The McFarland House is a prime example of Georgian architecture, but less concerned with the classical flourish associated with grander buildings. It’s grand, reflecting the gracious living of the ‘landed gentry’ of the times, but decidedly rustic. It’s also one of the oldest surviving buildings in southern Canada, and a structure of great historic value.
McFarland House, named after the commissioning family, was built in 1800 as a home estate. Things were quiet until the War of 1812. McFarland House sits near the Niagara River south of Fort George, so it became a site of strategic importance. The building was used as a hospital by both armies, and British raids on the American-held Fort Niagara were launched from the McFarland property. The building had sustained significant damage during the war, and landlord John McFarland survived the conflict but passed away soon after.
The building was restored and remained with the McFarland family for several generations, before eventually being passed Niagara Parks Commission and opened to the public by 1959.
The house itself is open to guided tours. Tours are available every day in summer and only on weekends in spring and fall – for winter, the property is generally only open for special occasions like Christmas events.
Between May and September there’s also the Conservatory Tea Room, with a full menu of lunch options as well as English tea essentials like homemade scones and pastries, and stocked with vintage wines local to Niagara.
Between the house, the tea room and the surrounding gardens, this is a property that reflects the aesthetic and charm of the 18th century, and serves as an informative and charming property to visit for an afternoon.
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