New Life For One of Collingwood’s Heritage Treasures

Workers were busy on the long holiday weekend repairing portions of the upper levels of 242 Third Street as a major restoration project prepares to draw to a close.

242 Third Street was originally known as the Charles Pitt Home

Third Street in Collingwood boasts many architectural treasures that take us back to thriving times.

Collingwood was a small town with a big future, when ships and trains arrived and departed daily, with main street hotels filled with hungry and thirsty travellers. Ships were built and launched at the end of main street in preparation for work on the great lakes, and grand homes were being constructed for those who prospered during these times.

One such home is now undergoing a massive renovation.

Once 242 Third Street was sold the Porter Skelton and Associates sign went up on the front lawn and you knew a major, well thought out and high level restoration was about to begin.

Plans for the 2 ½ storey brick home to be constructed at the corner of Third and Oak Streets embraced the wishes of Mr. Charles Pitt, Manager of the Bertram Lumber Company, and Mr. John Wilson, a local and well respected Collingwood architect.

Construction began in 1907 for an estimated cost of $20,000

Construction began in early October, 1907 for an estimated cost of $20,000. This large, 8 bedroom home, is representative of the “Colonial Revival” style that was becoming popular at the time of construction.

The home was originally known as the Charles Pitt House. Plans were completed at about the same time that Charles Pitt retired from the Bertram Company Lumber Mill in Collins Inlet. He would later serve as a Collingwood Councillor. Mr. Pitt was a hunter and it was important to him that the design of the second-storey landing would be large enough to make room for a mounted moose head with sixty-six-inch antler span.

It was and it did.

House was sold during the Depression in 1928 for $6,250

Mr. Pitt passed away in 1927 and the house was sold one year later to Dr. Alexander McFaul for $6,250. This was the depression era and the sale price represented one-third of the construction cost of the home. Dr. McFaul M.D, C.M, M.C.P.S. was a Physician and Surgeon in Stayner and later in Collingwood. He was Mayor of Stayner from 1898 to 1900 a member of the Board of Education in Collingwood from 1904 to 1914.

The home was purchased by Dr. Donald H. McKay in 1952

Mr. McFaul passed away in 1951 and one year later the home was purchased by Collingwood Doctor Donald H. McKay. Dr. Donald Mckay and his wife Frances raised their four children in the house and it remained in the McKay family until recently, when it was sold following the passing of Ian McKay.

Inside and outside, 242 Third Street is being gently restored to its original glory.

The six bedroom home’s entrance was enhanced by two towering Ionic stone columns. The interior was finished in hardwood, custom trim and woodwork, and boasted five fireplaces, a grand staircase, Palladian windows (windows consisting of a central arched section flanked by two narrow rectangular sections), leaded glass French doors and an underground passage that connected the detached carriage house to the main home. The house even contained a system to ring bells to give instruction to servants.

The front doors open to a grand staircase with oak octagonal columns at its base

The semi-circular upper balcony was representative of a style that was popular with the affluent in the southern United States at the time.

— photos: Paul Richards

This important reminder of Collingwood’s rich history will soon be restored and ready to welcome a new family to 242 Third Street.

This renovation is one of many restoration projects that have or are taking place along Third Street in Collingwood as this district continues to attract new owners who have the means and desire to honour our heritage by bringing these grand homes back to life to continue to play an important role in day-to-day life in Collingwood, because the more we change the more we stay the same … and that’s a good thing.

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