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December 08, 2013

Boyd House: Know any entrepreneurs who'd like to open a business in an old stone house? (Part 6) #173huntmar

Boyd House in Stittsville. December 7, 2013.
For the past three weeks I've been looking into the history of Boyd House.  I've talked to former owners and Boyd descendants. I've consulted with historians and stone masons. I've combed through old scrapbooks and atlases. 

Yesterday afternoon, I finally had a chance to step foot on the property.

The current landowner, Bob Karam, invited me and my neighbour Coreen for a tour.  On a crisp, sunny Saturday afternoon, the three of us walked down the long snowy laneway leading to the house.  A week ago deep snow would have made it very difficult to visit, but a recent thaw left just a thin cover of snow on the ground, criss-crossed with turkey tracks and paw prints.

We looked inside the house. We stood at the same spot Jane Boyd stood in the early 20th century. We touched the stone walls and saw fossils embedded in the limestone. We explored what's left of the old barns, which are being taken apart and recycled to reclaim the wood.


Karam applied for a demolition permit for the stone house in September.  Since then, the City of Ottawa has added the 1887 stone house to its heritage registry, and Karam is working with the city to find a new use for the home in order to preserve it.

I was happy to see that the house is in great shape. The white wood trim outside needs a fresh coat of paint. There are a few cracks in the plaster inside and the wallpaper needs a refresh.  Structually it's solid, and it wouldn't take much work to adapt the home for business use.   

I was surprised at how bright the house is on the inside.  Light streams through the windows upstairs and downstairs. The rooms on the main floor are large and open. 

Karam told me he'd like to see the City of Ottawa take it over, and use the space for a community facility like a library. Barring that, he wants to find a business owner to invest some money to turn it into offices or a restaurant. The house could even be moved off of the property. Several stone houses nearby are currently being used for restaurants, spas or offices.  There's even one on Hazeldean Road in Kanata that's part of a Starbucks.

Eventually, the surrounding land will be developed into commercial buildings, probably offices and retail.  It will be right next to a busy arterial road running from the Queensway to southern Stittsville/Kanata and it's just a five minute walk to Canadian Tire Centre.

Two things will help save this house from demolition:
  1. Find a use for the home. Do you know anybody who wants to open a business in a heritage stone house in Stittsville/Kanata?  Send me a note at feedback@ottawastart.com and I can put you in touch with the owner.
  2. Stay vigilant. If you see any activity on the property, report it to the police. There is a police station almost next door.  (And don't trespass.  We were on the property with permission from the owner.)

We spent about 90 minutes looking around the land and buildings. A few hours later, 20,000 hockey fans would start streaming into the nearby arena for an NHL game that night.  But while we were there, it was calm and quiet. Every once in a while we could hear the intercom from a nearby autopark paging an employee.  Other than that, just some rustling branches, a few birds, and a squirrel scurrying around inside the barn.

We left as the sun began to set, back down the long snowy laneway.


Over the next couple of weeks, this series will continue with some interviews with Boyd family descendants, and an update on research into the "stone cousins". I've identified at least three more nearby homes that may be related, bringing our total up to ten similar stone houses in the area.  Stay tuned...

More in this series:

See also: Ottawa Real Estate Guide
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1 comment:

  1. You should consider posting this building on our site. www.historicbuildingarchives.com It provides great exposure.


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