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Powell River Townsite Historic District National Historic Site of Canada

Powell River, British Columbia, V8A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/07/06

View of the Powell River Historic District, showing the compact placement of housing on the plan, and their spatial relationship to each other, 1956.; PRA, neg. 14110, May 1956
Aerial view
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Other Name(s)

Powell River Townsite Historic District National Historic Site of Canada
Powell River “Old Town”
«Vieille ville» de Powell River

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1911/01/01 to 1955/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/12/16

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Powell River Townsite Historic District National Historic Site of Canada is a planned, single-industry town from the first half of the 20th century. Located at Powell River, British Columbia, the residential neighbourhood of standard-plan, wood-frame houses climbs a short distance up the hill behind the enormous pulp and paper mill and then stretches to the south in a gentle crescent along a heavily forested area. The extent of the site is defined by the Malaspina Strait, the Powell River and heavily wooded mountains. The designation refers to the planned housing sector and does not extend to the mill.

Heritage Value

Powell River Townsite Historic District was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1995 because:
- it is a very well-preserved and progressive example of the earliest phase of planned 20th-century single industry communities in Canada, exhibiting evidence of all the characteristics of this planning phase: a strong focus on the mill, a gridiron pattern of streets, standardized house plan segregated by class, and little significant allowance for measured growth;
- the townsite’s original plan of 1910-1911 is intact; its boundaries, which reached their current limit in 1930, are extraordinarily clear and legible;
- more than 97 percent of the existing townsite building stock predates 1940 and about 400 original homes still stand together representing a stylistically harmonious group.

The heritage value of the site resides in its physical manifestation of an early 20th-century planned, single-resource community. Developed by the Powell River Company in 1911, the early plan was implemented by George F. Hardy, a New York engineer, and later enlarged by architect John McIntyre.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, July 1995.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- the grid-iron plan oriented to the mill;
- compact placement of housing on the plan, their spatial relationships to each other and to green space;
- grouping of standard plan houses by “class”;
- the presence of sports facilities, including soccer and baseball fields, tennis courts, a gymnasium, and a golf course and greenbelt;
- presence of community facilities including a hotel (the Rodmay), an apartment block, a boarding house, a hospital, churches, a community centre (Dwight Hall), a bank, a movie theatre (the Patricia), and a company store;
- consistent use of wood building and cladding materials;
- use of restrained Arts and Crafts (West Coast Craftsman) architectural idiom for pre-1916 buildings, with characteristics elements such as pitched roofs with deep eaves and heavy brackets, shed dormers, porches, clapboard and/or shingle siding;
- use of restrained Tudor-Revival style in interwar-era buildings (post 1920), with characteristic elements such as varied rooflines, gabled dormers, mock half-timbering, multi-pane windows, porches;
- use of a Modernist architectural idiom in post-1950 buildings, with characteristic elements such as simple, rectangular massing under a flat roof, strip windows, and glass curtainwalls.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1995/07/06

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1911/01/01 to 1916/01/01
1920/01/01 to 1930/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Settlement
Developing Economies
Extraction and Production
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Community
Town

Historic

Architect / Designer

John McIntyre

Builder

Powell River Company

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

842

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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