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Towers

Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Penitentiary, Laval, Quebec, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/02/07

View of the base of one of the Towers, showing the tower base of poured concrete that has been tinted and scribed to resemble Trenton limestone facing, 1990.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, Dana Johnson, 1990.
Exterior view
View of the north-west Tower, showing the semicircular concrete enclosure of the guardhouse, which opens onto the walkways along the top of the walls, 1990.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, Dana Johnson, 1990.
Side view
View of one of the Towers from inside the walls, showing the circular frame guardhouse, glazed on all sides, with a steep octagonal roof, 1990.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, Dana Johnson, 1990.
General view

Other Name(s)

Towers
Guard Towers
Tours de garde

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1929/01/01 to 1931/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/02/02

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Towers are prominently located at the four corners of the enclosing walls at the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Penitentiary. Each of the four towers is composed of a concrete shaft veneered with dressed stone and surmounted by a concrete platform with a circular frame guardhouse capped by a steep octagonal roof. The guardhouses open onto the walkways along the top of the enclosing walls, either directly or by metal stairs. The designation is confined to the footprint of the towers.

Heritage Value

The Towers are Recognized Federal Heritage Buildings because of their historical associations, and architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value
The Towers are associated with the general theme of law enforcement and consequential incarceration of convicted lawbreakers within the confines of the penitentiary.

Architectural Value
The Towers are valued for their good aesthetic and very good functional design. Their design rests within the tradition of military engineering. The Towers were functionally designed to shelter guards patrolling the walls and to give access to the walls via interior spiral staircases. Built to a single plan prepared in 1927, they were considered by departmental policy to be essential design elements in any pre-1950 penitentiary.

Environmental Value
The Towers reinforce the penitentiary character of the institutional setting in Laval and are well-known landmarks in the region.

Sources: Dana Johnson, Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Penitentiary, Laval, Québec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 89-033; Towers, Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Penitentiary, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 89-033.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Towers should be respected.

Its good aesthetic and very good functional design and good craftsmanship and materials, as for example:
- the heavy massing of the concrete tower clad in dressed stone;
- the tower base of poured concrete that has been tinted and scribed to resemble Trenton limestone facing;
- the concrete platform, which is corbelled out from the tower base;
- the circular frame guardhouse, glazed on all sides, with a steep octagonal roof;
- the semicircular concrete enclosure of the guardhouse, which opens onto the walkways along the top of the walls;
- the interior spiral staircases of the towers leading up to the glazed enclosure of the guardhouse.

The manner in which the Towers reinforce the penitentiary character of the institutional setting in Laval and are well-known landmarks, as evidenced by:
- the overall scale, design and materials of the towers, which clearly identify the complex as a correctional facility;
- the prominent location of the towers at the four corners of the enclosing walls, and the public view of these identifying features, which makes them well-known in the region.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date

1991/02/07

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Government
Correctional Facility

Architect / Designer

Architectural Branch of the Department of Justice

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

4794

Status

Published

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