Notice of Intention to Designate Erchless Estate

Thursday, September 12, 2019

On September 9, 2019, Oakville Town Council resolved to pass a Notice of Intention to Designate the following property under Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.18, as amended, as a property of cultural heritage value and interest: Erchless Estate, Cultural Heritage Landscape 8 Navy Street, 110-114 King Street, Oakville, Ontario PIN 24779-0138 (8 Navy Street) PCL 6-2-53, SEC H-1 ; BLKS 83 & 84, PL 1 , PT LT 6, BLK 53, PL 1 , PT LT 7, BLK 53, PL 1 , PT LT 8, BLK 53, PL 1 , PT LT 4, BLK 55, PL 1 , PT LT 1, BLK 85, PL 1 , PT LT 2, BLK 85, PL 1 , PT LT 3, BLK 85, PL 1 , PT LT 4, BLK 85, PL 1 ; PT FRONT ST, PL 1 , LYING BETWEEN SWLY LIMIT OF NAVY ST AND NWLY PRODUCTION OF THE SELY LIMIT OF BLOCK 85 ; PT OF WATER ST, AND UNNAMED ST LYING BTN BLKS 55 AND 85, THE UNNAMED STS E OF BLKS 84 AND 85, AND A STRIP OF UNDESIGNATED LAND LYING SE OF BLKS 83 AND 84, PL 1 (TOWN OF OAKVILLE), PT2, 20R19 ; SAVING AND EXCEPTING AND RESERVING THE FREE USAGE, PASSAGE AND ENJOYMENT OF, IN, OVER AND UPON ALL NAVIGABLE WATERS WHICH SHALL OR MAY BE HEREAFTER FOUND ON OR UNDER OR BE FLOWING THROUGH OR UPON ANY PART OF THE ABOVE LANDS, AS IN THE ORIGINAL GRANT FROM THE CROWN ; OAKVILLE

Erchless Estate is known municipally as 8 Navy Street and 110-114 King Street. Located on the west side of Navy Street, south of King Street and north of Lake Ontario, the property is adjacent to Oakville Harbour and Sixteen Mile Creek on the west, and Old Oakville Heritage Conservation District on the east. The 1.6 hectare (4.0 acre) estate includes a variety of 19th, 20th and 21st century buildings and structures and carefully designed gardens.

Erchless Estate is a designed cultural heritage landscape. The property has significance as a rare and representative example of an early 19th century lakefront estate; because it is historically linked to the founding of Oakville and with Oakville’s founding family, the Chisholms; as a public park that is physically, functionally, visually and historically linked to its surroundings; and, as a location important to the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. The entire property is protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust Easement Agreement and is the location of multiple publicly known archaeological sites.

Erchless Estate has design and physical value as a representative example of a designed cultural heritage landscape. The property is notable for its elevated natural embankment; its viewscapes; its natural heritage attributes; its structures; and, its landscaping and hardscaping features. As the principal structure on the property, Erchless was deliberately placed at the apex of the elevated natural embankment overlooking Lake Ontario, the mouth of Oakville Harbour, and Sixteen Mile Creek. Just as deliberately, the property’s lesser, functional outbuildings were relegated to the less visually prominent part of the property. The placement of the various structures resulted in significant views and vistas to, from, and between the buildings, the lake, the harbour, and the creek. The property’s early 20th century rock garden is a representative and early example of the work of renowned Canadian landscape architects, Dunington-Grubb and Stensson. The rock garden, combined with the property’s variety of mature trees, shrubs, and gardens displays a high degree of craftsmanship and artistic merit.

The placement and design of the buildings, stone walls, pathways, and plantings result in significant viewscapes and represent a successful integration of architecture and landscape. Collectively, the result is a relationship between site and structures which demonstrates a high degree of craftsmanship and artistic merit and represents significant design value. Architecturally significant structures on the property include Erchless and the Coach House and Gardener’s Cottage. Erchless is comprised of the Italianate style 1828 brick Store, the c.1839 and 1858 residential additions, the 1856 Classical Revival style Custom House, and the c.1861 brick garden wall which links the residential and commercial portions of the structure. The late 19th century Coach House and Gardener’s Cottage was constructed in the Shingle style of architecture. Collectively, these structures display a high degree of craftsmanship and artistic merit. Also on the property is the 1952 Cottage structure, which is an amalgamation of two separate residential buildings, and is an example of mid-20th century vernacular style construction.

Erchless Estate has historical and associative value because of its direct associations with early 19th century commercial development and town building. In 1834, when Oakville was declared a Port of Entry, the first Customs House was opened on the property, and in the process it became the location of the first permanent government presence in Oakville. The property has historical and associative value through its direct associations with Oakville’s founding family, the Chisholms. Various members of the Chisholm family lived at Erchless for many years, including Colonel William Chisholm (1788–1842) the founder of Oakville; William’s son, Robert Kerr Chisholm (1819–1899) businessman, and politician; and, Hazel Elizabeth (Chisholm) Hart Mathews (1897–1978), author and founder of Oakville Historical Society.

The property yields, or has the potential to yield, information that contributes to an understanding of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN) who, as the area’s pre-contact Indigenous inhabitants, have identified the property as an area of interest; and, to early 19th century lakefront estate development activities in Oakville. Further, Erchless Estate demonstrates or reflects the work of Canadian Architects Dick and Wickson; and, of Landscape Architects Dunington-Grubb and Stensson, who defined the early years of the Canada’s landscape and horticulture industry.

Erchless Estate has contextual value as a publicly accessible property which defines, maintains, and supports the character of the area. As the location of Oakville Museum, Oakville Historical Society, and a public park, the property remains physically, functionally, visually, and historically linked to its surroundings including Oakville Harbour, Sixteen Mile Creek, Lakeside Park, and Old Oakville Heritage Conservation District. The property is a landmark within the Town of Oakville.

Key attributes of the designed cultural heritage landscape include its:

Erchless’ key exterior attributes include its:

Erchless’ key interior attributes including its:

The Coach House and Gardener’s Cottage’s key exterior attributes including its:

The Coach House and Gardener’s Cottage’s key interior attributes including its:

The Cottage’s key exterior attributes include its:

The Cottage’s key interior attributes, found in the section built for Dr. Juliet (Chisholm) Turney, including the:

Any objection to this designation must be filed no later than October 15, 2019. Objections should be directed to the Town Clerk, 1225 Trafalgar Road, Oakville, Ontario, L6H 0H3.

Further information respecting this proposed designation is available from the Town of Oakville. Any inquiries may be directed to Susan Schappert, heritage planner at 905-845-6601, ext. 3870 (TTY 905-338-4200), or by email at

The last date to file a notice of objection is October 15, 2019.