Oakville's Private Gardens and Estate Parks, 1914-1939
Pleasance Crawford Residency
introduction bring in photos lecture series garden analysis portfolio chronology bibliography links contacts sitescope

Compiled by Pleasance Crawford

Version of 27 October 2004


The oldest part of present-day 1341 Lakeshore E. is constructed.

Site Scope: Views on Gairloch Gardens Then and Now (Oakville, ON: Oakville Galleries: 2003).


Col. William Chisholm purchases 960 acres around the mouth of Sixteen Mile Creek and begins to develop the harbour and the village as a community of merchants, shipbuilders, and settlers.


Ca 1830

Barnett Griggs Inn, at present-day 1475 Lakeshore E.,  becomes a stopover midway between Toronto and Hamilton.

Oakville LACAC, Designated Buildings (March 2002), 9.


Cox Estate Pioneer Cemetery, between nos. 143 and 147 on present-day Wedgewood Drive, is established.

Site Scope (OG: 2003).


W.G. MacKendrick’s parents settle in the Galt area.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 7.

Ca 1850

William Orr builds the house, later known as the Cox Estate, at 1409 Lakeshore E.

Oakville LACAC, Designated Buildings (March 2002), 31.


Robert Kerr Chisholm, son of William Chisholm, builds his house at the foot of Navy Street, Oakville.



The Town of Oakville is incorporated.



[Oakville “has become quite a favourite watering place, being thronged in the summer season with visitors who have come to enjoy its salubrious air and healthful fruits. There are quite a number of cottages built for the accommodation of guests, and some families come from as far as Texas . . .”

“Town of Oakville,” Illustrated Historical Atlas of Halton County Ontario (Toronto: Walker & Miles, 1877), 32-33.

1879, spring.

Letters Patent are issued in April to The Toronto Park Association for what will become Lorne Park Estates, and Lorne Park officially opens as a pleasure ground on the Queen’s Birthday.

Lorne Park Estates Historical Committee, A Village Within a City: The story of Lorne Park Estates (Cheltenham, ON: Boston Mills Press, 1980), 19.


W.G. MacKendrick marries Sarah Corinne King of Goderich.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 8.


The Toronto and Lorne Park Summer Resort Co. is incorporated.

Lorne Park Estates Historical Committee, (1980), 31.

Ca 1886

The Morrison Brothers construct the house at present-day 1189 Lakeshore E.

Oakville LACAC, Designated Buildings (March 2002), 81.


W.G. MacKendrick, representing the Toronto Canoe Club, wins the trophy for all-round canoist at an international boating competition.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 7.


W.G. MacKendrick is hired by the Warren- Scharf Paving Company to work on road construction in various US cities.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 8.


M.O. Hammond (Melvin Ormond Hammond: 1876-1934) becomes the Clarkson correspondent for the Oakville Star.

Archives of Ontario (AO), M.O. Hammond – Biography.


An illustrated three-page article entitled “Oakville . . . by the Lake” occupies all of pages 1-3 in The Saturday Globe, Toronto, Sat. July 15, 1893. Page 3 includes a photo captioned “Summer residence of Mr. James Boomer, Mngr. Manchester Insurance Company, Toronto.”

AO, N 11, R 115 p.


About native oaks, Henry Scadding writes: “Oakville is also a reminiscence of this tree, as an object noticeable along the north shore of our lake.”

AO, Pamphlet 1893, no. 28. Scadding, Henry. Survivors of the Forest in Toronto: A Paper Read before The Canadian Institute, Toronto, November 25th, 1893.

1897, June

A letter from W.G. MacKendrick about paving techniques appears in Canadian Architect and Builder.

Canadian Architect and Builder 10 (June 1897): 109.

Circa 1900

Oakville Museum “has in its collection a series of photographs of the Holyrood Estate, dating to c. 1900.”

E-mail correspondence, Deborah Hudson to Teresa Casas, 15 June 2004.

