The official opening of the picturesque, Shingle Style Oakville Coach House in 2022 marked the completion by +VG Architects of the adaptive reuse of the Erchless Estate, a cultural heritage property designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act as an intact surviving example of an estate developed by a wealthy settler family.

This ensemble of historic buildings on an elevated natural embankment overlooking Lake Ontario, the mouth of Oakville Harbour, and Sixteen Mile Creek, comprises the Custom House (1856); the Italianate-style residence (1858), former home of several generations of the town’s founding Chisholm family and restored as the Oakville Museum by +VG in 1991; the post office (1835); and the Coach House (1901).

The 5,150 ft2 Coach House, the most elegant building on the site, was designed by the Toronto-based architectural firm Dick and Wickson around 1899. The building is in three-parts: horse stables and tack area, coach storage and hayloft; a two-storey gardener’s cottage; and a linking storage area. The exterior charms the eye with eclectic features such as the steeply pitched cross-gable roof and its irregular slopes, eyebrow dormers, bell-cast and bowed projections, shingled cupola, and bay window and mullioned windows.
The project mandate was to:

  • Create a multi-purpose public venue and restore the gardener’s cottage;
  • Strengthen links and enhance visual access to the Coach House;
  • Enhance the indoor and outdoor connection and presence of the Coach House in the Oakville Museum campus;
  • Harmonize the landscape design with the larger Erchless campus and broader park, river, lake and road settings;
  • Integrate path systems, wayfinding and visual accessibility from within and outside the museum campus;
  • Protect the archeological and cultural heritage significance of the Coach House and surrounding grounds;
  • Change the building’s use from storage to assembly occupancy.

Bringing the building up to current accessibility standards necessitated interior renovations such as door and washroom access improvements.


Oakville, Ontario




5,100 ft²


Adaptive Re-Use




David Lasker


Oakville Coach House
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