Description of Historic Place
The Fog Alarm Building sits between the river and the access road to the Pointe-au-Père Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada, 15 kilometers northeast of the city of Rimouski. The wood-frame building is one-and-a-half storeys tall, with a gabled roof and dormer. The walls, clad in horizontal wood siding, are pierced with regularly arranged, wood trimmed, multi-pane windows and a large opening on the north façade. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Fog Alarm Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Fog Alarm Building is directly associated with the modernization program to improve 14 light stations along the St. Lawrence River, from the Strait of Belle Isle to Pointe-au-Père. The program represented an effort to improve navigation along the St. Lawrence River in the early 20th century to improve trade. The site had also gained significance through the 19th century as a home for river pilots, its prominent position providing an excellent staging in point for the required exchange of personnel. This activity encouraged additional improvements to navigational aids during the same period, including a new quay in 1902 and a Marconi Station in 1909. The modernization program culminated on this site with the 1909 construction of the lighthouse.
The Fog Alarm Building is valued for its good aesthetic design. Its utilitarian character is distinguished from that of a dwelling by the absence of ornamental detail and façade treatment. Of very good functional design, the building has adapted over time to suit ongoing technological developments. It was used to test a number of sound-generating mechanisms prior to their use elsewhere in Canada and housed an experimental Scottish siren, and a diaphone. Frequent changes to the orientation and elevation of the horn, used as a resonator, were made to increase its effectiveness, including stations on the building’s roof, for which a dormer was constructed.
The Fog Alarm Building reinforces the utilitarian character of its light station setting and is a familiar landmark at Pointe-au-Père.
Sources: Norman Lafrenière avec collaboration de Yvan Fortier, La station de phare de Pointe-au-Père, Québec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 90-011; Light Station : Fog Alarm Building, Pointe-au-Père, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 90-011.
The character-defining elements of the Fog Alarm Building should be respected.
Its good aesthetic and very good functional design, and good craftsmanship and materials, as for example:
- the one-and-a-half storey, rectangular massing with a gable roof and dormer;
- the concrete foundation;
- the wood frame construction and horizontal wood siding;
- the regular arrangement of windows and doors and the large opening on the north façade;
- the surviving machinery and its concrete base.
The manner in which the Fog Alarm Building reinforces the utilitarian character of its light station setting, as evidenced by:
- its overall design and materials, which harmonize with the nearby lighthouse and adjacent outbuildings;
- its historical and functional role in association with the other components of the light
station, including the lighthouse, which makes it familiar.