Description of Historic Place
Galt Collegiate Institute, located at 210 Water Street North, is situated on the west side of Water Street, between Dando Avenue and the Canadian National Railway, in the former City of Galt, now the City of Cambridge. The property consists of a three-and-a-half-storey limestone building that was constructed in 1854.
The property was designated by the City of Cambridge in 1983 for its historic and architectural significance under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 16-83).
The land on which Galt Collegiate Institute is situated was donated to the Village of Galt, in 1854, by the Dickson Family. The Dicksons were a founding family of Galt and also donated land for the Dickson Public School, which was constructed in 1877.
Galt Collegiate Institute is one of the oldest public buildings in the former Town of Galt. The Galt Grammar School, as it was first known, was founded, in 1852, by Michael C. Howe and became an outstanding private school for boys. The school also attained wide distinction under his successor, William Tassie, who was noted as a strict disciplinarian and classical scholar. For generations, it was the principal place for higher education, in the area.
Galt Collegiate Institute is a well-known building in the City of Cambridge. The plain symmetrical building, of 1854, and several later additions, between 1859 and 1923, are constructed of fossilized limestone, quarried from the riverbanks, on site. It was designed in the Scottish Baronial style. Typical of this style, it incorporates many architectural features including crow step gables, Romanesque arches, and broken-arch pediments. The skyline above the school is dominated by two stone towers and two decorative cupola-like ventilator hoods. The interior entrance, Memorial Tablet, of gray marble, was erected in 1920 and was extended in 1954, to include casualties of World War II.
The school, overlooking large open grass playing fields and set back at a distance from Water Street North, on the forested bank of the Grand River, is a significant local landmark.
Sources: City of Cambridge By-law 16-83; City of Cambridge LACAC Building Description, 1983.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of Galt Collegiate Institute include its:
- limestone construction of the front façade and north, south and east elevations, excluding those of the 1963 addition and beyond
- limestone surrounds and sills on windows and door openings
- crow step gables
- Romanesque arches and broken-arch pediments
- crenulations and buttresses on designated walls
- two stone towers and the two decorative cupola-like ventilator hoods
- rooflines above designated sections, excluding additions made after 1963
- proximity and orientation to the Grand River
- siting on the property, set back from Water Street North