Hillary House Architecture

Built in 1862, Hillary House is recognized by the National Historic Sites and Monuments Board as one of Canada’s best examples of Gothic Revival architecture. It contains a significant collection of medical instruments, books, papers, household furnishings, and equipment dating from the early nineteenth to the late twentieth century and is open to the public as Hillary House, the Koffler Museum of Medicine.

Hillary House is potentially among the foremost historic house museums in North America, combining architectural significance and the personal possessions of three generations of medical doctors who worked and lived there with their families. It is a window to a time of immense change, from the era of leeches and bleeding to the advent of penicillin, from a time of calling cards and private ballrooms to the arrival of the phonograph. Few museums can evoke the past and inexorable change so compellingly.

Adapted, with permission, from the essay, “The Manor: Essay in Gothic Revival” by Dr. W. John McIntyre from the booklet Hillary House (“The Manor”) by John McIntyre and Michael Wills, published in 1975 by the Aurora Historical Society.