By 1901

The MacKendricks own a summer residence on Centre Island. The address—according to a 1912 story in The Canadian Horticulturist—is 7 Chippewa Ave.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 17; A.K. Goodman, “Canadian Gardens—The MacKendrick Garden, The Canadian Horticulturist (May 1912): 119.


A book about Burlington, Oakville, and area includes good pre-1902 photos of residences in the area, plus an informative text.

Martha Craig, The Garden of Canada: Burlington, Oakville and District (Toronto: Wm. Briggs, 1902; reprod. 1973.


Picturesque Oakville (Toronto: Bryan & Long, Publishers, 1904), a 14-page booklet, advertises “this picturesque place, aptly termed ‘The Saratoga of Ontario’ [has] a permanent population of 2,000, and largely augmented during the summer season. . . . A pleasing feature are the numerous fruit and flower gardens surrounding the various homes.”

AO, Pamphlets 1904, no. 54.


George Herbert Wood and James Henry Gundy leave Dominion Securities to found their own investment-dealing business, Wood, Gundy & Co.

Canadian Business Web site,“Top 75 Companies: 51. Wood Gundy,” accessed 10/8/04.


Oakville Record and Oakville News are established.



James Ryrie (Toronto jeweler) buys the land for his country place, Edgemere.



The MacKendricks move into a new house at 41 Hawthorne Ave. in South Rosedale.



The Oakville [yacht] Club opens.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 18.

1908, Dec.

Edgemere, Ryrie’s country home designed by the Toronto architectural firm of Burke & Horwood, appears in Construction.

Construction (Dec. 1908): 32-35.

By 1909

Herbert C. Cox (a Canada Life Assurance Company executive) buys land for Ennisclare (the property immediately east of what was to become Gairloch). He subsequently sets up a polo ground on this estate.



A local businessman builds Raymar.


Before 1909, Dec.

Charles Ernest Woolverton, landscape architect, Grimsby, ON, has “prepared plans for the James Ryrie estate, Oakville . . .”

C. Ernest Woolverton, “Welland’s Possibilities and Its Opportunities . . .,” Welland Telegraph Dec. 28, 1909, p. 1.


The MacKendricks begin buying property in Trafalgar Township. This “gradual acquisition of 400 acres of farm property” continues to 1922.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 2, 32, 34, 41.

By 1910

The MacKendricks move into their new house at 255 East Roxborough Street [now Roxborough Drive, east of Mt. Pleasant].



Herbert C. Cox has the large, white-stucco-clad house at present-day 40 Cox Drive built on his summer property, Ennisclare. It is designed in the Colonial Revival style by the Toronto architectural firm of Sproatt and Rolph.

Oakville LACAC, Designated Buildings (March 2002), 98.

1910, April

The developers of Tuxedo Park, Oakville, place a series of large display ads, plus an advertorial, in The Toronto World.

The Toronto World, April 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, and 23, 1910.

1910, Apr. 23

Prospective buyers attend Visitors’ Day at Tuxedo Park, Oakville.

The Toronto World, April 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, and 23, 1910.

1910, July 7

W.G. MacKendrick writes the Daily Star about the dangerous condition of East Roxborough Street.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 30.

1910, Aug. 19

Members of the Toronto Hrticultural Society visit the MacKendrick gardens on Centre Island.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 36.

1911, Jan.

Advertisements for John Cavers’ Douglas Gardens, Oakville, begin to appear in The Canadian Horticulturist. These 1/6-page ads are always in the upper right-hand corner of a right-hand page.

The Canadian Horticulturist 34, 1 (Jan. 1911).


W.G. MacKendrick succeeds James Wilson as president of the Toronto Horticultural Society.

AO, MU 4557, folder 9, Toronto Horticultural Society year-book for 1912, p. 60.


Sir Edmund Walker and John S.H. Guest co-found Appleby College on a 32-acre parcel of land in Oakville.

