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Dalvay-by-the-Sea National Historic Site

What’s the story behind this architectural treasure?

A Luxurious Oceanfront Summer Home 

  • 1895: Cincinnati oil tycoon Alexander McDonald falls in love with the unspoiled coastal landscape of Prince Edward Island while on vacation.
  • 1896: McDonald commissions the construction of a rustic yet elegant PEI summer home adjacent to sand dunes, Dalvay Lake and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
  • 1896 to 1899: Construction takes place. The summer home is named Dalvay-by-the-Sea.
  • Early 1900s: Dalvay-by-the-Sea is the scene of lavish summer parties. Many friends and visitors stay for extended periods and participate in summer activities.
  • 1910: Original owner Alexander McDonald dies.

An Unknown Future

  • 1910: Upon his death, McDonald's $15 million estate including Dalvay-by-the-Sea is left to his only granddaughters, Laura and Helena Stallo.
  • By 1930: The Stallo's inheritance is lost due to mismanagement. The future of Dalvay-by-the-Sea is in peril.

From Summer Home to Resort

  • 1930: Dalvay-by-the-Sea is sold and changes hands numerous times.
  • 1931: New owner and infamous rum-runner Captain Edward Dicks converts Dalvay into a resort.
  • 1936: Dicks goes bankrupt.
  • 1937: Ownership is transfered to the federal government for inclusion in Prince Edward Island National Park.
  • 1994: Dalvay-by-the-Sea is designated nationally significant for its Queen Anne architecture.

Fact Sheet

Dalvay-by-the-Sea National Historic Site (PDF: 5.5 MB)


Visit the Dalvay-by-the-Sea Historic Photo Gallery

Photo gallery 
» Historic photo gallery