74 Arthur Street North

Mavis Bank

Bylaw: (2007)-18432

Legal description: Lots 14 and 15, Plan 32 and Part Grange Street, Plan 32, closed by Instrument No. BLS110

Designated portions

The following elements of 74 Arthur Street North are to be protected under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act:

  • All exterior elevations of stucco-over-stone construction;
  • All hipped and gabled rooflines;
  • All original window and door openings including their locations and construction;
  • Two large twin-flued “white” brick chimneys including their corbelled caps, located at the south end and the rear wing of the house;
  • Bow-roofed trellis and lattice wrap-around verandah;
  • Tooled stone window sills; and
  • The 6 panes over 6 sash windows below the east verandah and on the Arthur Street elevation.

The following contextual features are to be designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act:

  • Mavis Bank’s location fronting onto the federally-designated heritage river, the Speed River; and
  • All major trees on the property, including the two Black Walnut trees located in front of the Arthur Street elevation.

It is intended that non-original features may be returned to documented earlier designs or to their documented original without requiring City Council permission for an alteration to the designation.

Property history

Mavis Bank is situated on land that was originally surveyed by The Canada Company and first owned by Reverend Arthur Palmer, an Irish immigrant who arrived in Canada in 1832. The Palmer Survey was registered in 1855 and comprised of 38 lots, of which Mavis bank sits on 14 and 15. The entire parcel was named, Tyrcathlen, which was the name Palmer also gave to his palatial residence on Stuart Street.

Mavis Bank is culturally associated with Laura Lemon, the well-known Canadian author and composer. She was born in Guelph on October 15, 1866 and Mavis Bank was her childhood home from birth until her father moved the family in 1871. The Town of Guelph tax assessment records show that occupancy of Lots 12-15 of Plan 32 transferred to Laura Lemon’s family in 1866.

Architecturally, Mavis Bank is a rare example of stucco-over-stone, Neo-Classic Vernacular design. Its major point of interest is the unique bow-roofed trellis and lattice verandah that wraps around the north-east corner, north and west sides of the home.

Mavis Bank yields a commanding presence on the east bank of the Speed River. The Speed River’s status as a Canadian Heritage River (automatically acquired as a major tributary to the Grand River, designated in 1994), contributes greatly to the contextual value of the property. Surrounded by mature trees on a spacious lot, Mavis Bank continues to be a focal point within the City of Guelph. The property’s location functions as a historical point of interest in Guelph’s northeast cultural landscape.