Appleby College Web site, “The Archives: A Brief History of Appleby,” accessed 10/8/04.


William MacKendrick’s garden at 7 Chippewa Ave., Toronto Island, is featured in The Canadian Horticulturist.

A.K. Goodman, “Canadian Gardens—The MacKendrick Garden, The Canadian Horticulturist (May 1912): 119.


W.G. MacKendrick is president of the Toronto Horticultural Society (THS), serves on its Publicity Committee, and represents it on the Toronto Guild of Civic Art. Both he and Mrs. MacKendrick have been life members of the THS since 1910. In 1912 he donates $10.00 to the prize list, and she “donates a Silver Cup (value $100) and a Gold Medal . . .”

  “Much of the present success and present large membership of the Society can be attributed to the hard work and pleasing personality of our present president, Mr. W.G. Mackendrick [sic].”

  The MacKendricks’ address is given as 255 E. Roxborough St. [now 55 Roxborough Dr. E.?]

  Two photographs at his Toronto Island home are also included: 1) the rustic pergola, p. 4, and 2) the fountain area, p. 27.


J.H. Gundy, Chestnut Farm, Oakville, is also listed as a member of the THS.

AO, MU 4557, folder 9, Toronto Horticultural Society year-book for 1912, pp. 2, 4, 8, 18, 27, 60.


William MacKendrick is not listed in H.J. Morgan’s Canadian Men and Women of the Time (Toronto: William Briggs, 1912).



Dunington-Grubb & Harries, Toronto landscape architects, work on “Plans for general arrangement and planting” for J.H. Gundy’s Holyrude [sic], Oakville.

AO, RG 8-5-A1, Provincial Secretary’s Correspondence, #61, “Harries & Hall,” 1919 list.

1913, Feb.

W.G. and Sarah MacKendrick go on a Mediterranean cruise.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 45.

1913, spring

Advertisements for Auburn Nurseries, Simcoe, Queenston, and Oakville, appear in The Canadian Horticulturist.

The Canadian Horticulturist 13, 3 (Mar. 1913): 73 and 13, 4 (Apr. 1913): 105.

1913, June 6

The MacKendricks celebrate their 20th anniversary with an “At Home” at 255 E. Roxborough for 300 guests


1913, Dec.?

Sarah King MacKendrick dies.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 34.


Traffic jams are already “a constant problem along the sixty-five kilometer stretch of Lake Shore Road between Toronto and Hamilton.”

Robert M. Stamp, QEW: Canada’s First Superhighway (Erin, ON: Boston Mills Press, 1987), 13.

1915, Nov.

W.G. MacKendrick marries Sarah’s sister Clara, who had served as housekeeper since Sarah’s death.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 34.

1915, late

The MacKendricks go to London, where the British War Office makes him a captain with the Canadian Corps, building roads in Flanders.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 46.


Toronto-Hamilton Highway Commission paves Lakeshore Road through Oakville.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 2, 6.5; THHC photos date-stamped 1915.


W.S. Davis, Agent, publishes Brantwood: Beautifully Located, Healthful Surroundings, Inviting Vistas with City Conveniences (Oakville: Cumberland Land Company, Limited, 1916).

Copy owned by Oakville Historical Society.

1916, Oct. 8

Gordon MacKendrick is killed in action in France.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 47.


The Toronto-Hamilton Highway, six meters wide and paved with concrete, is officially opened. It is a first for Canada.

Stamp, 15.


Sir Frank Baillie, Crescent Road, Toronto, buys Glenleigh, a Lakeshore E. property formerly owned by Claude C. Heaven, then John Wheelock Allen. Baillie renames the property Lisonally Farm.



Hamilton architects Munro and Mead design a Tudor-style gatehouse for Ballymena, belonging to W.F. Eaton (a son of Timothy Eaton. Harries & Hall produce “Plans for arrangement, planting, drainage, and sewage disposal; construction work.”

