Surrey Street East – 109

By-law: (2004)-17401

Legal Description: Lot 14, Lot 13, Plan 33

Designated Portions

Exterior:

  • the front façade of the building, including the front wall, the roofline and front gable, the stone surrounds of the windows, the large limestone quoins,
  • the large four panel bolection-moulded door with arcaded transom,
  • the gothic window above the entry.

Interior:

  • the arched entrance hallway,
  • the closet doors in the hallway,
  • all the first floor original floor mouldings,
  • all original window mouldings and paneling,
  • the fireplaces in the west front room and the east rear room along with their surround mouldings.

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

Property History

  • Built by a prominent local industrialist
  • The house is an excellent example of a Guelph stone residential architecture

Andrew Armstrong purchased the property from Catherine Oliver, a local widow, in 1866 and built the house shortly after. Andrew Armstrong was born in Hawick Scotland in 1821, and came to Guelph in 1852, with his wife Mary (Young). He was a baker and worked with his brother John Armstrong at his bakery on Macdonnell Street for many years while becoming a prominent Guelph businessman.

During the time he was in the baking business, in the mid 1860s, Andrew, in partnership with his brother John, and John Anderson, built a stone woolen factory on the corner of Huskisson (now Wyndham St. S) and Surrey Streets. After operating it for a few years, the Armstrongs retired from having an active role in the business and Thomas McCrae became a partner. Armstrong, McCrae & Co, grew rapidly during the American Civil War years.

In 1877, Andrew Armstrong and some business partners also started the Guelph Carpet Factory which remained successful into the twentieth century. It was located on lots 83 and 84 on Cross and Neeve Streets. It appears that while Andrew Armstrong was busy with these businesses, his wife Mary was responsible for running the bakery.

Assessment records for 109 Surrey show a significant increase in value from $200 to $800 from 1867 to 1868, indicating the possibility that the house was built at this time. Nothing more specific has been found, making c.1867 the most likely time period for construction.

The Armstrongs lived in the house until their deaths in 1892 and 1894. At this time, Isabella Armstrong took over ownership of the house. Her exact relationship with Andrew and Mary Armstrong is not known, but most likely she was a niece as the Armstrong’s never had any children themselves. Isabella Armstrong kept the house until 1908, renting it out to John H. Gordon, a local merchant. She then sold the property to Elizabeth Mackinnon who lived there with her family until 1954. At this time, it was sold by Margaret Mackinnon to Donald and Shirley Pettit who remained there until the present owners, Lisa Fletcher and Dan Bushey purchased the property in 2003, undertook extensive renovations and applied for designation.

The house has been described as a significant item in the city’s heritage of stone architecture, with a finely dressed stone façade and window entablatures. It represents a fine example of a one-and-a-half storey “Ontario House” style rendered in local limestone. The house has a gable roof, with a centre gable containing a small gothic window. It has 3 bays on the front façade and a large front porch that was added at a later date.