Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
1 Bonaventure Avenue, The Observatory, is a two storey wooden house located at the corner of Bonaventure Avenue and Military Road. It is situated between several very large buildings in the heart of St. John’s. This designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
1 Bonaventure Avenue, The Observatory, is designated a municipal heritage building because it has historic and aesthetic values.
1 Bonaventure Avenue is historically valuable because of its age and association with first owner, John Delaney. Irish-born Delaney (1811-1883) was the owner of the Observatory from the time of its construction until his death. He came to Newfoundland and represented Placentia in the House of Assembly 1848-52 and 1855-56. He was appointed Postmaster General in 1860 and oversaw improvements in the mail service. His interest in meteorology led, in effect, to the development of a local meteorological service under the aegis of the Meteorological Service of Canada. A regular informant of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society in 1873. He is also significant for having made and operated the first telephone in Newfoundland in 1878. Delaney’s historical significance rests on his work in meteorology and on the telephone. 1 Bonaventure Avenue was equipped with an observatory when it was constructed. It was a two-storey structure attached to the rear addition but has since been demolished. It was from this structure, and the attached house that Delaney studied meteorology as a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society and thus made a significant contribution to the society.
1 Bonaventure Avenue is aesthetically valuable because it is a beautiful example of Second Empire Design, having survived the Great Fire of 1892. This wooden, two-storey house has a Mansard roof with a projecting central tower, itself with a mansard roof. The Observatory has returned, moulded eaves and arched one over one windows. Above the main façade windows are moulded brackets supporting wide shelves, and this is reflected around the front door. This house stands alone in its decoration, as it is the only single dwelling in the immediate area.
Source: City of St. John's Archives, Railway Coastal Museum, 3rd Floor, 495 Water Street, P.O. Box 908, St. John's, NL A1C 5M2
All those elements that embody the Second Empire style, including:
-arched 1/1 windows;
-returned moulded eaves; and
-projecting central tower.
Newfoundland and Labrador
City of St. John's
City of St. John's Development Regulations
City of St. John's Heritage Building
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of St. John's Archives, Railway Coastal Museum, 3rd Floor, 495 Water Street, P.O. Box 908, St. John's, NL A1C 5M2
Cross-Reference to Collection