366 College Avenue West
“Janefield” is an imposing example of a farm house in the Neo-Classic style. It is a symmetrical, two-storey limestone structure displaying high-quality masonry and woodwork. Its historical associations with Guelph’s Day and McCrae families increase its merit as a heritage building worthy of designation through the Ontario Heritage Act.
In Feb. 1854, Thomas Day, a prominent Guelph mason and contractor, purchased the site of this house in the Township of Guelph. The date of construction has not been proven but is thought to be between 1854 and 1865. Design of the house has traditionally been attributed to William Day, noted Guelph builder in that period. It was likely constructed by the Days prior to Thomas McCrae’s 1863 purchase of the property. McCrae was a Guelph lumber merchant and woollen mill proprietor who, like a number of other local business leaders, moved to the outskirts of the town and enhanced Guelph’s agricultural reputation by breeding thoroughbred livestock. The McCrae farm was named “Janefield” in honour of Thomas McCrae’s wife Jean, who called herself Jane.
In 1892, the property was passed on to their son, Col. David McCrae, who carried on his father’s livestock breeding activities, while remaining active as an officer in the local artillery regiment. David’s son, physician/soldier/poet Lt. Col. John McCrae, most famous for his poem “In Flanders Fields”, frequently visited his grandparents, then his parents, at “Janefield”. After the McCraes’ 48 year ownership, the house passed through eleven owners before it was brought back from a deteriorated state by contractor George Good in 1976-77.
Source: City of Guelph by-law (2003)-17099.