An Extraordinary Step for an Extraordinary House

On July 6th, 2020, Westmount City Council undertook steps to gain heritage recognition for the Goode property at 178 Côte-Saint-Antoine Road. The City of Westmount, having received recognition from Parks Canada in 2011 as the Westmount District National Historic Site of Canada and been awarded the prestigious Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership in 2018, continues to protect remarkable sites for future generations.

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Built in 1840, the Goode House is one of the oldest in the City, and a rare example of Greek Revival architecture in Quebec. It was originally one of a group of four identical houses, of which two remain. Since 1884, three generations of the Goode family have preserved the architectural integrity of this exceptional house.

Christina Cameron, Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage, took part in a study to assess the heritage value of the property. “The interior of the Goode house retains a remarkably complete collection of woodwork, plasterwork and other fittings that have survived since its original construction in the early-1840s”, she explains.

In addition, the Goode House garden, with its combination of native and exotic plants, mini-orchard, greenhouses, terraces and decorative garden borders, offers a fascinating remnant of the development of 19th-century suburb garden design, according to a preliminary study by WAA on the characterization of the landscape design.

The current municipal classification for the Goode House protects neither the interior nor the landscaping, hence the importance of this proposal.

Distinct municipal leadership
Since 2012, Quebec municipalities have had the opportunity to adopt laws to protect building interiors. According to Jean-François Drapeau, head of the Registry for cultural heritage, however, no municipality has made use of this capacity with regard to a private residence.

Studies carried out by Luce Lafontaine Architects, Christina Cameron, and also by landscape architecture firm WAA in collaboration with Ron Williams, make it possible to pinpoint the physical elements that need to be protected and to document the full history of the house. Following the notice of motion, Westmount City Council may adopt the new designation by-law early fall 2020.

This extraordinary new regulatory measure will allow the Goode house to continue to exist in the community’s shared memory — without freezing it in time— all while allowing the building to fulfill its foremost role as a space for living.