Home / Accueil

McCrae House

108, Water Street, City of Guelph, Ontario, N1G, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/08/07

Facade of the John McCrae House which displays the simple architecture and the large front porch.; Frank Hochstenbach, 2004.
The facade of the John McCrae House, 2004
A depiction of the Plan of Janet McCrae's Garden.; Brad Peterson, Environmental Management and Landscape Architecture, 1999.
The McCrae Garden Plan, 1999
The John McCrae Monument and Memorial Gardens, with the John McCrae home in behind.; Beth McCracken, date unknown.
John McCrae House and Memorial Gardens, n.d.

Other Name(s)

McCrae House
John McCrae Birthplace Museum
108 Water Street

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/08/12

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The McCrae House, located at 108 Water Street, is situated on the southeast corner of Water Street and McCrae Boulevard in the City of Guelph. This one-and-a-half-storey limestone cottage was built in the vernacular and was constructed circa 1857.

The property was designated by the City of Guelph for its heritage significance under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law (1979)-10058).

Heritage Value

The McCrae House is the 1872 birthplace of famous Canadian physician, soldier and poet, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.

John McCrae joined the military as a cadet at the age of fourteen. His first experience in battle was as the company captain of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada in the South African War. Although John was forty-one years old when the First World War began in August 1914, his sense of duty compelled him to enlist. Rather than work in relative comfort at a convalescent hospital, John chose to work in the trenches near Ypres, Belgium.

It was during the Second Battle of Ypres, after burying a young friend, that John wrote, “In Flanders Fields.” The poem captured many sentiments of the First World War and as a result of the poem the poppy became a symbol of remembrance throughout the Commonwealth.

The McCrae House is a modest limestone cottage constructed circa 1857. The property also contains a coach house and an outhouse. The structural character and details of the stone house, the porch, and the board and batten accessory building are all representative of domestic architecture in the Guelph area during the 1860s.

The McCrae House is situated on a large property surrounded by Janet McCrae's Garden, an initiative started in 1998 that created a cottage garden using plants of the 1850-1880 time period to restore the entire property to its original splendour. There are six different small gardens surrounding the home, including a kitchen garden and a spring bulb garden. Each of the six gardens greatly contributes to the overall beauty of the property. Within the gardens is a monument that was erected in memory of Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.

Sources: City of Guelph By-law (1979)-10058; McCrae House, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, Information Brochure.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the McCrae House include the:
- use of locally-quarried limestone
- board and batten accessory building
- monument in memorial to John McCrae
- gardens surrounding the home, resembling those of the period between 1850 and 1880 in both design and composition which include the kitchen garden, the rose garden, the potager garden, the spring bulb garden, the granny garden, the stump garden, and the drying green




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1872/01/01 to 1872/01/01
1860/01/01 to 1860/01/01
1998/01/01 to 1998/01/01
1914/01/01 to 1914/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Philosophy and Spirituality
Governing Canada
Military and Defence

Function - Category and Type





Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Guelph Community Design and Development Services 1 Carden Street Guelph, ON

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places