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Royal Military College Saint-Jean, Officer's Mess

Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1987/07/28

View of the Officer's Mess, showing the hipped roof with wooden eaves, 1982.; Ministère de la Défense nationale / Department of National Defence, 1982.
Rear elevation
View of the Officer's Mess, showing the two-storey, rectangular massing with its rigid symmetry, and its simple form and proportions with projecting end pavilions, 1982.; Ministère de la Défense nationale / Department of National Defence, 1982.
Front elevation
No Image

Other Name(s)

Royal Military College Saint-Jean, Officer's Mess
Building 5
Bâtiment 5

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1839/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/09/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Officer’s Mess, also known as Building 5 is one of a group of buildings located within the earthen ramparts of the former Fort Saint-Jean, now the Royal Military College Saint Jean. The large, rectangular building with projecting end pavilions is topped by a hipped roof with many brick chimneys. Regularly spaced windows with minimal stonework, and pedimented door openings, enliven the solid brick walls of the building. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Officer’s Mess is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.

Historical Value
The Officer’s Mess, as one of a group of buildings constructed within the walls of the former Fort Saint-Jean in 1839, is closely associated with an effort to improve the district’s defences following the 1837-1838 rebellion. Fort Saint-Jean remained an important military centre for the stationing of troops and supplies. The structure is also associated with a period of growth in the city’s commercial activity and its supporting railway, canal and bridge transportation links. One of the most significant stages in the development of the complex was its choice in 1952 as Canada’s third, and first francophone, military college.

Architectural Value
The Officer’s Mess is valued for its good aesthetic design whereby simplified vernacular forms influenced by British Classicism are evidenced in its rigid symmetry, rectangular form and classical proportions. The solid walls of irregularly sized brick demonstrate a good functional design. The stonework, such as the dressed foundation, and the flat arches that span the regularly spaced windows, are also evidence of the building’s very good craftsmanship and materials.

Environmental Value
The Officer’s Mess reinforces the mid-19th century character of its former fort, now military school setting at the Royal Military College Saint Jean. The building is well-known to those who live, work and frequent the complex.

Sources: Joanna H. Doherty, Four Buildings at Collège Militaire Royal, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report, 86-073; Building No.5, Collège Militaire Royal, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 86-073.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Officer’s Mess should be respected.

Its classically influenced aesthetic design, good functional design and fine quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the two-storey, rectangular massing with its rigid symmetry, and its simple form and proportions with projecting end pavilions;
- the hipped roof with wooden eaves, boxed and supported on brackets on four sides, and the four brick chimneys formally aligned at the apexes of the longitudinal slope;
- the masonry construction of irregularly sized brick laid in common bond and in flat arches over openings, and the dressed stone foundation and trim;
- the regularly spaced window openings and pedimented entrances.

The manner in which the Officer’s Mess reinforces the mid-19th century character of its former fort, now military school, setting at the Royal Military College Saint Jean and is a well-known building, as evidenced by:
- its large scale, design, construction, and materials, which contribute to the character of a group of four similar buildings within the earthen ramparts of the military school setting;
- its familiarity as a residence to staff, students and visitors, and its national recognition as part of the grounds of the old Fort St. Jean.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date

1987/07/28

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type

Current

Education
Composite School

Historic

Defence
Military Support

Architect / Designer

Thomas Foster

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

2870

Status

Published

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Historic image

Fort Saint-Jean National Historic Site of Canada

Fort Saint-Jean National Historic Site of Canada is located on the Richelieu River, about 40 kilometres southeast of Montréal, in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec. Built in the…

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