Courtesy of Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) - Cobourg Branch
The following is the Walking Tour included in a brochure titled Interesting people and Places and published by ACO in 2008. For the Introduction see Introduction to ACO Walking Tour. A link to the original ACO version in print friendly pdf format is at the bottom of this page.
There are three walks, West, East and North and a map colour coded showing the routes. A small version of the map is shown below and a full size version can be downloaded here (pdf format).
1 205 Third, "The Homelike Inn", c. 1844 Originally a private residence with second storey and south wing later additions.
King Street, west of George. On the north side, are a number of handsome and well-kept commercial buildings, dating from the mid-19th century. However, a closer look at King George court (6872), reveals it is not a restoration but an excellent example of new historic infill. Of particular interest are 78 and 80 King, which are original facades.
2 104 King Street West Cobourg Armoury. 1904. Cobourg has important military traditions, and this substantial building is an impressive example of Edwardian era institutional construction.
3 134 King West, c. 1848. The Clench family was well-known for the manufacture of fine furniture. Freeman S. Clench settled in Cobourg in 1820's and in 1848 built a fine Greek Revival residence, known as "The Chestnuts". Unfortunately, it has been severely defaced, but traces of its original elegance can be seen in the handsome pediment and fanlight making up the gable. One of F.S. Clench's daughters, Harriet, married Paul Kane, the eminent 19th century landscape artist, who earlier in his career had been employed in the furniture shop as a decorator. Another daughter, Eliza, married J.D. Armour, later a Chief Justice of Ontario.
4 142-144 King West, c. 1874. Behind this modern commercial facade, can be seen the vestiges of one of Cobourg's grander Second Empire style residences. Note the mansard roof, gables, and beautiful stained glass window.
5 128 Durham, "Lakehurst", 1832. This fine Georgian style house was built by James Calcutt and was later the home of J.D. Armour, a Chief Justice of Ontario and of the Supreme Court of Canada. Note the beautiful fan-transom doorway. Mr. Armour's portrait hangs in the Old Bailey Court room of Victoria Hall.
6 "Old Barracks", c. 1810. To the north of "Lakehurst" stands Cobourg's mystery building. It is eighty feet long and built of limestone, an unusual building material in Cobourg. According to tradition it was built as a military barracks as the threat of war with the Americans was increasing, although its design and material don't resemble such contemporary structures. Unfortunately archeological research has failed to reveal convincing evidence of the building's purpose or use, although it is known to have served in the 1830's as a storage shed for Mr. Calcutt's Brewery. The building is being restored by the Cobourg Museum Foundation.
7 177 King West, c. 1845. Another good example of a Greek revival style town house, a style brought to this area from New England. It retains its original exterior and interior period detail. Of particular interest are the exterior corner blocks of wood dressed to resemble stone.
8 212 King West, c. 1855. This handsome Ontario cottage has long been known as the birthplace of Oscar-winning Hollywood actress Marie Dressler. Completely restored, it now serves as Cobourg Tourist Office. Memorabilia from Marie Dressler's career and video clips from her movies are on display.
9 216 King West, c. 1850. An interesting Gentleman's Cottage erected by the Dickinson family. It is of Brunswick construction walls of wood with the boards placed one on top of the other.
10 250 Mathew, c. 1850. An early Cobourg house still almost intact, this charming Ontario Cottage built by Mathew Williams, who owned much of the land north of King and east of the street which now bears his first name. Of note are the substantial over-hanging eaves of the hipped roof which give it a hat-like quality. This form of roof was unique to the Cobourg area.
11 258 Mathew, c. 1840. This handsome clapboard saltbox house directly north of Williams' cottage is stylishly finished with good returning eaves and elaborate end boards. Both the houses at 250 and 258 have splendid doorways.
12 106 Bagot, c. 1850. This beautiful Greek Revival cottage was built by William H. Floyd. Constructed of brick, it has simple clean lines, with good returning eaves and a plain cornice. One can also see the off-centre doorway is a unique example of the extent to which the Greek Revival could go in elaborate detail.
