Description of Historic Place
The North Magazine is a solid, two-storey stone structure located east of the parade grounds at Fort Lennox National Historic Site of Canada. The austere, rectangular building has a low-slope, hipped roof and minimal decoration. Small multi-pane windows are regularly arranged on the upper level while loophole openings are found on the ground level. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The North Magazine is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The North Magazine is closely associated with the theme of the defence of Canada. Following the war of 1812-1814, British officers had to rethink their strategy in order to protect against any enemy incursion via Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River. They decided to build a fort on Ile-aux-Noix rather than in St. Jean because that site offered definite advantages in the event of a naval attack. The North Magazine is a major component of Fort Lennox National Historic Site of Canada.
The North Magazine is valued for its good aesthetic qualities and its very good functional design. A solid masonry building of military austerity, its utilitarian design made it possible to store various items and withstand sustained enemy attack. The choice of durable materials, such as Chazy limestone, renowned for its durability, and the decision to use proven building techniques, illustrate the designer’s determination to meet the highest standards of the day. The quality of the consolidation and restoration of the magazine in the 1990s respected the historic fabric.
The North Magazine maintains an unchanged relationship to its site at Fort Lennox. The building reinforces the defensive military character of its fort setting and is a well-known building within the area.
Sources: Gisèle Piédalue avec la collaboration d’André Charbonneau, d’Yvan Fortier et de Paul Trépanier, La poudrière et les magasins du fort Lennox, Québec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 91-040; North Magazine, St.-Paul-de-l’Ile-aux-noix, Fort Lennox, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 91-040.
The character-defining elements of the North Magazine should be respected.
Its good aesthetic and very good functional design, and very good craftsmanship and materials, as for example:
- the architectural scheme of the two-storey building, which reflects the objectives of solidity specific to utilitarian military structures at that time. Specifically, the rectangular plan, the use of solid masonry walls made from Chazy limestone, the low-slope hipped roof and minimal decoration, especially visible on the façades;
- the features related to the building’s functions as a warehouse, such as the entrances, the door on the second floor and its pulley system for hoisting bundled material, the versatility and bare character of the open interior spaces;
- the inward-flaring window embrasures and the bomb-proof vaulted ground floor, which are signs that the building was designed to resist a sustained attack;
- the ruins of the foundations of the first building, which was never completed.
The manner in which the North Magazine maintains an unchanged relationship to its site, reinforces the defensive military character of its fort setting and is a well-known landmark in the area, as evidenced by:
- its ongoing relationship to its site and its contribution to the visual balance of the east side of the parade ground;
- the relationship between the North Magazine and its twin, the South Magazine, two buildings that make up a visually and functionally indivisible complex;
- the clean and simple architectural treatment, including the regularity of the fenestration, which is consistent with the style evident in all of the buildings located around the parade ground;
- its visibility within the fort, due to its scale and prominent location;
- its role as a major component of Fort Lennox National Historic Site of Canada, which makes it a landmark in the region.