Plaqued Houses and Buildings
Address:
29 Thomas Street - "Glenorchy"
Summary:
Peter MacDougald gave his home the name "Glenorchy." The River Orchy flows into Loch Awe in Scotland.
Property Details:
Contrary to the way this impressive house appears today, it was actually built in stages over a ninety-year period. The wing with the lower roof that projects toward Thomas Street is the original section of the house. It has a lake-stone foundation and is constructed of heavy timber framing. It was built around 1839 by Hugh Martin. Peter MacDougald purchased the home in 1840.

Mr. McDougald was born in 1823 of Scottish immigrants and grew up in the Talbot Settlement near London, Ontario. He came to Oakville in 1854 and was offered a partnership with William Romain in a grain-buying business. It seems the two men operated the grain warehouse ("The Granary") that is located at the bottom of Robinson Street on the banks of Sixteen Mile Creek.

In preparation for his marriage to Mary Jane Chisholm, a daughter of William Chisholm, the founder of the Town, in 1855, MacDougald purchased two lots on Thomas Street, including the original house. He was quite a successful businessman at this time and remodelled and expanded the old house to suit his station in life, including assuming a large mortgage of 2,500.

MacDougald enlarged the structure with a 62 foot by 20-foot addition across the rear of the building. Together Peter and Mary raised three children in the home which Peter now referred to as "Glenorchy." Improvements to the house continued, including a surrounding fence and a privy at a cost of $6.50.

MacDougald was one of the first councillors of the new incorporated town of Oakville in 1857 and in 1875 he was elected mayor, remaining in office for nine years. During that time the Citizen's Band gave many concerts on the lawn to which the townspeople were invited.

A devastating fire on Lakeshore Road wiped out much of the business section in 1883, including MacDougald's store in the Romain Block. After this incident he is recorded as having difficulty maintaining control in Council meetings and in April the following year he disappeared for several days. George Sumner, the Chief Constable, records in his diary on April 24, 1884: P. A. MacDougald died this morning at 5 o'clock of congestion of the liver caused by exposure & whiskey."

Some time later the property came to be owned by William Joyce, the proprietor of a general store. When it was purchased by A. Montye Macrae in 1926 it needed significant repair and restoration. Mr. Macrae employed the architectural firm of George, Moorehoue and King. Colonel Walter Moorehouse lived in the Old George Sumner house near the corner of Navy and William Streets. Many changes were made, including removing the wrap around verandah and opening up rooms.

Much of this history is drawn from "Old Oakville" by David and Suzanne Peacock, copies of which can be purchased at the Historical Society.
Click to Enlarge
29 Thomas Street29 Thomas Street
29 Thomas Street29 Thomas Street
29 Thomas Street plaque29 Thomas Street plaque
Glenorchy in 1925Glenorchy in 1925
Glenorchy in 1957Glenorchy in 1957
Peter McDougald, 1850 - 1854Peter McDougald, 1850 - 1854
Interior of 29 Thomas StreetInterior of 29 Thomas Street
Real estate listing for 29 Thomas Street in 1995Real estate listing for 29 Thomas Street in 1995
Minutes of Town Council - 1876, P. A. McDougald, Esq, MayorMinutes of Town Council - 1876, P. A. McDougald, Esq, Mayor
The Romain MacDougald Granery at the foot of Robinson StreetThe Romain MacDougald Granery at the foot of Robinson Street