13 110 Ontario South, "Illahee Lodge", 1878. A handsome lakeside house, once the home of William R. Riddell, who in 1877 received the first Bachelor of Science degree granted by Victoria College. Riddell later became an eminent lawyer and Justice of the Supreme Court of Ontario. Later, this house was the summer residence of Madame Soria, of New Orleans.
14 132 Ontario, 1862. The ornate porch and its handsome window are the main features of this interesting house built in 1862 by George Goodeve.
15 163 Ontario Street. The four Burnet brothers came to Cobourg in 1836 and quickly established themselves as the leading builders in the area, most notably of Victoria Hall. Each built a similar residence along the west side of Ontario Street, of which this house and 159 Ontario survive, although not as originally constructed.
16 181 Ontario Street. This home, built in 1844, was originally a cottage with later additions that increased its height to two stories with a truncated hip roof, front french door, decorative cast iron radiator covers on the interior main floor and decorative plaster mouldings in the ground floor hallway, dining room and kitchen.
King West, Ontario to Forth. Here is a row of good houses illustrating a variety of architectural styles, construction and materials. The houses date from the mid-1840's to the mid-1850's.
17 173 Tremaine, "Mount Fortune" 1844. This splendid Greek Revival home at one time served as an officers' mess for the Cobourg Cavalry Regiment. The porch treillage and moulded brick cornice are worthy of note. It was owned in the 1860's by James Fortune, one-time sheriff of the District.
18 445 Monk, "The Hill" 1844. This house occupies one of the finest locations in Cobourg, on a treed point of land jutting out into Lake Ontario. Its history is of special interest, having been built for Winkworth Tremaine, a local merchant who gave his name to the neighbouring street. Later, it became the home of William Weller, who, at the peak of his influence in the 1850's, controlled stage coach, mail, and telegraph communications from Hamilton to Montreal. Weller also served as Mayor of Cobourg (1850). At the turn of the century, the property became the summer home of Nellie Grant Sartoris, daughter of the American Civil War General and President, Ulysses S. Grant.
19 351 William, c. 1845. Peter McCallum a prominent merchant built this house in the Georgian Style. The attractive portico and verandah were added circa 1900.
20 458 William, 1842. The Ontario Cottage design was often used for houses with a second storey. Here, in this example built by Jacob Corrigal, we can see the elements of the Ontario Cottage - the hipped roof, tall chimneys, square form, and balanced facade, usually with only one bay on either side of the front door, and without a second storey. This type of gentleman's house continued to be used until the end of the century.
Just a little beyond walking distance ...
21 860 William, Northumberland Court House, 1956. Barnett & Rieder, architects. This building illustrates well the purist ideas of "International" style architecture as they filtered down to small town Ontario - clean, simple lines and lack of ornamentation. The subdued presence of this Court House, with its plain concrete portico, blandly repetitive window treatment, and simple interior columns, seems to express the public style of Cobourg in the 1950's as faithfully as the flamboyance of Victoria Hall reflects that of Cobourg in the 1850's.
George Street, King to the railway tracks. In the latter half of the 19th century, George and its adjacent streets became a fashionable residential district and a number of fine homes were constructed between Victoria Hall and the Grand Trunk, Canadian Pacific and Canadian Northern railway stations.
22 293 George. This Greek revival cottage has an extremely fine doorway. Houses with details like this used to be common throughout the town but are becoming rare.
23 363 George, c. 1855. Built by John Cullingford this wellproportioned brick cottage with its lacy bargeboard sits comfortably back from the street on a lot graced by huge old fir trees.
24 364 George, "Dromore", 1857. Thomas Dumble and his son, John Henry, surveyors, served on the commission to resolve the Maine-New Brunswick boundary dispute. Settling in Cobourg, Thomas Dumble built this imposing residence. The steep-pitched roof line, especially the mansard, is quite rare for the period. Notice the roof brackets with their stylish 'D' for Dumble.
25 77 Havelock, 1876. This solid square house was built as a wedding present from the bride's parents for Alfred Reynar, professor of English literature at Victoria College, and his bride Ida Hayden. Of special interest are the bay windows and bracketing under the eaves.
