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Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/06/10

View of the exterior of the Workshop, showing the exterior walls of random coursed red sandstone, 1985.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1985.
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1895/01/01 to 1896/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/02/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Workshop is set amongst a group of buildings located on St. Mary’s Island, which is bisected by the Sault Ste. Marie Canal. The two-storey, stone building has a gable roof, exterior walls of sandstone, regularly placed windows and doors, and minimal detailing. A one-storey gable roofed extension abuts the main building. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Workshop is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value
The Workshop is associated with the construction and operation of the Sault Ste. Marie Canal, which illustrates the theme of the development of the Canada’s transportation network during the late 19th century. The first ship passed through the locks at the Sault in September 1895, and most of the canal buildings were completed by 1896. The complex of buildings illustrates the crucial years when Sault Ste. Marie was transformed from a small community into a modern industrial centre.

Architectural Value
Valued for its good aesthetics, the Workshop exhibits a classical sense of proportion and symmetry. The unornamented appearance and very good functional interior arrangement reflects the utilitarian purpose of the building. Good craftsmanship and materials is seen in the exterior masonry and in the decorative bargeboard.

Environmental Value
The Workshop maintains an unchanged relationship to its site, reinforces the historic character of its canal-side setting at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada, and is a familiar local landmark.

Sources: Sally Coutts, Sault Ste. Marie Canal Buildings, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report 85-007; Canal Buildings: Workshop, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 85-007.

Character-Defining Elements

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

Its good aesthetic, very good functional design and good quality craftsmanship and materials, for example:
- the two-storey massing, the adjoining one storey addition, and the gable roof with chimneys;
- the exterior walls of random coursed red sandstone;
- the symmetrical placement of the evenly spaced, segmentally arched windows and doors;
- the decorative bargeboard trim;
- the interior configuration.

The manner in which the Workshop maintains an unchanged relationship to its site, reinforces the historic character of its canal-side setting within the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada and is a familiar local landmark, as evidenced by:
- its ongoing relationship to its simple, open site overlooking the canal;
- its overall scale, design and materials, which harmonize with the other buildings in the lock complex and its canal side setting;
- its visibility due to its prominent location adjacent to the canal that is used for recreational purposes, which makes it a local landmark.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Canal or Canal Works

Architect / Designer

J.B. Spense



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




Related Places

General view

Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada

Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada is a man-made waterway that passes between the city of Sault Ste. Marie and Whitefish Island on the shipping channel…


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