Description of Historic Place
The Carillon Barracks, also known as the Old Barracks, in Carillon, Québec, enjoys a commanding view of the Ottawa River. The large, rectangular stone structure was built as two blocks, separated by a wide stonewall running from basement to attic, and joined by a hipped roof. A central dormer and symmetrically placed chimneys mark the main façades. Each block has a wide entrance door decorated with transom and side lights, and a Palladian window above. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Carillon Barracks are a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of their historical associations, and architectural and environmental values.
The Carillon Barracks are closely associated with the history of defence and transportation in Lower Canada. Constructed for Charles John Forbes, a retired Commissioner of the British Army, the building was used as a troop quarters during the building of the Carillon Canal and the Rebellion of 1837, and later as a residence and hotel. The town of Carillon once saw a great deal of cargo and passenger traffic, as the terminus of the steamship line from Montréal, and the head of the rail line to Grenville. Since 1938, the building has housed the museum of the Argenteuil Historical Society and it is now part of Carillon Barracks National Historic Site of Canada.
The Carillon Barracks are valued for their excellent aesthetic design, and are a fine example of the classic British architecture found in the St. Lawrence and Ottawa valleys. The character of the building resides in its neoclassical scale, massing and proportions, and in the detailing of its façades with their symmetrically arranged matching doors, Palladian windows, sash windows, dormers and corner chimneys. The simplicity and versatility of the floor plan demonstrates a very good functional design, which has successfully accommodated the building’s various uses. In addition, the very good craftsmanship of the building is evidenced in its stone work and detailing as well as the finishing woodwork on the interior.
The Carillon Barracks, with their commanding view of the Ottawa River, reinforce the character of its picturesque residential setting. The building attracted many holiday travelers in the early 20th century and is well-known in the region.
Sources: Old Barracks, Carillon, Québec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 90-016;Old Barracks, Carillon, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 90-016.
The following character-defining elements of the Carillon Barracks should be respected.
The excellent aesthetic design, very good functional design and very good materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the rectangular structure, comprised of two separate blocks, constructed back-to-back, each with its own façade, and separated by a thick stone wall from basement to attic;
- the hipped roof with its symmetrical arrangement of chimneys and dormers;
- the composition of the main façades at either end of the building with their large entrance door with depressed-arch transom and side lights, and a second storey depressed-arch Palladian window with two side windows and symmetrically positioned eight-over-eight sash windows;
- the cut-stone facing with quoins on the main façades and the rough stone masonry of the side walls;
- the multi-paned, wooden sash windows along the side façade;
- the simplicity and versatility of the floor plan including the arrangement of the corridors and door locations;
- the interior finishing materials such as the wall cladding of either boards or plaster and the wood floors;
- the interior trim including the fireplaces, mantles, arched doorways on the ground floor, doors, baseboards and staircases.
The manner in which the Carillon Barracks reinforce the character of its picturesque residential setting and is a well known building in Carillon, as evidenced by:
- the overall scale, design and materials which complement the river view setting and harmonize with the landscaped surroundings;
- the role as a museum and attraction, as part of a National Historic Site of Canada, which makes it familiar to residents and visitors of the area.