26 80 Havelock, c. 1875. William Bond, a contractor and builder, constructed this solid Victorian house with the unusual features of elaborate stone quoins, and stone lintels with worked keystone over each window. Professor Bain of Victoria College was its first owner.
27 50 Havelock, c. 1851. Residence of R.D. Chatterton who came to Cobourg about 1830 and was the first editor of the Cobourg Star, Canada's oldest continually published newspaper. Note the fine proportions, massing and detail, which give it a decidedly English flavour.
28 130 University West, 1834. This house was built by the Rev. John Beatty, who arrived in Cobourg in 1833, with his son, John. Both played important roles in the founding Victoria College here, and John, the son was also Mayor of Cobourg five times between 1858 and 1867. The Ryerson and Beatty families were connected by marriage, as well as by the church and the college. Dr. Beatty's daughter, Emily, married her first cousin, Charles Ryerson, son of Egerton.
29 447 George, "Fairlawn", 1874. This house was remodelled in 1895 by William Crossen, son of James Crossen who also built the house at 465 George Street. It survives as the best representation of a Queen Anne style house in Cobourg.
30 465 George, "Cedar Hedge", 1871. The residence of James Crossen, proprietor of the Cobourg Car works, which at its height employed 600 men and was located behind and to the north of the house towards the railway. In 1891, this company became the Crossen Car Manufacturing Company of Cobourg, which built all kinds of railway cars, including the famous Pullman sleeping car. The substantial barge board and treillage on the porch is very handsome as is the ironwork above the bays.
31 475 George, 1871. Built in the Victorian Gothic style, this house has many Classical revival features. At the rear of the property stands the original carriage house, with wood and cast-iron box stalls, a louvered lantern, and a pigeon loft.
32 Grand Trunk Railway Station, 1911. Cobourg was fortunate to be located on the mainline of the Grand Trunk Railway, which by 1859 stretched all the way from Portland, Maine to Chicago. This substantial building was constructed in the Romanesque style and, completely restored in 1993, still continues its original role as the VIA passenger station.
33 18 Spencer East, "The Poplars", 1827. Built by John Spencer, the first Sheriff of Northumberland County, later owned for over century by the Daintry family. This is now Cobourg's oldest surviving house, retaining its original exterior character. It is an important example of the Regency style with its original door and well-proportioned hip-roof porch. The bow windows on either side of the front door are rare in Canada.
34 420 Division, "Woodlawn", 1835. Residence of George Perry, son of Ebenezer Perry, Chairman of the Board of Police, the first governing body of the Town. It is an outstanding example of Regency taste with its contrasting window sizes on the first and second floors, sweeping galleries, low hip roof, and tall chimneys. The entrance door is probably one of the finest in Ontario. It is now an Inn.
35 St. Michael's Church, 1895. Designed by J. Belcher of Peterborough, this Basilican structure is in the Romanesque style. The barrel-vaulted ceiling is supported by eight Ionic columns and matching wall pilasters. The decoration of the church and the Stations of the Cross date from 1913, by PC. Brown, a Toronto artist. This was the parish of Cobourg native, Father Francis Duffy, who achieved fame as chaplain of the American "Fighting 69th" Regiment in World War I, and as pastor of Holy Cross Church in the heart of New York's Broadway theatre district.
36 411 John, "Girton Cottage", c. 1857. A well-proportioned house built by William Hitchins, a well-to-do chandler. Of special interest are the unusually fine dormer windows, and an elaborate iron fence of later date.
37 359 Division, 1850. This is one of the best surviving examples of mid-nineteenth century frame construction in Cobourg. It was built by William Grieve in the Georgian style.
38 318-326 Division. An interesting grouping of early frame buildings, both commercial and residential, dating from the 1840's to 1850's. The builder was William Grieve whose residence was at 359 Division.
39 345-351 Division, "Campbell Terrace". Terrace housing was not common in Cobourg, but of the few examples this is the finest. The south part was constructed in the 1850's, while the north part was added in the early 1870's.
40 297 Division, c. 1842. Dr. James Gilchrist built this house as his office and residence. Gilchrist's brother John was the first physician licensed in Upper Canada.
