Long known as "The Old Place", the Sir Frederick Borden house was designed in 1902 by the renowned architect William Critchlow Harris. Consisting of over 6,000 sq. ft. on a gently sloping riverside site of 13 acres, Harris's design is in the North American Shingle style, derivative of the British Arts and Crafts movement, its overall form derived from the late 19th-century Queen Anne Revival. A trend setting architectural style in its day, displaying an unembellished simplicity, with strong references to nature, and placing natural materials in the forefront of its design, this turreted, asymmetrical, sprawling mansion's history is quintessentially Canadian. Sir Frederick Borden was a rural doctor in Canning, member of parliament and Canadian Minister of Militia under Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier, and first cousin to Cdn Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden. The British born architect, William Harris, was the brother of Canada's foremost portrait artist of the late 19th century, Robert Harris. William Harris established his reputation in both ecclesiastical and domestic projects and this example of his work is unique. The original, smaller, symmetrical structure in the Gothic Revival style which once stood on this site faced the road and was constructed by the shipbuilder Jacob Lockhart in 1864. It was purchased by Dr. Borden in 1881. From the road, the decorative gothic barge boards and multiple gables remain, however, Harris recreated the new facade of the greatly enlarged house to view a designed "natural landscape" of trees and new plant varieties, out across open fields and the river to the countryside beyond. The home's commodious principal rooms showcase rich woodwork, including paneled walls and ceilings, stained glass, fireside inglenooks, grand front reception hall with fireplace, double living-room with tin ceiling, paneled library with fireplace, and large dining-room with stone fireplace and round bay extending into the first floor of the turret.
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