Description of Historic Place
The coastal town of Trinity in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador retains a notable degree of 19th century and early 20th century townscape character in its designated Heritage Area. The Trinity Heritage Area encompasses three sub-areas: the Tavenor’s Point area west of Gun Hill, including Rider’s Hill, three cemeteries, a part of Crocker’s Cove and Powell’s Point; the Lower Trinity area bounded on one side by Bugden’s Lane and the other by Gun Hill, and which may be thought of as the town’s historic core; and the Hog’s Nose area east of Bugden’s Lane. The Heritage Area is relatively dense with dwellings and related outbuildings and structures; fisheries and commercial buildings and structures; public, institutional and religious buildings, historic sites, streets and a number of cemeteries. Most of the buildings are mid-19th to early-20th century wooden structures, with the majority of the dwellings being one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half storeys tall. At least a dozen of the buildings in the Heritage Area are Provincial Registered Heritage Structures, a number of which operate as publicly accessible Trinity Historical Society Sites or Provincial Historic Sites.
The Trinity Heritage Area has notable cultural value as one of the foremost examples in Newfoundland and Labrador of an historic townscape existing, to a notable degree, due to a community-driven built heritage preservation ethic. The Trinity Historical Society, one of the province’s earliest organizations of its type, formed in 1964 with a mandate to preserve historic buildings. This preservation ethic has helped ensure a cultural landscape with a high ratio of heritage buildings, structures, features and streetscapes, and one which is thereby distinctly imbued with a sense of time, place and history. A dozen of the buildings in the Historic Area are Provincial Registered Heritage Structures, including the Green Family Forge, the Public Building, the Parish Hall, St. Paul’s School, churches, a fishing stage and a number of residences.
The Trinity Heritage Area has historic value as visible evidence of the development of a distinctive, coastal settlement which emerged in the early 19th century as one of the chief communities in Trinity Bay. The historic role of major merchant firms in the community’s economy and evolution, and its consequent relative prosperity are reflected in the number of substantial dwellings, commercial buildings, public buildings, and the scale and fine Ecclesiastical Gothic Revival architecture of St. Paul’s Anglican Church. These grander buildings are interspersed amongst vernacular wooden dwellings and outbuildings, with fish stages and slipways at the shoreline. The concentration of the Heritage Area and density of the buildings towards the shoreline, with Gun Hill and Rider’s Hill forming natural boundaries, underscores the role of the landscape in the development of the town, as well as Trinity’s relationship with the sea and its historic status as a centre of overseas trade.
The massing, scale, forms and styles of the buildings and structures in the oceanside landscape of the Trinity Heritage Area collectively contribute to its aesthetic value, exhibiting 19th and early 20th century styles. Steep gable roof dwellings clad in narrow siding with little ornamentation are preponderant, creating a sense of cohesion which is punctuated by less common saltbox, mansard, gambrel, hipped and low pitch roof forms. Dwellings are generally one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half storeys tall and smaller in scale than the historically prominent institutional and commercial buildings so that the latter buildings retain their original visual prominence and landmark status in the townscape.
In addition to the impressive collection of historic buildings situated between Gun Hill and Trinity’s harbour and coves, and its ocean views, the historic network of roads and lanes contributes to the cultural landscape value of the Trinity Heritage Area. Trinity was one of the first communities in Newfoundland to implement formal road design. Beginning in 1835, a road board set to work improving the existing paths to create a system of main roads and lanes which still exists, along with the names given to them during that period. This lends an orderly nature to the layout of streets, and subsequently to the organization of lots, fences and buildings, that makes Trinity rather exceptional amongst historic communities in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Source: Town of Trinity Municipal Plan Amendment No. 5, 2006, approved by the Town of Trinity and registered with the Department of Municipal Affairs 2008/06/07.
All those features and characteristics which contribute to the historic townscape appearance of the Trinity Heritage Area, including:
-its coastal siting;
-prominent natural landscape features, including Gun Hill and Rider’s Hill;
-its mixture of buildings and related features and structures, including houses, outbuildings, fences, churches, cemeteries, stages, wharves and slipways;
-its mixture of vernacular buildings with those of more formal architectural styles;
-the preponderance of 19th and early 20th century building forms and styles, amongst which steep gabled roofs are most numerous and other forms such as mansard, hip and low pitch roofed structures are notable;
-the presence, scale and visibility of prominent buildings, including the Parish Hall, churches, and former courthouse building, from public roads;
-the compatible scale of buildings and structures;
-the massing of buildings and structures in relation to each other;
-the preponderance of traditionally constructed fence types;
-and its historic street patterns and nomenclature.