Site Scope (OG: 2003); AO, “Harries & Hall,” 1919 list.

1927, 22 Sept.

The first roadside markets on the Toronto-Hamilton highway—the Clarkson Highway Market and Farmer Trenwith’s Market—open at Clarkson.

“Roadside Market Opened at Clarkson on Hamilton Highway,” Toronto Star, Sept. 29, 1917, p. 21.

1917, fall

Erik Erickson of Oakville assumes control of Douglas Gardens and advertises that he “will continue it on the same lines as the late Mr. John Cavers.”

The Canadian Horticulturist 40, 9 (Sept. 1917): 256 and 40, 10 (Oct. 1917): 280.


Annual of Rose of Society of Ontario publishes a photographic “View of Mr. Aubrey Heward’s Garden, Oakville,” and lists Aubrey D. Heward, Wilton Farm, Oakville, as an annual member appears.


Annual of Rose Society of Ontario, 1918, opp. p. 14; 92.

Before 1919

Harries & Hall, Toronto landscape architects, work on  “Topography, plans for arrangement, planting, drainage and sewage disposal, [and] construction work” for Mrs. Timothy Eaton’s estate, [formerly A,B. Gordon’s Raymar], Oakville.

AO, “Harries & Hall,” 1919 list.

Before 1919

Harries & Hall, Toronto landscape architects, work on “Plans for general arrangement, grading and planting; construction work” for A.P. Turner’s Ashburnham estate, Oakville.

AO, “Harries & Hall,” 1919 list.

Before 1919

Harries & Hall, Toronto landscape architects, work on “Plans for arrangement, planting, sewage disposal, and shore protection; [and] construction work” for J.J. Vaughan’s estate, Oakville.

AO, “Harries & Hall,” 1919 list

Before 1919

Harries & Hall, Toronto landscape architects, with A.M. Kruse, associate, design “Rose garden, entrance from highway, pool” for A.B. Gordon’s Raymar, Oakville.

Construction (Aug. 1921).

Circa 1920

Harries & Hall, Toronto landscape architects, with A.M. Kruse, associate, design the entrance area and grounds of W.R.P. Parker’s Riverwood, Erindale.

Construction (July 1921): 192-197.

Circa 1920

H.B. and L.A. Dunington-Grubb design the rock garden for Emelda (Mrs. J.) Chisholm of Erchless Estate, Oakville.

“As-Found Inventory of the Dunington-Grubb/Sheridan Nurseries Photographic Collection” (1998), Drawer #1, under “Chisholm,” and #3, under “C.”

Before 1921

Harries & Hall, Toronto landscape architects, with A.M. Kruse, associate, work on Lord and Lady Flavelle’s  [formerly A.P. Turner’s] Ashburnham estate, Oakville.

Construction (Aug. 1921).

Before 1921

Harries & Hall, Toronto landscape architects, work on W.T. Stirling’s estate, Oakville.

AO, “Harries & Hall,” 1919 list

1921, Jan. 2

Sir Frank Baillie (b. 1875 in Toronto, ON) dies in Toronto, predeceasing his wife and five children.

“Baillie Family in Oakville” Web site, accessed 10/8/04.


James Ryrie moves the ca 1844 Joshua Leach house to its present site, 1493 Lakeshore E., for use by his estate manager.

Oakville LACAC, Designated Buildings (March 2002), 19.


W.G. MacKendrick begins construction of Chestnut Point.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 33.


Mazo de la Roche is “living with her father as he attempted to run a farm near the village of Bronte, now part of Oakville.” She tells her publisher that Possession, her 1923 novel, reflects Oakville and environs in the early 20th century.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 4.


H.G. Wells lives mainly in France.

www.online-literature.com/wellshg/ accessed 25/2/04.

1924, June

The Oakville Follies, White Oak IODE’s garden party, are held at Lady Baillie’s Oakville estate, Lisonally Farm.

