Shore Acres, Paletta Mansion
After a succession of owners that included Laura Secord (in 1809), the property at 4250 Lakeshore Road was bought by W.D. Flatt and Cyrus A, Birge. Cyrus Birge was a founding board member of the Canadian Steel Company (later called Stelco and now US Steel). W.D. Flatt was a major builder and developer in Burlington who laid out many residential developments along the Lakeshore including Shore Acres, of which this property is part. Shore Acres had 34 lots that were listed for sale at $1500.00 to $3000.00. As this is the last remaining building from the development, the house is often also referred to as the Shoreacres Estate.
Lots 2,3,4 and 5 of Shore Acres were sold to Edythe Birge MacKay, the daughter of Cyrus Birge. On this lot was an early farmhouse. After Cyrus’ death in 1929 Edythe used her inheritance to construct the grand estate.
The grounds were landscaped by Arthur H. Sharpe. Sharpe’s design combined formal gardens around the house with naturalized areas that include wetlands along Shoreacres Creek. The house itself was designed by architect Stewart McPhie with W.L. Summerville (LACAC 1992). Construction was completed in 1930 just as Burlington was becoming known as a summer resort town.
The main house is an impressive 11,000 square foot stone mansion. It has many classical features such as pillars and a hipped roof. These features are striking because they integrated avant-garde 1930s influences typified by the building’s asymmetry and four completely different elevations (LACAC 1992). Together the mansion, landscaping and outbuildings represent the ideal resort estate design. As the last remaining building of Shore Acres, a prominent lakeshore development, and a representative example of a Burlington resort estate, this property is significant to the history of the City.
The City of Burlington bought the property in 1990 as part of its “Window to the Lake” program aimed to purchase land in order that all Burlington citizens could enjoy the Lake (LACAC 1992). The property is now called the Paletta Lakefront Park and Mansion. Paletta International, a Burlington based company, donated money for the restoration of the mansion. The property has a Discovery Trail that links to the Waterfront Trail and the estate serves as a stunning backdrop for private events such as weddings.
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