Recognized Federal Heritage Building
Point Pelee National Park of Canada, Ontario
(© D. Carter - Edwards, CPS, 1989)
Point Pelee National Park of Canada, Ontario
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1851 to 1961
Event, Person, Organization:
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
DeLaurier House is approached along a boardwalk at the western edge of the marsh lands at Point Pelee National Park. It is a two-storey, gable-roofed structure, which incorporates two attached log houses. The dwelling is clad in board and batten siding and the shingled roof exhibits two roof pitches with one brick chimney. Windows and doors are asymmetrically arranged on the walls of the house. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
DeLaurier House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
DeLaurier House is associated with the early settlement of the Point Pelee area. It illustrates the life and times of a small French-Canadian community outside Québec and the agricultural activity on Point Pelee between 1850 and 1966. The reclamation of marshland led to Point Pelee becoming one of Canada’s finest agricultural areas in the latter half of the 19th century. The house is also associated with its builder, Oliver DeLaurier, and with his descendants. The house was used as a neighbourhood tavern for local parties and for community dances. In addition, the house is the oldest remaining structure and illustrates the development of export-oriented farming at Point Pelee during the late 19th century. It is now the interpretive center for the Point Pelee National Park.
DeLaurier House is valued for its good aesthetic and functional design. The integration of the two, simple log houses shows Olivier DeLaurier’s resourcefulness despite limited income and construction experience. The interior also illustrates the building’s evolutionary nature, having been modified for use by two families in the early 1900s and later renovated to accommodate the interpretive programs of the park. Notable for its craftsmanship, the dwelling was clad in board and batten siding and finished with a shingle roof, in order to present a uniform appearance and to demonstrate the DeLaurier’s improved economic and social status in the community.
DeLaurier House reinforces the present character of its landscaped, park-like setting and is a familiar building at Point Pelee National Park.
Marilyn E. Armstrong-Reynolds, DeLaurier House, Point Pelee National Park, Point Pelee Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 89-174; DeLaurier House, Point Pelee National Park, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 89-174.
The character-defining elements of the DeLaurier House should be respected.
Its good aesthetic and functional design and very good materials and craftsmanship, for example: the two-storey massing, which consists of two attached log houses with a gabled roof with two roof pitches, and the wood clad greenhouse addition; the log construction, board and batten siding and roof shingles; the asymmetrical arrangement of windows and doors; the interior elements that illustrate the building’s evolutionary nature.
The manner in which the DeLaurier House reinforces the present character of its landscaped, park-like setting and is a familiar building at Point Pelee National Park, as evidenced by: its overall scale, design and natural materials, which harmonize with its landscaped
surroundings at the park; its familiarity to visitors, through its role as an interpretive center at a national park.
Heritage Character Statement
The heritage character statement was developed by FHBRO to explain the reasons for the designation of a federal heritage building and what it is about the building that makes it significant (the heritage character). It is a key reference document for anyone involved in planning interventions to federal heritage buildings and is used by FHBRO in their review of interventions.
The DeLaurier House in Point Pelee National Park was originally constructed between 1851 and 1861 by Oliver DeLaurier. It was modified for use by two families in the early 1900s, and in the early 1950s, a small greenhouse was attached to the west wall. The house was occupied by the DeLaurier family until 1966. It is currently used as an interpretive centre for the Point Pelee National Park and is the property of the Parks Canada. See FHBRO Report 89-1 74.
Reasons for Designation
The DeLaurier house was designated Recognized because of its historical associations and architectural significance, and for its relationship to its environment.
The house is the only surviving 19th century structure and therefore the oldest in the park. Together with its barn, it illustrates the life and times of a small French Canadian community outside Quebec and the agricultural activity on Point Pelee between 1850 and 1966. Indeed, it is the single most important historic resource for illustrating the early settlement history of the Point Pelee area.
Associated with its builder, Oliver DeLaurier, and with his descendants, the house was variously used as a neighborhood tavern, for local parties and for community dances. Architecturally unassuming, the building reflects the owners' resourcefulness in the various alterations and improvements visible within.
The reclamation of marshland led to Point Pelee becoming one of Canada's finest agricultural areas in the latter half of the 19th century. The house and nearby barn are important as the only surviving examples of the agricultural and domestic activity of early Point Pelee.
Character Defining Elements
The heritage character of the DeLaurier House resides in its form, construction materials, fenestration and detailing, evolutionary development and surviving interior layout, and in the character of its setting within the National Park.
The DeLaurier House is a two-storey gabled building with simple massing. The original configuration of two separate log houses with their intermediate space (originally a breezeway) continues to be expressed on the exterior, as there are two roof pitches evident. The wood clad greenhouse, a later addition, is well integrated with the house.
Alterations which would obscure the evidence of the building's evolution should be avoided. Similarly, the ad hoc, informal nature of window and door placement should be respected as an expression of the buildings physical history.
The interior also illustrates the building's evolutionary nature, having undergone substantial alterations. It was modified for use by two families in the early 1900s with the installation of a kitchen and dining room to the east side of the house, the removal of the northern fireplace and the alteration of staircases and living areas. The interior has since been renovated to accommodate interpretive programs. Any further interior modifications should be preceded by investigation and documentation of the early configuration and finishes.
The house is located along the western edge of the marsh lands of the sandspit, and is approached along a boardwalk. The landscaped setting has been modified to accommodate the current use of the property. However, it retains the basic features of its rural past. Every effort should be made to maintain the existing relationship between the house, the barn and the grounds.