The Berry House, Manitoba

Did you know architectural concepts travel just as easily as people do?

Changing immigration patterns can bring changes in architecture, as well as the population.

This house located in the village of Reston, Manitoba does not look very different from many homes seen in Eastern Canada. The tall pointed gables, front verandah, two-colour brick detail, and bay windows would not be unusual to see in almost any Ontario town. They are all features of Victorian architecture common to Ontario farmhouses in the mid to late 19th century.

When Manitoba joined Canada in 1870 about half of the European population was Francophone, By the 1890’s this had dropped dramatically. The Canadian government encouraged the settlement of Western Canada. Along with an influx of British and Americans, Canadians left the more densely populated regions of Eastern Canada in search of larger farms. Many people from Ontario would move west in hopes of finding better opportunities for themselves and their families.

The Berry House was built for Harcourt and Mary Berry, who emigrated  from Ontario near the end of the 19th century. He worked as a barber, setting him apart from many of the farmers who moved west.

Ontario settlers like The Berrys brought design styles familiar to them west, altering the architecture of Manitoba.

This is but one examples of how houses like the Berry House are surviving testaments to the effect immigration had on the landscape of different regions of Canada, including Manitoba.

Photographs are courtesy of Gordon Goldsborough and Manitoba Historical Society.

Researched and Written by Sarah Coates, Masters Student of History at the University of Toronto.

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