Everybody in and around Aldershot knows the house. It’s the large, 19th century brick home at 1134 Plains Road East across from Mapleview Mall. Now, Burlington’s Heritage Advisory Committee is asking the owner to commit to allowing the City to designate the house under the Ontario Heritage Act.
The Committee took the position recently after reviewing a Heritage Impact Assessment prepared for owner and developer, the Molinaro Group.
“The Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee appreciated the actions detailed in the Heritage Impact Study to preserve the original C.G. Davis House and would like to see the developer/owner of the property commit to allowing the City to designate the Davis House as soon as it has been moved”.
Molinaro is proposing to build 1,159 new residential units in four towers on the 4-acre site at the north west corner of Plains Road East and Fairview Street. Their plan includes the restoration of the old house, removal of the additions, relocation to a “more prominent exposure fronting on Fairview Street” and to then use it for offices.
The Queen Anne style house is already listed in the City’s Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Resources, but it is not formally designated and therefore, ultimately, not protected. The problem is that only City Council can designate the house and Council has proven reluctant to force designation on private property owners in the past. Molinaro would have to agree.
The two storey brick house is known as the Charles .G. Davis house is also called “Woodland Terrace”. It was constructed around 1814 for Asahel Davis, one of the United Empire Loyalists. He established a large farm on his property.
Author Martha Craig wrote in her 1902 book THE GARDEN OF CANADA that “From the roof of (this house) you can see 3,000 acres of fruit trees.”
Asahel’s descendants were among the individuals who founded the nearby Union Burying Grounds with nine other families.
The Heritage Assessment found that, although the house itself is not architecturally exceptional, it does still have cultural value and interest as required under the Ontario Heritage Act.
It is the relationship to the nearby loyalist cemetery that reinforced the point.
“Historically, the associations with the Union Burying Grounds are linked to Asahal Davis and his family that are located 600 meters away, down Fairview Street. Additionally, it can be proclaimed that this property has acted as a landmark in the past because of Martha Craig’s description,” according to the Heritage Assessment.
The term landmark may have been a reference to Plains Road.
“The house is important in defining the character of the area of Plains Road East in Burlington which was originally a rural road providing access to the farms situated along it as change continues around it.
The Heritage Assessment, paid for by the developer, does not suggest designation.
Molinaro has submitted its formal redevelopment application to the City. Approval requires amendments to the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw. So far, the developer has not addressed the designation issue.
Proposed Molinaro development application now before the City