Description of Historic Place
Sheltered in a grove of oaks overlooking the St. Lawrence River, Gordon Island Pavilion is located in the St. Lawrence Islands National Park of Canada. The shelter is an open-walled, timber structure executed in the Rustic style. It consists of a simple, elongated octagon, with an octagonal roof, supported at the perimeter by slender, paired wooden Doric columns. Large, dormer gables at the front and back of the building denote the access points, while two massive rubble stone pillars flank the front entrance. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Gordon Island Pavilion is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values:
The Gordon Island Pavilion is a very good example of a building associated with the development of Canada’s National Park system and early Canadian tourism. It is also associated with the emerging ideals of protecting and enhancing designated wilderness areas for the pleasure and benefit of Canadians. The Crown, in response to public demand, the crown reserved the St. Lawrence Islands, as the St. Lawrence Islands National Park of Canada, eastern Canada’s first national park. The Gordon Island Pavilion is one of three remaining original pavilions that predate the establishment of the St. Lawrence Islands National Park of Canada, and is one of the oldest structures of its type within the Canadian parks system.
The Gordon Island Pavilion, valued for its very good aesthetics, is an example of Rustic picturesque. The informal Rustic style was thought to complement the natural setting, and reflected the picturesque aesthetic consistent with National Parks’ tradition. The massive stone rubble pillars are not original to the design, however, they are an important later addition, and reflect the rustic stylistic influences of the 1920s and 1930s. Very good functional design is evidenced in the open, flexible space, while very good craftsmanship and materials are seen in the Doric columns, the articulated box beam that supports the roof, the low wooden railing and the stonework.
The Gordon Island Pavilion establishes the picturesque character of the Gordon Island setting. The shelter can be seen by visitors to the island and by those in passing boats. The structure is a landmark to the local community and to park visitors.
Sources: Pavilion, Gordon Island, St. Lawrence Islands National Park, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Report 93-023; The Gordon Island Picnic Shelter / Pavilion, Gordon Island, St. Lawrence Islands National Park, Heritage Character Statement 93-023.
The character-defining elements of the Gordon Island Pavilion should be respected.
Its very good aesthetics, as seen in its Rustic style, very good functional design and very good quality craftsmanship, for example:
- the simple, low massing of the one-storey structure with an octagonal plan;
- the predominantly wood construction materials, specifically hemlock and white pine;
- the medium-pitched, octagonal roof structure supported by an articulated box beam, which in turn, is supported at the perimeter by slender paired wooden Doric columns;
- the two massive rubble stone pillars that flank the front entrance, and the front and back access points, denoted by the large dormer gables, clad in painted horizontal clapboard with decorative trim;
- the decorative exposed rafter ends, the low wooden railing, and the green and white paint scheme;
- the open, flexible interior space unobstructed by interior columns, and the ceiling of varnished, tongue-and-groove pine.
The Gordon Island Pavilion establishes the picturesque character of Gordon Island, and is a landmark within St. Lawrence Islands National Park of Canada, as evidenced by:
- its design and materials, which harmonize with its natural surroundings and reinforces the park’s picturesque character;
- its familiarity to park visitors through its use as a picnic shelter.