Oliver Barn

11550 Ladner Trunk Road
Delta, BC

Built: 1930

The Oliver Barn is a dismantled Gothic arch-roofed barn, designed with a rare laminated roof truss system. The barn was of heavy timber construction and was clad with vertical plank siding. It has been dismantled pending the construction of a new, similar structure within which the original elements of the Oliver Barn will be re-assembled.

Status: Demolished

Oliver Barn - 2004
click photo to enlarge

Heritage Value

Built in 1930, the Oliver Barn is valued as an early and rare Gothic arch-roofed barn. The specialized and sophisticated roof structure was built of an unusual laminated truss system, which eliminated the need for internal supports on the top floor and gave it this characteristic shape. The Oliver Barn was one of the few true arch-roofed barns built in the lower Mainland. It was also a notably tall structure and a landmark in the area.

The Oliver Barn is additionally valued for its historical associations with the Oliver family. �Honest� John Oliver was an early Delta pioneer of the Mud Bay area and British Columbia politician, serving in the provincial legislature for many years before becoming Premier in 1918 until his death in 1927. His son, John Oliver Junior (known as 'Jack'), purchased this property adjacent to his father's property in 1920. His farm was never very successful, but he was known for his eccentric and progressive ideas, such as his radical design of this barn. Jack Oliver designed the barn himself, and built it in his spare time with the help of a hired labourer. A sawmill was set up on the farm to cut the lumber for this structure.

The Oliver Barn illustrates the continuing developing of Mud Bay farms and is a significant link to Delta's historic agricultural past. It is particularly valuable as many of Delta�s barns have been lost due to the decline in traditional agricultural production, modern industrial and resiential development, and general neglect, combined with the loss of their original agricultural context. The barn�s reconstruction within a new building to preserve its structure and historic fabric, illustrate an innovative way in which redundant agricultural structures can be adapted for new uses.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Oliver Barn include:

  • Gothic arch roof, with a slight point at the peak and a slight bellcast flare at the eaves.
  • Nail-laminated bent lumber arched ribs.
  • Mortise-and-tenon heavy timber construction
  • Open-span upper floor hay loft space, without interior supports.
  • Vertical board-and-batten plank cladding.