Originally purchased in 1833 by John McDiarmid and his wife Margaret (Stewart), this part of the property was heavily forested at one time. Once it was cleared for farmland, a log cabin was built and remained there until 1864 when it was replaced by the present stone house. The original laneway went east to the 25th Side Road, through the property owned by Margaret’s brother. The beginning and end of that laneway (called Stewart Lane) can still be seen as it leaves the east side of the house and disappears into land now owned by our neighbour, Sunset Villa.
After Col. Maclean bought the property, he invested in thoroughbred Ayrshires. They lived in the barn behind the Dove house and produced quality milk and cream, and it is said that the barn had varnished ceilings and walls with overflowing window boxes hanging on each barn window. Sadly, the barn was destroyed by fire in the 1950’s.
While Col. Maclean owned the Crieff Hills Farm he invited his personal secretary, Miss Ethel Dove, and her sister to move into the house. Until 1983, the women made use of it as a weekend and summer retreat, tending the gardens and making minor additions such as the back kitchen and the sunroom. Because Ethel was an avid gardener (and at one time even the President of the Toronto Horticultural Society) she had a greenhouse installed and created a formal sunken garden with a small stone waterfall. In recent years, work has been done to recover the gardens and today you will see a lovely shaded area with spring bulbs, hostas, and freshly planted native species. Just in front of the house is a huge American Beech Tree marked with an historic sign.