Legal Description: Part Park Lot 53, Plan 8
The designation includes:
- All exterior stone walls of the building, with the exception of the one storey rear addition;
- The roofline over the entire two storey building, including the chimneys, but excluding the roofline over the one storey rear addition and allowing for a future skylight on the west slope of the roof over the upstairs hall;
- All window and exterior door openings on the designated walls of the building
- All original double-hung windows and window frames on the front and south-facing side of the building, the two bay windows on the first floor and the Gothic window on the second floor of the building.
- The transom and sidelights of red, etched glass at the main front entrance;
- The front porch and second floor balcony including all wood elements and the roofline, but allowing for existing elements of the porch and balcony to be returned to earlier or original documented designs;
- The complete staircase inside and all original wood mouldings on the first floor of the building.
It is intended that non-original features may be returned to documented earlier designs or to their documented original form without requiring City Council permission for an alteration to the designation. It is also understood that the designated original double-hung windows may be replaced in the future with new wood windows which match the appearance of the original windows, and that clear glass storm windows may be installed over the transom and sidelights at the main entrance.
This two storey limestone dwelling was constructed circa 1872 by local builder Alexander Bruce as his residence. A native of Scotland, Bruce came to Canada in 1836 with his father, George Bruce Senior, and brother, Captain George Bruce Junior, who, as partners, operated their carpentry and contracting business from their nearby shop on Oxford Street (later converted into the two unit dwelling known as 39-41 Oxford Street). Upon the retirement of their father, Alexander and George entered into partnership and carried on the business until about 1880, when the partnership was dissolved and Alexander’s son George R. Bruce, a well-known architect/builder, joined his father in the firm. The Bruce family have been identified with the erection of many important public buildings in Guelph, including the First Baptist, Knox and Chalmers Churches, as well as many fine private residences.
The house features a second floor Gothic window and two bay windows on the first floor. The main entrance is highlighted by a transom and sidelights of red, etched glass denoting the dwelling’s original name, “Rose Bank”. Later additions include the front porch and balcony and the rear, two storey stone section, both likely constructed in the early 1900’s.
Alexander Bruce retained ownership of the property until his death in 1894, followed by son George R. and family until 1903. Other owners included banker/real estate agent John. M. Duff (1915 to 1920) and dentist Garent B. Tovell (1922 to 1967), followed by former U.S. diplomat John F. Melby, first Chair of the University of Guelph’s Political Studies Department, and his wife Roxana. The owners in 1994, Peter Mikichak and Lynne Cooper, are working towards restoring many of the interior and exterior features of the house.
The designation covers all exterior stone walls, all window and exterior door openings and the roofline, including the chimneys, but with certain exceptions as more particularly described on Schedule “C” of the designating by-law. All original windows and window frames on the front and south facing side of the building, the two bay windows and Gothic window at the front and the transom and sidelights at the main front entrance, are designated. Also included in the designation is the front porch and second floor balcony, allowing for existing elements of the porch to be returned to a more original, documented design. Inside, the complete wooden staircase and original wood mouldings on the first floor are designated.