“Oakville Girls Dance . . .,” Toronto Star, June 19, 1924, p. 16, c. 5.

1924, Aug.

M.O. Hammond takes three photographs of A.S. Forester house and garden, all showing the latter’s Oakville home landscape.

AO 6824, F 1075 (Hammond Collection), H 870- 872.

1926? ??

William MacKendrick purchases part of lots 7 & 8, Con. 4, Trafalgar Township

Halton County, Instrument no. 15711.

1926, Aug.

According to “’Chestnut Point’, Residence of Col. W.G. MacKendrick near Oakville, Ontario,” the “house and gardens [have been] designed and executed by its owner.”

Canadian Homes and Gardens (Aug. 1926).

1926, Oct. 7

M.O. Hammond takes two photographs of the “Old Forster House, Oakville” and one of the “Old Lucas House, Oakville.”

AO, F 1075 (Hammond Collection), H 1514-1515, 1517.

by 1927

“Mackendrick [sic], Col. W.G., D.S.O., Chestnut Point, Oakville, Ont.,” appears in the Rose Society’s “List of Members: Life Members.” [He was not listed in 1918; I have not checked years in between.]

Year Book of The Rose Society of Ontario, 1927, p. 81.

1927, Jan.

The mature landscape of James Ryrie’s Edgemere, Oakville, appears in Canadian Homes and Gardens.

Adele M. Gianelli, “’Edgemere’, Country Estate of James Ryrie, Esq.,” Canadian Homes and Gardens 4, 1 (Jan. 1927): 34-35, 62-63.

1928, Feb.

The house and grounds of J. Allan Ross, Oakville, appear in Canadian Homes and Gardens.

“Preserving Traditions of Colonial Dignity,” Canadian Homes and Gardens (Feb. 1928):

1929, Jan.

Oakville council approves resolutions initiating building restrictions in certain parts of town.

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 3.


Work begins on the rock garden in Burlington (which becomes part of the Royal Botanical Gardens in 1932) and on the sunken garden on the McMaster campus in Hamilton.

“More About RBG: Gardens’ History,” RBG Web site.

1929, June

Two hundred attend Lady Baillie’s daughter’s wedding reception in the garden at Lisonally Farm, Oakville.

“Lisonally Farm, Beautiful Country Home . . .,” Toronto Star, June 15, 1929, p. 17, c. 1-8.


The pool house at Ballymena is constructed.

Site Scope (OG: 2003).


The bridge spanning the waterway between Burlington Bay and Cootes Paradise is opened.

“More About RBG: Gardens’ History,” RBG Web site.

By 1935

“Major Marlett, garden, Oakville, by Fred Carr, landscape architect, Oakville” is the caption accompanying the photograph of a rock garden in The Studio Garden Annual 1935.

F.A. Mercer, ed. Gardens & Gardening: The Studio Garden Annual 1935 (London and New York: The Studio, 1935), 36.


The Oakville Star (since 1883) becomes the Oakville Record Star, to remain in publication through 1962.



The Royal Botanical Gardens is established in Burlington.


July 1937

Canadian Homes and Gardens publishes photos of the landscape designed by Arthur M. Kruse, landscape architect, for Mr. and Mrs. John E. Hammell, Edgemere, Oakville.

Canadian Homes and Gardens, July 1937 & Mar 1938, p. 24.


The Queen Elizabeth Way opens.


Oct. 1940

Canadian Homes and Gardens publishes photos of the landscape designed by A.M. Kruse, landscape architect, for Robert McMullen, Armagh, Clarkson.

Canadian Homes and Gardens, Oct. 1940.

Early 1940s

Lady Baillie’s house at Lisonally Farm burns down and is replaced by a more modern one of white clapboard.



Ballymena is purchased by Ray Lawson (industrialist and, from 1946 to 1952, Lt.-Gov. of Ontario).



