Set on a large corner lot at North Esmond Avenue and Oxford Street, the Angus & Margaret MacDonald House is a prominent, two and one-half storey Queen Anne Revival-style residence. The high hipped roof has open projecting gables. The house is a landmark within the Vancouver Heights neighbourhood of…
Set on a large corner lot at North Esmond Avenue and Oxford Street, the Angus & Margaret MacDonald House is a prominent, two and one-half storey Queen Anne Revival-style residence. The high hipped roof has open projecting gables. The house is a landmark within the Vancouver Heights neighbourhood of North Burnaby, on a high point of land overlooking Burrard Inlet and the North Shore Mountains.
The MacDonald House is valued as one of Burnaby’s most elaborate examples of the Queen Anne Revival style. The house retains many of its original features, including a prominent front corner turret wrapped by a clamshell verandah. The eclectic and transitional nature of Edwardian-era architecture is demonstrated by the late persistence of these Queen Anne Revival details, combined with the use of newly-popular classical revival elements such as Ionic columns. The interior retains a number of original architectural elements, and the early garage at the rear originally housed Angus MacDonald’s Cadillac, one of the first known automobiles owned by a Burnaby resident.
Constructed in 1909, this house was built for Angus MacDonald (1857-1943) and his wife, Margaret Isabella Thompson MacDonald (1862-1939). Angus MacDonald, an electrical contractor, relocated from Nova Scotia to Vancouver in 1891 and served on Vancouver Council from 1904-08. The MacDonald family moved to Burnaby upon his retirement from the B.C. Electric Railway Company, and he then served the North Burnaby Ward as a councillor from 1911-1916 and again in 1921. MacDonald Street in Burnaby was named in his honour.
The MacDonald House has additional significance as one of the surviving landmark residences, built between 1909 and 1914, during the first development of Vancouver Heights. In 1909, C.J. Peter and his employer, G.F. and J. Galt Limited, initiated the development of this North Burnaby neighbourhood, promoting it as one of the most picturesque districts in the region and an alternative to the CPR’s prestigious Shaughnessy Heights development in Vancouver. Buyers were obligated to build houses worth $3,500 at a time when the average house price was $1,000. Reputed to be the second house built in the subdivision, this house cost $7,000 to build.
Key elements that define the heritage character of the MacDonald House include its:
- prominent corner location in the Vancouver Heights neighbourhood, with views to Burrard Inlet and the North Shore Mountains
- residential form, scale and massing as exemplified by its two and one-half storey height, full basement, compound plan, and high hipped roof with gabled projections at the front and side
- wood-frame construction including wooden lapped siding, trim and mouldings
- rubble-stone granite foundation
- Queen Anne Revival details such as scroll-cut modillions, octagonal corner turret, wraparound, clamshell verandah with classical columns, and projecting square and semi-octagonal bays
- external red-brick chimney with corbelled top
- original windows including double-hung, 1-over-1 wooden sash windows in single and double assembly, and arched-top casement windows in the gable peaks
- original interior features such as the main staircase, a panelled dining room with a fireplace and built-in cabinets, a living room with a parquet floor, and a rear den with an oak mantle and tiled hearth
- associated early wood-frame garage at the rear of the property
- landscape features such as mature coniferous and deciduous trees surrounding the property