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The Red House

16003, Yonge Street, Aurora, Ontario, L4G, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2002/09/10

Pre-restoration/renovation, 2002; Town of Aurora
The Red House
Post-renovation, 2006; Michael Seaman, Town of Aurora
Oakland Hall Inn
Side view; Michael Seaman, Town of Aurora
Oakland Hall Inn

Other Name(s)

The Red House
Oakland Cottage
Oakland Hall Inn

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/02/27

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

This one-and-three-quarter-storey brick house is located at the north end of Aurora, on the east side of Yonge Street. Set back at the end of a winding driveway, the Red House has a centre wall gable and large front veranda.

The Red House has been recognized for its heritage value by the Town of Aurora By-law #4361-0.

Heritage Value

Built circa 1845, the Red House has strong connections to several of Aurora's prominent citizens. It was constructed for Thomas Cosford, whose family owned property on all four corners of the intersection of Yonge Street and St. Johns Sideroad, at one time known as Cosford's Corners. Originally known as Oakland Cottage after the ancestral Cosford home, Thomas lived there with his daughter, Mary Ann Hartman, until his death in 1871. The property remained in the Cosford family well into the first decades of the 20th century.

In 1928, George Leacock, brother of the humorist Stephen Leacock, bought the house and re-named it Meadowlea. From 1968-1978 well-known local artist Dorothy Clark McClure lived there, naming her business after the house: Red House Studios.

In recent years, the property has been restored for use as a fine dining restaurant. Now known as the Oakland Hall Inn, extensive renovations have seen the front porch rebuilt.

The Red House is the one of the oldest surviving brick houses in Aurora, and is a modified version of a Regency cottage, now appearing more like an Ontario Gothic cottage. Modifications in the brickwork on the upper storey of the house show that within fifteen years of its construction, the roof was raised and rebuilt with a higher ridge and wider span. It has been suggested that the red wash applied to the facade (giving the house its name 'the Red House') was to camouflage the modified brickwork.

Source: Heritage Designation Report: The Red House, Town of Aurora By-law #4361-02.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that describe the heritage value of the Red House include its:
- one-and-three-quarter-storey brick form, with central wall gable
- fenestration, including French doors, and 6 over 6 sash windows
- gable roof with chimneys on each end
- remaining red wash on the brickwork
- restored front veranda




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


Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment


Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Designation Report: The Red House, Office of the Clerk, By-law #4361-02, Town of Aurora

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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