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Niagara District Court House National Historic Site of Canada

26 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, L0S, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1981/01/15

General view of Niagara District Court House, showing its close relationship with the main street of the town and with its neighbouring buildings, 2010.; Old Niagara Court House, Sean Marshall, October, 2010.
General view
Detail view of Niagara District Court House, showing classical details, such as the corner quoins, pediment, stringcourses, and porch with columns, 2010.; Old Niagara Court House, Sean Marshall, October 2010.
Detail view
General view of Niagara District Court House, showing its Neoclassical design, as expressed by its mass, symmetry, and stone façade, 1990.; Parks Canada Agency/ Agence Parks Canada, 1990
General view

Other Name(s)

Niagara District Court House National Historic Site of Canada
Niagara District Court House
Palais de justice du district de Niagara

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1846/01/01 to 1847/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/10/28

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Located on the main street of Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Niagara District Court House National Historic Site of Canada is a handsome stone building in a classical style. Its classicism is expressed through its symmetry and classical details, such as the central pediment, porch with columns, window surrounds, and stringcourses. The surviving interior spaces reflect the multiple uses for which this building was designed.

Heritage Value

The Niagara District Court House was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1980 because:
-designed by the prominent Toronto architect, William Thomas, in the fashionable Neoclassical style, it is an excellent example of a mid-19th century multipurpose civic structure.

The Niagara District Court House marks a step in the transition to large and more sophisticated civic buildings after 1850. Its greater scale resulted from the inclusion of a wide range of functions. In addition to the courtroom, offices and jail, the Niagara District Court House also included a town hall and market. The structure was designed by William Thomas, an architect of national standing, adept at several classical styles.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Submission Report, Minutes, 1980; Early Canadian Court Houses (Ottawa: Parks Canada, 1983).

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- its Neoclassical design, as expressed by its mass, symmetry, stone façade, and classical details, such as the corner quoins, pediment, stringcourses, and porch with columns;
- its complex of interior spaces, which support its original multifunctionalism;
- its surviving interior finishes;
- its close relationship with the main street of the town and with its neighbouring buildings.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1981/01/15

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Security and Law
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Government
Courthouse and/or Registry Office

Architect / Designer

William Thomas

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

438

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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