Description of Historic Place
The Aubrey Island Picnic Shelter stands on a wooded island in the St. Lawrence Islands National Park of Canada. The rectangular, single-storey wooden structure is open-sided with a hipped roof supported by wooden posts at the perimeter. Executed in the Rustic style, the building has an unpartitioned interior space and is surrounded by a low surrounding railing comprised of crossed timbers. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Aubrey Island Picnic Shelter is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Aubrey Island Picnic Shelter is a very good example of a building associated with the development of Canada’s national park system and early Canadian tourism. It is also associated with the emerging ideals of protecting and enhancing designated wilderness areas for the pleasure and benefit of Canadians, and with the increase in visitors to Canadian parks during the interwar years. In response to public demand, the Crown created the St. Lawrence Islands National Park of Canada, eastern Canada’s first national park. The Aubrey Island Picnic Shelter was built in response to a perceived need for additional facilities.
The Aubrey Island Picnic Shelter is valued for its very good aesthetics. It is a good example of the rustic aesthetic developed in the 1920s and 1930s for use throughout Canada’s national park system, which was thought to complement the natural setting, and reflected the picturesque aesthetic consistent with National Parks’ tradition. The Aubrey Island Picnic Shelter demonstrates the use of milled-wood frame construction as a more economical alternative to log construction, achieving a rustic image at minimal cost. Good functional design is evidenced in the open, flexible space, while good craftsmanship is evidenced in the woodwork.
The Aubrey Island Picnic Shelter maintains an unchanged relationship to its site, is compatible with the picturesque character of Aubrey Island and is a familiar landmark to the local community and park visitors.
Sources: Kate MacFarlane, Twenty Eight Buildings, St. Lawrence Islands National Park, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Reports 93-023 through 93-038; Aubrey Island Picnic Shelter, St. Lawrence Islands National Park, Heritage Character Statement 93-033.
The character-defining elements of the Aubrey Island Picnic Shelter should be respected.
Its rustic aesthetic and conformity to the standard design for national park picnic shelters, as manifested in:
- the simple, open design and unpartitioned interior space, in keeping with its use as a public picnic shelter;
- the hipped roof, exposed rafters, vertical wood support posts, wood brackets, and concrete slab floor;
- the low surrounding railing of crossed timbers;
- the use of milled-wood frame construction, with roughly finished wood components.
The manner in which it reinforces the picturesque, yet accessible character of the setting as evidenced in:
- its remote location on a heavily treed site, with a privy and dock nearby.