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Historic Nesbitt House Relocated to Ladner Harbour Park

Mar 17, 2016

The Corporation of Delta and The Province of British Columbia are relocating the historic Nesbitt House from 10651 River Road in North Delta to Ladner Harbour Park, where the house will be restored and used as a caretaker’s residence. 

The “Nesbitt Residence” is valuable as a portrayal of Delta’s early fishing industry on the Fraser River and is recognized on Delta’s Heritage Register and the Canadian Register of Historic Places. The house was originally located at 10455 River Road. Built by the Glenrose Cannery in 1939 for their bookkeeper, Richard Nesbitt, the house - which sat outside the main cannery complex - remained the property of the cannery until 1946, when Johnston Fishing and Packing, the successor of Glenrose, subdivided the land and sold it to Mr. Nesbitt and his wife, Phyllis. The modest bungalow is also significant as an example of vernacular residential architecture constructed during the inter-war era, a transitional period between the popularity of the period revival styles of the 1920s and the emerging modernism of the 1930s. 

“Conserving and protecting Delta’s Heritage not only commemorates Delta’s history, but reaffirms our sense of community,” said Mayor Lois E. Jackson. “We’re extremely happy that we are able to preserve this iconic building while restoring its usefulness and retaining its connection to the Fraser.”

The property containing the Nesbitt Residence was acquired by the Province during the construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road. While the house could not be retained on its original site due to conflicts with the new highway, the Province committed to saving it. The Nesbitt Residence was relocated to 10651 River Road in 2013 where it was placed on a temporary foundation pending restoration works. The Province had intended to sell the property for use as a private residence following restoration of the house at that location.  Earlier this year the Province became aware that The Corporation of Delta was looking to replace the aging caretaker’s residence in Ladner Harbour Park and offered the Nesbitt House to Delta at no cost. Delta’s Chief Administrative Officer, George V. Harvie, worked closely with Geoff Freer, Executive Project Director at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, to bring this project to realization. The Province will pay to transport the house to Ladner Harbour Park and will undertake the restoration works at the new location. 

“With the donation of the Nesbitt Residence to the citizens of Delta, the Government of B.C. is honouring a commitment made during construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road,” said Delta North MLA Scott Hamilton. “Environmental protection and enhancement were priorities during South Fraser Perimeter Road construction, just as they will be with the George Massey Tunnel replacement, and the Nesbitt Residence will stand in Ladner as a testament to the care we’ve taken during these important infrastructure improvements.”

While the Nesbitt Residence is strongly affiliated with North Delta, its new location at Ladner Harbour Park respects its historical ties to the Fraser River and to Delta’s fishing industry. Having the building in public ownership allows Delta to ensure that standards of maintenance are applied and that the building does not fall into disrepair which has been a concern with some heritage buildings. The Nesbitt Residence will remain on the Heritage Register.  Delta is currently investigating options for interpretive signage which would explain the history and value of this building to the community. 

The move is expected to occur during the week of March 14 to 18. Daytime traffic will not be disrupted.

For more information on Delta’s heritage protection and conservation efforts, visit Delta.ca/Heritage.