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Georgian Grandeur in Holland Landing: The Sloane House (1836)

Holland Landing has many grand, stately homes, almost all of which are honored with a heritage designation. The one that we are going to be highlighting is one of the very oldest houses. Do you know where it is located? Don’t worry, we will be informing you at the end of this post!

The first settler who owned the land was a prominent businessman named Peter Robinson, who owned several grist mills in the area. In 1826, he sold a piece of the land located on Lot 10, Plan 98 near Yonge Street to a man named William J. Sloane. He was born in Scotland in about 1799, and came to Canada at some unknown time, possibly in the 1830's. In the 1851 census of Canada West, his occupation was listed as “postmaster”, and he was 54 years of age. The members of his family were his wife Jane Sloane (45). and his four children. His children were Nenis (17), James (15), Sarah (9), and Elisabeth (7). In a census which occurred in 1861, he is still living with Jane Sloane, 54, and his daughters Sarah (18) and Elisabeth (16). Presumably his sons had moved to different places by this time. In the 1861 census, he is listed as owning 1 cow, 1 horse and 1 carriage “for Pleasure” at that time. These items were valued at $80.

Figure 1: Front view of the Sloane house, probably taken in the 1980's.

Now, we know that this is an old house, because of a stone set into the base of the north-eastern wall which reads “W-J-S-1836”, meaning that this house is one-hundred and eighty years old. This type of house is a Georgian style house; these types of houses are supposed to be seen when “surrounded by a landscape and usually viewed from a natural-looking oblique angle”. [1] It is also characterized by a rectangular floor plan and a blocky exterior. One unique feature of this building is that each side of the roof has a gabled end with a parapet jutting out from either side. The inside of the structure boasts ten-foot ceilings, and you can get to every part of the house from the spacious front hall. The basement used to have two root cellars, and an area that once functioned as a kitchen. Also, did you know that each window has twenty-four panes of glass set into their frames?

Figure 2: Rear view of the Sloane house, likely taken in the 1980's. Note the stone foundation at the bottom of the house.

This imposing home certainly speaks to the wealth and status of William Sloane in the 1830’s. The family owned this house until 1905, when it was purchased by John L. Gibson. It remained in the Gibson name until 1927 when it was purchased by Mary S. Hunt, and then the house was sold to a Mr. Davy in 1939.

To see the house in person, you need to go south on Yonge Street past the Nokiidaa trail and turn onto Chapman Street, where it is the first house on the right side of the street. If anyone knows who lives in that house now, let them know that their house has been profiled on the library’s blog!

[1] Wright, Janet. (2011). “The Architecture of the Picturesque in Canada”. Ottawa: Parks Canada. Page 20. Retrieved from https://www.historicplaces.ca/media/24635/picturesquecanada.pdf

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