J. Alfred MacInnes Mansion

785 Young Avenue

Built 1909

Architect Richard Arthur Johnson

Queen Anne Revival/Georgian Revival styles

Photo: J. Alfred MacInnes Mansion (© 2017 Barry Copp)

This house was built for J. Alfred MacInnes. MacInnes was born in 1869 and he worked as a lumber merchant until his death in 1947 at age 78. He was the son of John and Annie MacInnes who lived next door. Alfred's wife was Edith Harriette Conrod born in 1873 and died in 1957. After Alfred's death, Edith moved to Robie Street across from Saint Mary's University.


In 1948 the house was registered to Arthur Balders, the son of Major Ralph Edward Halfred Balders and Jean Agnes (Labatt) Balders. Arthur's mother was the daughter of Canadian businessman and well-known brewer, John Labatt and Sophia Amelia Labatt. After Major Balders died in Boulderwood in 1943, his wife appears to have moved into her son's home when he bought it. In 1949, Jean married Sir Kenelm Lister-Kaye and became Lady Jean Agnes Lister-Kaye.


Alfred MacInnes hired the same architect that his father had hired, Richard Arthur Johnson, to design his home. This home is probably one of Johnson's best residential works and the plans were drawn up in the summer of 1909.


The structure is an impressively large home standing two-and-a-half-stories high with two bay windows. It is a mix of Queen Anne Revival and Georgian Revival styles. The house is symmetrical with a two-and-one-half storey high, projecting, pedimented gable-front entrance. The beautiful and elaborate entrance has a fanlight above the door, with patterned sidelights on either side. There is also a fanlight above the second-floor window with a web-patterned muntins and sixteen-over-one window panes on either side of it. The house has three-windowed, one-storey bays on either side of the main entrance, and shuttered half Georgian double windows on the second storey above the bays. The roof incorporates two unusual curving pedimented dormers each with diamond-shaped glass in the double windows.

The basement consisted of two rooms for hard and soft coal, cold closet, rear basement entrance, servants' stairs, boiler, and a large open area. The first floor (ground floor) initially had a wrap around verandah at the end of which was a solarium, vestibule, front hall, main stairway, coat room, dining room, sitting room, den, china closet, servants' hall, kitchen, pantry, rear servants' stairs, root cellar, and rear entrance. The second floor had four bedrooms, hall, main stairway, sewing room, two bathrooms, and servants' stairs. The attic had two small rooms, servants' stairs and one large room not labelled.

The home still retains most of the original woodwork, double pocket doors, and patterned glass.


Original blueprints showed a full width wrap-around verandah with columns and roof running the length of the front and around the right hand side. The second level had columns and dentils along the full width as well. Unfortunately, they were all removed at some point.

Photo: c.1919 Capt. R.E. Balders

(Courtesy The Regimental Rogue)

Photo: c.1909 J. Alfred MacInnes Mansion Front and North Side design by architect R.A. Johnson

(Courtesy Halifax Municipal Archives)

Photo: c.1909 J. Alfred MacInnes Mansion South Side and Rear design by architect R.A. Johnson

(Courtesy Halifax Municipal Archives)

Photo: c.1909 J. Alfred MacInnes Mansion Basement and First Floor design by architect R.A. Johnson

(Courtesy Halifax Municipal Archives)

Photo: c.1909 J. Alfred MacInnes Mansion Second and Attic Floor design by architect R.A. Johnson

(Courtesy Halifax Municipal Archives)

Barry Copp Design

© 2017

Website & YADHCS Logo designed by Barry Copp © 2017 All Rights Reserved

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