81 Farquhar Street

Bylaw: (2011)-19269

Legal description: Lot 18, Plan 8, (As described in Instrument No. ROS600136)

Designated portions

The following elements of 81 Farquhar Street are to be protected under Part IV, Sec. 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter 0.18:

  • The building’s location, fronting on Farquhar Street;
  • All exterior walls of the original building, including the timber frame and hipped roofline;
  • All original door and window openings;
  • All original window frames, sashes, muntin bars and pane arrangements; and
  • The two leaf, half-glass door at the front elevation, with its narrow stained glass transom window, hinges and doorknob.

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

Settled in 1832 by Dr. Robert Alling, 81 Farquhar Street was one of the first homes in Guelph. It represents a rare example of local domestic architecture from the middle of the nineteenth century.

This property is located on Lot 18, a location linked to John McDonald’s 1828 plan of the Town of Guelph. The subject lot was in a prominent position at the heart of the town, fronting the east side of the Market Square. The original form and layout of Guelph was significantly changed in 1856 by the construction of the Grand Trunk Railway, which bisected the Market Square and divided the town as a whole. The house at 81 Farquhar Street is one of the few buildings in the downtown area that predate the advent of the railway. As such, it provides important evidence regarding the historic character of the urban landscape prior to this time.

The property is historically associated with two early English immigrants that arrived in Guelph in 1832: Dr Robert Alling and John Combe Wilson. Dr Alling purchased the property on which the house was built in December 1832; his son-in-law, Wilson, has been credited with initiating the construction of the house. The house is also associated with Alvin Robert Burrows, a successful local textile manufacturer of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Renovations to the house in the 1960s included a one-storey, grey brick office addition to the front (right) west corner of the house. These renovations have altered the overall symmetry of the earlier building and as such detract from its physical value. However, the property has potential to provide important evidence about the kinds of houses built “in town” for the “well born” and affluent settlers of early Guelph society.

The subject property is worthy of designation under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act as it meets three of the prescribed criteria for determining cultural heritage value or interest, according to Ontario Regulation 9/06 made under the Ontario Heritage Act. The heritage attributes of 81 Farquhar Street display: design or physical, historical or associative and contextual value.