I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I knew what was happening with the old stone house at Terry Fox and Richardson Side Road in Kanata North.
That’s the Richardson farmhouse, perched part-way up the hill, surrounded by new housing. I heard a few rumours about what the developer might have planned (a lawyer’s office? a private residence?) but recently its future use has been confirmed: a clubhouse for the neighbouring condo development.
Ryan MacDougall, who does sales and marketing for Uniform Urban Developments says the company has invested “a significant of amount of money” into the heritage house.
“Uniform has a history of working with our communities to incorporate heritage sites into a few of our past developments. We’ve always viewed the farmhouse as an asset to Richardson Ridge. The building itself is beautiful and adds character to the site,” he said in an email to StittsvilleCentral.ca.
“It was important for us that our condo buyers have an amenity space and we felt like the farmhouse was the perfect spot to provide this. We knew that the farmhouse would stay and if it serves as an amenity space to the condo owners then it ultimately connects best to the community.”
The house received heritage designation in 2009. According to a City of Ottawa report:
The Richardson Farmhouse was built circa 1871 by Thomas A. Richardson, the fourth of six sons of Anne and Frederick Richardson. Frederick and Anne Richardson were one of the earliest pioneering families in South March Township and the land on which the Richardson Farmhouse is located was originally cleared and settled by them in 1820. All six of Frederick’s sons farmed the land along with him and each built their own house on the land as was typical of pioneer families in the 19th century. The great fire of March Township in 1870 burned Thomas Richardson’s original 1857 house although oral history suggests that when this house was built after the fire it was built on the original foundation.
Four generations of the Richardson family lived in this house between 1871 and 2008. The Richardson family farmed the land that this house stands on and the surrounding 100 acres for more than 175 years and this farmhouse is important as the last remaining physical reminder of the great successes of the Richardson family in the 19th and 20th centuries. The importance of the Richardson family is evident in the naming of Richardson Side Road on which the farm is located. This house is the last remaining home on the Richardson farmland and was owned by Richardson descendants until its recent sale for development.
The Richardson Farmhouse is a one and a half storey central gable stone farmhouse typical of the Gothic Revival houses built throughout Ontario in the latter part of the 19th Century. There is also a later one-storey stone kitchen addition at the rear with a gabled roof dormer. The house faces southwest on the property and is surrounded by mature trees and is constructed of dressed limestone, featuring a central gable with a window on the front façade. This window features an unusual ogee arch. The front façade of the house is symmetrical and features two large rectangular windows and a large central doorway. The gable ends also feature a symmetrical window pattern. All of the windows have stone sills, lintels, keystones and decorative trim. There is quoining in stone in a contrasting colour at the corners of the building.
This house sits on a small hill overlooking the farm and various outbuildings located below.
The report notes that the stone used to build the house probably comes from a limestone quarry on the Richardson land. I bet they built the house up on the hill a bit to protect against spring flooding from the Carp River that runs just to the west.
Those outbuildings are long-gone, but I did come across this photo recently in the Kanata Standard form 1988. The current house isn’t visible but it would have been just behind the trees on the right side of the photo.
It’s great to see this farmhouse being integrated into the development with a semi-public function. Hope somebody invites me over sometime.
FUN FACT: Richardson House was built by John Cummings, who also built the Bradley-Craig barn on Hazeldean Road.
More from MacDougall about how the house will be incorporated into the development:
“The Clubhouse (farmhouse) will provide residents with a stunning setting where the community can come together for a variety of purposes. The Clubhouse is perfectly integrated into the overall site plan, with strong connections to the enclave of eight buildings and to the existing natural environment. Designed with flexibility in mind, the fully equipped Clubhouse will include kitchen facilities, a fireplace, a guest bedroom, lounging area, and more. We see it being used for community meetings, family gatherings, private functions, and ultimately an extra space to get away or gather with friends.
The Richardson Farmhouse was owned by the Richardson family since 1871 up until we purchased the property a few years ago. Since taking possession of the land, the City, the ward councillor Marianne Wilkinson, and Uniform always intended to preserve the farmhouse and the surrounding mature sugar maple trees. Uniform saw the value in this historical landmark and chose to restore it in a way that could serve its community for many years.
For the past couple of years, we’ve been selling single-family homes at Richardson Ridge. Recently we released 2-storey townhomes for sale as well. In order to diversify our product offering, we introduced the Elements Condo Flats in the piece of land next to the farmhouse (see site map attached). These are 3-storey buildings with 14 units, an elevator, and underground parking. As with many condo buildings on the market, a variety of amenities are offered to the condo suite owners. Uniform saw the farmhouse as an excellent opportunity to offer extra amenity space to our condo buyers.”