Walter and Christina Pybus Farm

5300 34B Avenue
Delta, BC

Built: 1913
 

The Walter and Christina Pybus Residence and Barn is comprised of a two-storey Foursquare house, a large barn and associated landscape features. The house and barn are prominently situated in a picturesque agricultural setting near the corner of 34B Avenue and Arthur Drive and are set in a landscaped area, with mature trees, orchard remnants, and mature holly with surrounding agricultural fields.

Status: Still Standing

Walter Pybus Residence - 2004
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Heritage Value

The Walter and Christina Pybus Residence and Barn are of heritage value as an example of an historic Delta farmstead, for its association with an important pioneering family and as a reminder of Delta's important agricultural past.

Located on the first major cross road in the agricultural area south of Ladner village and adjacent to the early transportation corridor of Chilukthan Slough, it represents the growth of population with concurrent improvements in access. The site is rare because it possesses an early twentieth century house and associated barn amidst a relatively rural, agricultural landscape, well separated from modern housing and industrial development. The substantial nature of the Foursquare house and the barn is significant in its demonstration of the pattern of development of the area's farms. Built in 1913, a decade after Walter Chadwick Pybus moved to the property and four years after his marriage to Christina McNeill, the house is a testament to his farming success as well as the economic importance and value of farming in the community. The large barn was erected in 1910, an indication that the provision of farm outbuildings was essential to the success of the venture and that the construction of an impressive family home could only be undertaken once agricultural needs had been met.

The Walter Pybus Residence and Barn are historically significant for their association with the Pybus family. William Chadwick Pybus was a pioneer in Delta, a prominent member of the community and well-known for his hospitality at his home on Crescent Island. The Pybus family was active in this farming community; William was a founding member of the Delta Agricultural Society in 1888. His son, Walter Chadwick Pybus, farmed this land from 1903 until his death in 1951, and another son, Rock Pybus, owned the farm to the south.

Additionally, the Walter Pybus House is valued as a fine example of the Foursquare style, exhibiting characteristic elements such as simple cubic massing and a broad, low-pitched hipped roof. The Foursquare style provided a rational way to build that suited the needs of farmers, especially those with large families. It maximized the volume achieved within the building envelope through a logical floor plan with central access to all rooms. The broad hipped roof covered the rectangular plan with a minimum of framing. Although utilitarian, this basic form could then be decorated with stylistic elements that gave the building more architectural pretension.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Walter Pybus Residence and Barn include:

  • their location in a prominent position at the junction of 34B Avenue and Arthur Drive, in an area of similar farmsteads
  • their continuous use as a working farm
  • associated landscape features, such as mature perimeter planting; mature trees; orchard remnants; holly trees flanking the entrance; and surrounding agricultural fields

    Elements of the house, such as:

  • two-storey plus basement, cubic massing and Foursquare plan
  • wood-frame construction and concrete basement
  • hipped roof with bellcast eaves
  • internal brick chimney
  • additional exterior features such as the original front door, fenestration including piano windows with original stained glass panels at the north-east and south-west sides, original pair of double-hung 1-over-1 wooden-sash windows with horns to the left of the front door, and stained-glass feature window at the entry

    Elements of the barn, such as:

  • large scale of the side-gabled roof with shed-roofed extensions at each gabled end
  • heavy timber frame construction
  • vertical board-and-batten siding
  • multi-paned windows
  • large sliding doors