The Colonial Crescent subdivision is constructed west of Gairloch Gardens.

Site Scope (OG: 2003).


Storm damage necessitates the rebuilding of the Town of Oakville’s waterfront/breakwater/lighthouse area.

AO, Pamphlets 1904, no. 54, enclosed clipping from the Toronto Globe, 1947.


J.H. Gundy dies.



Hazel Matthews, great granddaughter of William Chisholm, founds the Oakville Historical Society.


1954, 16 Oct.

Hurricane Hazel hits southern Ontario. “The story goes that [it] caused serious damage to W.G. MacKendrick’s garden.”

Teresa Casas, Untitled report (June 2004), 55.


The White Oak Society (after 1962, the Oakville Horticultural Society) is formed

Dodds and Markle, The Story of Ontario Horticultural Societies (Picton, ON: Picton Gazette, 1973), 212.


William MacKendrick dies.



James A. Gairdner purchases MacKendrick’s Chestnut Point estate and renames it “Gairloch.”



Oakville annexes the properties along Lakeshore east of Gairloch, which had heretofore been the southernmost part of Trafalgar Township.

Site Scope (OG: 2003).

1960s or ‘70s

A large section of Lisonally Farm on the east side is subdivided.



The entrance drive to Ennisclare becomes Cox Drive, the spine of a new subdivision.

Site Scope (OG: 2003).


GO train service begins.


1965, March

Lady Edith Baillie (b. 1877 in Bracebridge, ON) dies in Oakville.

“Baillie Family in Oakville” Web site, accessed 10/8/04.


After being in the Chisholm family for six generations, the four-acre Erchless estate is sold out of the family.



James A. Gairdner dies. He had bequeathed his Gairloch estate to the Town.



The conversion of Gairloch into a public park, Gariloch Gardens, provides public access to the waterfront.

Site Scope (OG: 2003).


The Town of Oakville purchases the Erchless estate for $550,000.



Gairloch Gallery and the Centennial Gallery are amalgamated to form Oakville Galleries.



David and Suzanne Peacock’s Old Oakville: A character study of the town’s early buildings & of the men who Built them is published (Willowdale, ON: John White and Anthony Hawke).



Frances Robin Ahern’s Oakville: A Small Town, 1900-1930 is published by the Oakville Historical Society and Boston Mills Press.



Helen Knibb is involved in research for an exhibition on Oakville Gardens, 1900-1930.

Communication from   Linda Marshall, Hortulus Books, to Pleasance Crawford, Sept. 14, 1982.


The Customs House on the Erchless estate is restored and opened as the Oakville Museum.



The garage at Gairloch Gardens is converted into an educational centre.

Site Scope (OG: 2003).


Judy Margles, as curator of the Oakville Museum, writes a catalogue essay for the exhibition, Vision and Vista, Eminent Lakeshore Homes. The exhibit is on display Sept. ’86 to Mar. ’87.

Site Scope (OG: 2003).


The Chisholm family home on the Erchless estate is restored to its 1920s appearance.



The Chisholm family home on the Erchless estate opened to the public.



The Edgemere house is demolished.



The exterior of the Coach House on the Erchless estate is restored.



John Simkins of Oakville, a noted peony expert and hybridizer, founds the Canadian Peony Society.

Lillian Newberry, “Peonies on Parade,” <www.canoe.ca/LifewiseHomeandYardLillian> accessed 3/30/04.

2002, March

The Oakville LACAC publishes Town of Oakville. Designated Buildings. Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act.



Hugo Powell, CEO of Interbrew, submits plans to build Chelster Hall, the 5,047-square-meter single-family home on a ten-acre site on Bel Air Drive.

Site Scope (OG: 2003).


Teresa Casas of Oakville Galleries produces Site Scope: Views on Gairloch Gardens Then and Now: a historical introduction to Gairloch Gardens that includes walking tours both east and west of the property.

 Site Scope (OG: 2003).