27 Barber Avenue


Bylaw: (1980)-10466


Designated portions

The limestone walls of the original three-storey house facing south-west, south-east and north-east. The form, material and details of the roof, cornice, tower and chimneys of the three-storey section. Type and location of windows and doors in the three-storey section. Two carved stone lions at the front steps. Interior architectural details of the 19th Century at the main floor and second floor levels of the interior.

It is intended by this by-law that either the original two-storey verandah or the intermediate one-storey verandah or a good facsimile thereof may be re-erected on the south-east and north-east facades (as shown in the by-law).

The north-west (rear) façade of the three-storey section of the house, and portions of the building behind that façade, are not included in this designation. The 20th Century sun-room on the south-west side and the interior details of the third floor are not included in this designation.

Property history

J.D. Williamson, proprietor of the “Golden Lion” department store, began construction of “Idylwyld” in 1880 on a large estate on London Road West. The architect-designed house was adapted from a similar house, since destroyed, built in Montreal by Mrs. Williamson’s parents. Local limestone was used in construction of this French-Mansardic styled house with three floors, basement, and tall corner tower.

It remained with members of the Williamson family until 1927. A large sun-room of matching stone was added to the west side in the early 1930’s. The original ornate verandahs were removed in 1942-44. The present owners are restoring much of the house to its original condition, possibly including the original verandahs.

Significant exterior features include the limestone masonry construction, the ornate, decorative wood cornices, and the unique tower with slate roof and cast-iron cresting. Two carved stone lions guard the front steps. The interior retains many examples of quality workmanship and unique design including ornate plaster ceilings, decorative window casements, exceptional woodwork and stairway, decorative brass fittings and numerous etched-glass panels.

“Idylwyld” is probably the best-preserved home of the 1880’s in Guelph and is a worthy example of its architectural style. The designation includes the exterior and interior of the original three-storey house, excepting the third floor interior and the rear (north-westerly) façade.