**JUNE 22, 2006 Mansion has been destroyed by fire, the interior is fully gutted, parts of the roof have collapsed.**
Huge house situated along Canada's busiest freeway (King's Highway 401), this house and its guest house are rotting away but it really deserves to be saved and restored. The interesting feature is that the house is 129 years old!
(Ringwood has been saved.)
nearby Rona store
Built: 0 Closed: 0
Whitby's Ringwood Mansion on verge of ruin
Future use of heritage property still unknown
February 15, 2005 By David Blumenfeld From durhamregion.com
WHITBY - A descendant of the man who built Ringwood Mansion says the house is a "goner" if nothing is done soon to restore the property.
"I just think it will take an awful lot of money to get it up to par; to do something to restore it to its historical state," said Joan Cook, the great-great-granddaughter of Barnabus Gibson, who built the stately yellow brick home in 1876.
The Victoria Street home - a fixture for commuters travelling along Hwy. 401 in and out of Whitby - was damaged earlier this month when sub-zero temperatures caused its aging pipes to burst, sending torrents of water through the 129-year-old structure.
Ms. Cook, who had never seen the interior of the house until Feb. 13, said it would be a shame to see it deteriorate further. The house was built with a number of marble fireplaces and intricately designed ceilings, fixtures that can still be seen today, despite the mounds of ice inside.
"When I peeked in the front window and saw that ceiling - it's absolutely amazing. I've never seen anything like it," she said. "Someone made a lot of effort in that house at one time, and it's historical."
Town archivist Brian Winter said Mr. Gibson came to Whitby in 1871 and established himself as a contractor during the railway boom. After a number of prosperous years, a decline in railway construction forced him to mortgage the house, and in 1897, the bank foreclosed on it.
Since then, a number of owners have taken control of the property. Most recently it served as headquarters for the Durham Business Advisory Committee. Today, it is a designated heritage property owned by Trinity Property Management, said Bob Short, Whitby's director of planning.
"We've zoned the property as part of a large box development site... to try to protect the property," Mr. Short said, adding that the Town is looking at it for some sort of commercial use.
Ms. Cook, on the other hand, said she had a number of ideas about how the structure could be used. It could become a museum, or made into some sort of entry point or greeting spot for Whitby visitors.
Ms. Cook's husband, Bryn, said it would be a shame if the house was eventually razed to put in a parking lot.
"The inside appears to be like a Siberian set from the movie Doctor Zhivago. It will be a horrible and wasteful shame if this is lost," he said.