41 10 Chapel, c. 1849. This house exhibits good Georgian features - balanced facade, medium-pitched roof, and robust end chimneys. Its rather heavy and severe doorway, with its single panel, is characteristic of the Greek Revival style.
42 Trinity United Church, 1852. The site of the first Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, erected in 1824. The present church building was designed by William Storm, but in 1901 was extensively renovated and decorated with new woodwork and stained glass, by Power & Son. Egerton Ryerson, founder of Victoria College, was the Minister from 1826-27.
King Street, east to McGill. Most of the original 19th century buildings in downtown Cobourg along both sides of King Street are still intact and display some excellent examples of early and late Victorian commercial architecture.
43 2 King East, "The Phoenix Block", 1880. This imposing building occupies the north-east corner of King and Division, Cobourg's commercial heart. Note the neo-classical ornamentation.
44 20 King East, "Albion Hotel", 1873. With the sun at the right angle, you may still see the name of this 19th century commercial hotel etched on the facade.
45 35 King East, 1837. One of the earliest of Cobourg's Georgian commercial buildings. A Victorian-style verandah was added later.
46 60 King St. East, Park Theatre, 1948. One of Cobourg's more interesting buildings dating from the mid-20th century, built just as television was beginning to undermine the golden age of the movies. Note the Art Moderne influence in the curvaceous facade and glass brick, vertical window treatment, exterior signage, and interior ceiling decoration. Recently restored as a theatre.
College Street, King to University. This fine residential street, its broad tree-lined boulevards crowned by Victoria College, displays an eclectic, but appealing mix of 19th and early 20th century architectural styles.
47 St. Peter's Church, 1854. Established in 1818, St. Peter's was one of the earliest Anglican parishes in Upper Canada. The first frame church was built in 1820. In 1844, the front facade and tower, designed by Henry Bowyer Lane, was added. The present church building was constructed around the original frame structure in 1854 to the design of Kivas Tully. The chancel was extended in 1877 and the parish hall built in 1888, designed by Darling & Curry, architects. Another renovation was completed in the 1970's under the supervision of architect Napier Simpson. The Rectory to the east was completed in 1877.
48 272 College, 1903. This Edwardian style townhouse was built by Mary Cruso Buck, widow of Roe Buck, son of one of Cobourg's earliest settlers and tavern owner, Elijah Buck. Of note is the classic revival portico and roof line and the Art Nouveau detailing in the leaded glass and interior. 326 College is by the same builder.
49 284 College, c. 1850. This house, built by merchant William York, is of Brunswick construction. In 1870, it was enlarged and remodelled as a Classic Revival cottage with porticoed entrance and a glazed Regency porch to the rear. A cobblestone and iron fence adds charm.
50 Chapel, East of College "Jackson" Houses, c. 1920s. The Jackson style was a simple, yet distinctive style, exclusive to Cobourg, built by Reuben Jackson. The houses are two storeys with gabled frontage and verandahs.
51 306 College, 1857. The decorative pattern of two-coloured brick work is the most outstanding feature of this house, built in good Georgian Loyalist style by a local merchant, Lazarus Payne. The doorway, with its ogee transom is a reflection of the Regency, Gothic style, although the one-panelled door is Greek Revival.
52 354 College, c. 1850. A charming early Victorian residence. The bay windows are unique.
53 383 - 385 College, 1877. A fine example of a late-Victorian row house.
54 Victoria College, 1832. Edward Crane, architect and builder. This handsome structure in the Greek Revival style was built as the Academy of the Methodist Church and became one of Canada's earliest degree-granting universities in 1841. Egerton Ryerson, a prominent educator and founder of the Ontario public school system, was its first President. However, after forming a vital part of the Town's academic and cultural life for over fifty years, Victoria College was persuaded to relocate to Toronto in 1892 and today remains affiliated with the University of Toronto.
Church Street, south of King. The row of houses on the East side of Church facing Victoria Park, presents a fine array of architectural styles. Of particular note are:
55 216 Church, 1898. Built by Harry Wicksteed in the Queen Anne style.
