Links and documents
1796/01/01 to 1797/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Located in a land depression at Fort George, a reconstructed fortification complex at Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Powder Magazine is the only remaining original building at the site. The single-storey, symmetrical, stone structure is composed of a main rectangular storage area and a smaller rectangular entry, both topped with copper-clad gable roofs. The building’s thick masonry walls, with simple details around the openings, are reinforced with stone buttresses. The interior features a brick “bomb-proof” arch. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Powder Magazine was designated a Classified Federal Heritage Building primarily because of its association with the defence of Upper Canada by the British military, and with the 1930s philosophy of restoration. Fort George was built by the British in 1796 for the defence of Upper Canada, after the British garrison was transferred to Newark and Fort Niagara was turned over to the Americans. The fort was attacked and burned by Americans during the War of 1812-14; only the Powder Magazine survives from this period. This historic structure is an important component of the reconstructed fortification complex, developed as a tourist destination in the 1930s under a Depression relief works program. Hence, the Powder Magazine is associated with both the initial growth and defence of Niagara-on-the-Lake, and with its economic development during the 1930s.
The building is a rare surviving example of a British 18th-century powder magazine, and is a well-known landmark.
Sources: Shannon Ricketts, Fort George National Historic Site, Powder Magazine, Fort George, Nova Scotia, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 89-015; Powder Magazine, Fort George National Historic Site, Nova Scotia, Heritage Character Statement, 89-015.
The following character-defining elements of the Powder Magazine should be respected.
- the sturdy thick-walled masonry construction, which is typical of the work of the Corps of Royal Engineers;
- the exterior massing with reinforcing buttresses, and the interior brick "bomb-proof" arch, which attest to the functional requirements for powder storage;
- its original protected location in a depression, which reinforces the military character of the site;
- its importance as the only original building at Fort George and as a landmark well-known to both visitors and military scholars.
Government of Canada
Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy
Classified Federal Heritage Building
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Military Support
Architect / Designer
Corps of Royal Engineers
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection