The gate and wall of the W.J. Mathers House 'Altnadene' form an integral part of the heritage character of this historic estate, which includes a two-and-one-half storey wood frame house set in a large terraced garden, now located in Deer Lake Park. Built as a family home, it is designed in the Bri…
The gate and wall of the W.J. Mathers House 'Altnadene' form an integral part of the heritage character of this historic estate, which includes a two-and-one-half storey wood frame house set in a large terraced garden, now located in Deer Lake Park. Built as a family home, it is designed in the British Arts and Crafts style enriched by Tudor, Romanesque, and medieval details.
'Altnadene' was constructed in the Deer Lake Crescent subdivision, which was originally promoted as an upper class neighbourhood. It represents one of the first residential developments in the City of Burnaby that required buildings to be of a specific value, thus demonstrating the desire for exclusivity among the successful businessmen who chose to settle in the area. The house and grounds illustrate the social, cultural, lifestyle and leisure sensibilities of the owners in the Deer Lake Crescent subdivision: such values as social aspiration, racial exclusivity, demonstration of architectural taste, importance of a landscaped garden, and the provision of facilities for fashionable pursuits such as lawn tennis.
The estate is historically significant for its connection to William John Mathers (1859-1929), an early pioneer who arrived in New Westminster in 1876, an enterprising grain dealer, businessman, alderman, president of the Board of Trade and various other local organizations, and a 'public spirited and progressive citizen.'
The landscape of the estate featured a landmark granite capstone wall and wrought iron gate surrounding the front garden and terraced lawns of the mansion. The overall architectural intention was to reference medieval English estates by surrounding the ‘castle’ with a stone wall with gated entrances. The stone material for the construction of the wall was quarried from large ‘glacial erratic’ granite boulders found on the property. The highly decorative wrought iron gate was designed and made by artisan James A. Blair, a Scottish blacksmith employed by the Westminster Iron Works in 1912. The design for the 'double' driveway gate was featured in the company’s original catalogue as 'Design No. 152'. These gates are a very unusual and rare example of their type and are some of the most elaborate surviving examples in the City.
Key elements that define the heritage character of the gate and wall at 'Altnadene' include its:
- wrought iron gates, massive gate-posts inscribed with 'Altnadene' and granite walls at the corner entry of the property