Mallard Cottage
8 Barrows Road
Quidi Vidi





The oldest structurally unchanged cottage in the oldest City in North America


Mallard Cottage is registered as both a National Historic Site by Parks Canada (1983) and a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (1986)


Mallard Cottage is believed to be the one of the oldest surviving houses in St. John’s, the Avalon Peninsula and Newfoundland itself


It is one of the most intact surviving examples of a once common vernacular house style favoured by Irish immigrants to St. John’s in the 18th and early 19th century. It is a focal point of the Quidi Vidi streetscape which is a significant cultural landscape in itself


If you have a small business idea, for which this heritage property may be a good fit, consider the fact that efforts in marketing the destination will be minimal as the structure is and has been a tourism destination for decades


The actual construction date of Mallard Cottage is not known. Some hold the view that it could date as early as 1750 and others say that it could been in the first half of the 19th century . In 1989, Larry Friend, a spokesman for the Historic Sites and Monument Board of Canada said that there is conflicting evidence that could place the construction in the 18th or early 19th century. He went on to say that if it was built in the second half of the 18th century, it could be the oldest wooden building in Canada If not the oldest structure on the Island of Newfoundland, it is clearly on a very short list of the earliest know structures


Patterned on the thatched roof cottages of Southwest Ireland, the vernacular dwelling is a picturesque 1 ˝ storey wood framed building with a hipped roof and central chimney.


The house was owned by the Mallard family between the time it was built and 1985 when it was purchased by Peg Magnone. She operated an antique store out of the premises and it was subsequently taken over by her granddaughter who is the current owner.


The uninterrupted occupation by one family for many generations would be a large factor in securing the retention of the original fabric of the property. The Mallard family were fisherfolk and farmers, and at the time referred to as “planters”. The first Mallards apparently brought farm animals with them from Ireland, raising sheep, poultry, swine and dairy. As late as the 70’s, one could still buy fresh unpasteurized milk from Agnes Mallard, who grazed a cow or two by Quidi Vidi Lake. Agnes, worked as a chambermaid at Hotel Newfoundland and walked to work each day. They say that she “worked like a man” outside the house, but was every inch a lady once she stepped inside


From a structural perspective, there is an unfinished crawl space and a stone foundation with wooden sills and beams. The walls are covered with vertical board some of which are beaded. There is a centre chimney with two inside original hearth fireplaces, complemented by two additional fireplaces in the two second floor bedrooms of the late Victorian design. The original roof would have had wooden shingles, but is currently covered by tarred rolled asphalt sheeting The front porch would not be original. The linhay is thought to be an early 20th century addition The ground hugging shape, with symmetrical fenestration makes this cottage appealing to the eye and is complement by some early beaded clapboard still in place


The oral history concerning the house is lean and vague. Agnes Mallard, the last to occupy the house, die in 1980 at the age of 77. She was interviewed in 1977 and was found to be a “reluctant informant”, and “fed up” with people pestering her about the house and very vague about the house and family history.


Notwithstanding the incomplete documentation, it seems that the site of the Mallard Cottage at least, has been owned by the Mallards since 1803. The registry of deeds for that year shows a transaction of “chattels” between a William Mallard , fisherman, and Messrs. Cunningham, Bell, and Co of St. John’s


The asking price for this unique architectural treasure is $219,000.


Enjoy the photos and additional information which follows and for a viewing, please call Chris O’Dea at 685-6559 (area code 709)


Click thumbnail below to enlarge image:


Mallard Cottage 8 Barrows Road
Front View
Archival view 1 Quidi Vidi showing Mallard Cottage centre right
Archival view 2 Quidi showing Mallard Cottage centre right
Front right view
Beaded clapboard
Mallard Cottage post card
Gift of Heritage 1
Gift of Heritage 2
Main floor hearth
Second main floor hearth on other side of house
Additional hearth view
Kitchen linhay
Original front door
Front door stock lock
Beaded pine vertical wall board
Early hardware
Early hardware
Early hardware
Another hearth view
Six over six single hung windows
Second floor Victorian hearth
Second floor
Second floor
Second floor
Rear annex
Outside of rear annex
Garden shed
Back garden
Floor layout of excluding annex at rear
Footprint of structure
Moulding profiles
Location of site
Topo location
Call Chris O'Dea at 685-6559



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