McDougall Cottage Historic Site

McDougall Cottage, a c.1858 granite and limestone labourer's home, is located in downtown Cambridge in the historic factory district on the banks of the picturesque Grand River.

This cottage was home for more than a century to two families of hardworking Scots, the McDougalls and the Bairds. Today the Cottage serves as an interpretation centre celebrating Cambridge's strong Scottish heritage.

McDougall's picturesque "wee" gardens reflect James Baird's (1901-1958) passion for spring flowers, and nostalgia for his Scottish Highland homeland. Pictured right are James and Margaret Baird enjoying their back garden c. 1900.

The Cottage itself is a wonderful tribute to the Scottish stonemason's art. However, the architectural jewels in the crown of McDougall are its hand-painted friezes and trompe l'oeil ceilings, executed some 40 years after the house was constructed. 

Painted rooms were frequently the common man's answer to expensive wallpaper, painted by local amateurs or itinerant artists in imitation of much coveted French "scenic's" of the day. These beautifully-painted scenes range from the familiar to the exotic. The landscapes were painted by James Baird's brother Jack, a photographer, painter and true-life adventurer. 

The Cottage is open for afternoon visits Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Stop by for a guided tour.