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Heritage home design series part five: Old Ontario homes

Prior to 1950 the Gothic Cottage style was the most popular residential home style in Ontario. This is because of the promotion of the style in the “Canadian Farmer” publication in the 1860s, as well as the fact that Upper Canada’s property taxes were based on the number of stories in a home. At one-and-a-half stories, the Gothic Cottage gave homeowners two levels of living at a more affordable price.

Characterized by a gothic gable above the door, the pitch of the roof could be modified for the homeowner to provide more living space while staying within the tax limits.

Most popular between the 1830s and 1870s, the Ontario Cottage Style is further characterized by:

  • One-storey central doorways
  • Symmetrically placed windows on either side of that doorway
  • Hipped, or steeply sloped roofs

When seeking homes of this style, look for wooden lace trim work, shutters and occasionally columns supporting balconies and adorning verandas.

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