Heritage map pinpoints Kitchener's pre-Confederation properties
Heritage Kitchener map includes 44 properties more than 150 years old
Michelle Drake stands at the intersection of Ellen Street West and Queen Street North in Kitchener's Civic Centre heritage district on a sunny, summer afternoon.
She points to a Georgian-style house that was once coral colour, now painted white — one of 44 buildings on a new heritage map of houses in Kitchener built before Canada's Confederation in 1867.
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"We don't know a whole lot about the history of this site other than its approximate age of being built sometime between 1852 and 1855 and that the bricks that were used to build the house may have [come] from a brick maker whose property was in behind the house," said Drake, the city's senior heritage and policy planner.
Across the road is a large brick home that stands out because the lower half of the house is a different colour from the top.
It was originally, architecturally speaking, an Ontario cottage: a single storey house, built by Dr. John Scott. Thirty years after it was built, druggist John Hoffman bought it and added the second floor and the Italianate features to the structure.
"In all likelihood, when he added that second storey, the building was probably painted to hide the fact that there were two different coloured bricks, likely because he couldn't find the original brick colour," Drake said.
Awareness of history
The map was created by Heritage Kitchener to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary.
For the month of July, many of the properties featured a sign to alert people walking by that the building has been standing for more than 150 years. Drake said about 80 per cent of the property owners were excited to take part in the project.
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More than houses
Many of the properties are still used today for residential purposes and the owners maintain the log, stone, clapboard and brick exteriors.
There are three properties that are the earliest cemeteries in Kitchener and four properties were once much larger farms, which creates a link to the city's rural roots.
The committee wanted to "create awareness about the heritage in our community so people can start to understand how Kitchener formed and the stories behind some the buildings that still exist today."