Meet the Bairds

The Bairds

James and Margaret Baird

James and Margaret Baird (nee Amos) were the second family to live in McDougall Cottage. The newlyweds purchased the cottage from Elsie McDougall (Robert McDougall's daughter) in 1901. James worked as a draughtsman for Cowan & Co., and then the Canadian Machinery Corporation.

Being a skilled woodworker, James began to renovate and update his home consistent with the fashion and taste of the period. He added the rounded portico with its Tuscan columns, glassed in the sun porch on the river side, likely laid the hardwood floors and may have upgraded the heating system, installing the beautifully cast radiators which bear the patent date 1887.

After some personal misfortune, James’ older brother, John “Jack” Baird came to stay at the Cottage and, as an act of gratitude for his brother’s help during these hard-times, transformed the interior spaces by hand-painting trompe l'oeil friezes and murals on the walls (newly revealed in early 2020) and ceilings.

These works of art, executed around 1906-1907, some 50 years after the Cottage was constructed, are based on Jack's naval travels in Canada, Scotland, and the Philippines.  Local scenes include Soper Park, then known as Jackson Park.

Jack Baird

John ‘Jack’ Baird

Margaret Baird died in died in 1946 and James continued to live in the Cottage until his death in 1959.  The Bairds never had any children.

Baird Tartan

Baird Tartan