56 202 Church, 1878. Built by Robert Mulholland, this splendid residence is the best example in Cobourg of Italianate style. Note the striking doorway with its elaborate woodwork and etched glass.
57 117 King East, 1875. This was the first Cobourg Collegiate and appears much as when originally built, except for a missing cupola, finials, and gable trim. It was remodelled in the Georgian style when it became the summer home of FN. Black of Pittsburgh.
58 136 King East, 1885. This residence, a late Victorian gothic cottage was built by Mathew Williams. It still retains its original coach house, a rarity in Cobourg.
59 160 King East, "New Hall", 1913. An excellent example of the then-popular "English Cottage" style of architecture. It was built by Senator Clive Pringle, whose wife was the daughter of Madame Albertini, proprietress of the Arlington Hotel.
60 170 King East, c. 1840. This well-proportioned residence in the Georgian style was built by Joseph Townsend, and later owned by John Crease Boswell, Cobourg postmaster.
61 262 Walton, 1856. Cobourg's mid-19th century economic boom resulted in the construction of many fine buildings, not the least of which was this attractive Regency house.
62 308 Henry, 1855. Cobourg has several fine Regency style houses, among them this early one built by the Rev. Walton Beck, son-in-law of George Boulton. The three handsome gables, each containing a Gothic window, were added in 1870.
63 332 Henry, 1859. Andrew Hewson, a Cobourg merchant and Councillor, built this four-square brick home. Gord and Judith See bought the property from the late Victor Hewson in 2001 and now live there.
64 272 King East, "The Maples", c. 1840. This Regency style house was owned by William Kerr, Mayor of Cobourg, Member of Parliament, and Senator.
65 278 King East, "The Queensway", c. 1950. At first glance rather undistinguished, this small apartment block avoids the banality of most late 20th century buildings with a coherent style and by blending in nicely with its surrounding. Note the modernist details in the balanced facade, centre hall window, and interior stair railings.
66 202 Green, "Hadfield Hurst", 1879. Colonel Chambliss, Managing Director of the Cobourg & Marmora Railway and Mining Company built this American style Victoria house. In 1890, Colonel Douglas Cornell of Buffalo, purchased it as a summer residence. In 1929, it became a girls' school known as "Hatfield Hall".
67 174 Green, 1842. This building was erected by Alexander Bethune, later Anglican Bishop of Toronto, as a College of Theology. It was designed by Henry Bowyer Lane. In 1906, a second storey and back wing were added.
68 139 Queen, 1873. Built by Major William Taylor. It later belonged to Lydia Cornell, whose niece Katharine Cornell, a famous Broadway actress, was married here in 1921.
69 94 Green, "The Breakers", c. 1850. A charming lakeside Regency cottage built by James Calcutt Jr., it retains its original wrap-around verandah and spacious lawns.
70 Victoria Park, 1898. Just east of the harbour is this lovely lakefront park, with its gently curving sandy beach on Lake Ontario which had been used as a public space since the early 19th century. However, in the Town's centennial year, visionary Mayor, John D. Hayden, convinced Cobourg Council to purchase all the land between the beach and Queen Street for Cobourg's first public park. Band concerts and theatrical events were held to raise funds for the landscaping and beautification of the new park.
At this time, the area between Queen and King, Church and McGill Streets was occupied by three of Cobourg's most fashionable summer hotels - the Lakeview Terrace, the Columbian and the magnificent Arlington, centre of the town's turn-of-the-century social whirl. As these hotels were abandoned and demolished over the years, public-spirited citizens of Cobourg raised funds to expand Victoria Park to its present boundaries. The acoustically engineered Bandshell in the park dates from 1934.
This Cobourg Walking Tour brochure is proudly presented by the Town of Cobourg Local Architectural Advisory Committee, The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario - Cobourg Branch and the Town of Cobourg. Cobourg's Local Architectural Advisory Committee wishes to express their sincere appreciation to Mr. Barry King, local artist, for his kind contribution of sketches of Cobourg's built heritage. Prints of these and others by Barry King are available by calling 905-372-5003. [Barry King's prints not available for this on-line version].
We hope you enjoy your walking experience