The 11,000 square foot mansion ranks amongst the finest representations of great estate homes and was the last of its kind and quality designed and built in Burlington in the first decades of the twentieth century. A heritage property of significance, it has been rightly called the “Jewel in the Crown” of Burlington’s waterfront. It includes a gatehouse, a children’s dollhouse and one of the last remaining stables in urban Burlington.
The estates heyday was during the twentieth century; however, the site’s remarkable history begins one hundred years earlier. In 1809, the British Crown, under King George III, granted Lot 8 – Concession 4 South of Dundas Street to Laura Secord, who was later to distinguish herself as a heroine in the events of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane during the War of 1812. Laura Secord and her family did not settle in Nelson Township but conveyed the lot to settler John Beaupre in 1810. Over the next one hundred years the property underwent a series of land transactions, passing through approximately fifteen different families. In 1912, it was purchased by William Delos Flatt and Cyrus Albert Birge and the site was commonly used as a park by local residents for leisure pursuits such as swimming, boating and fishing, while the rest of the property continued in use as a tender fruit farm. Finally in 1930 , Edythe Merriam MacKay, daughter of the renowned industrialist Cyrus Albert Birge, founding director of the Canadian Steel Company, built the mansion itself. History tells us the mansion was a consuming passion for Edythe Mackay. She was known to travel to Europe and the southern United States for furnishings, wall coverings, tiles and carpeting. A glimpse into the spacious interior paints a vivid picture of high society living. Amenities and features such as the dumbwaiter, servant’s quarters, and ballroom reveal how prosperous local families once lived and played.