House, Perth
front entrance; Rideau Heritage Initiative 2006
The Doctor's House, Perth

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/01/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Doctor's House is a one-and-a-half-storey stone structure with an attached wood frame shed located at 22 Wilson Street West, between D'Arcy Street and North Street. The Doctor's House was built in the 1840s and served as both a residence and practice for various doctors in Perth during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Doctor's House is predominantly associated with its first resident and medical practitioner, Dr. James Nichol.

The Doctor's House is recognized by the Town of Perth for its heritage values in By-law 2665 on 24 June 1986.

Heritage Value

The Doctor's House is associated with several doctors who inhabited and practiced in the residence and with Perth's early history of medical care provision. The Doctor's House was erected in the 1840s by Dr. James Nichol who arrived in Perth from Scotland in 1837. Dr. Nichol was one of Perth's first surgeons. He also acted as a gaol surgeon and then as a justice of the peace from 1854 until his sudden death in 1864. Following Dr. Nichol's death, his son Dr. James Nichol Jr. occupied and practiced in the building and was followed by Dr. Robert Howdon, Dr. Richard Victor Fowler and Dr. Arthur Coulson Fowler. Dr. Arthur Coulson Fowler used the residence as his home and practice until 1972.

The Doctor's House also expresses Perth's early medical care provision history as it functioned as a residence, office, medicine dispensary, and surgery room over the course of approximately 130 years. An adjoining frame building was erected at the time of construction to accommodate a space for a surgery. A narrow breezeway was constructed in the 19th century, connecting the main house to the peg barn. This structure was added in order to provide efficient access to the peg barn, which housed the doctor's horse, which provided a much-needed means of travel for doctors as they made their way through the country-side making house calls. The Doctor's House stands as one of the last examples of early private residences in Perth, despite its conversion to commercial use.

The Doctor's House is a combination of stone masonry architecture and the Classic Revival style, which was popular from the 1830s until the 1860s in North America.

Sources: Town of Perth By-law 2665; Heritage Perth.

Character-Defining Elements

The character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of the Doctor's House include its:
- stone exterior
- wood frame shed attached to the main structure
- two windows on either side of the front door, maintaining the classic proportions of the building
- gabled dormer window above the front door
- four columns supporting a pediment and entablature on the front facade
- centre ground floor entrance with fanlight and side lights surrounding the front door




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Health and Research

Architect / Designer



Dr. James McNichol

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

By-law 2665, Town Hall, Town of Perth

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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