Description of Historic Place
The original part of the Pavillon Irène Léger was built between 1947 and 1949 in the modern religious institutional style, and an expansion was added to the back in 1967-1968. The description includes both sections of the building. The site is located on the main street, in the heart of the Town of Shippagan.
The heritage value of the Pavillon Irène Léger lies in its historical interest, but first and foremost in its institutional nature.
Construction of the oldest part of the Pavillon Irène Léger began in 1947 and ended in 1949. La construction acadienne de Gloucester was chosen as the building contractor at a cost of $250,000, and the plans were prepared by the J.S. Bergeron firm from Quebec City. A five-storey brick building with a basement, this structure is a good example of modern religious institutional architecture from the mid-20th century.
Between 1967 and 1968, a piece was added to the right side behind the original building. The construction of the extension was entrusted to the A. C. Mallet et Fils Company from Shippagan at a cost of $666,990, and the plans were designed by architects Bélanger and Roy of Moncton. The expansion produced a late modern-style building.
The structure was originally built for the Religieuses de Jésus-Marie (Sisters of Jésus-Marie) congregation and was called the Couvent Jésus-Marie (Jésus-Marie Convent). Its main purpose was to be a residence for the sisters who taught in the region’s public schools. In September 1950, the convent accommodated a novitiate for young girls, which in 1952 became affiliated with the one in Sillery, Quebec.
In 1960, the Couvent Jésus-Marie was converted into a college for young girls, which would become affiliated with the Université Sacré-Cœur in Bathurst. In 1966, the college ultimately became part of the Université de Moncton.
In 1972, Collège Jésus-Marie welcomed boys, and in July 1977, it became the Centre Universitaire de Shippagan. The sisters of Jésus-Marie handed over the college property and administration to the Université de Moncton.
The building is also recognized for its association with Sister Irène Léger. Sister Léger was born in Paquetville in 1923. Pioneer of advanced French-language teaching in New Brunswick's northeast, Sister Léger, a member of the Congrégation des Religieuses Jésus-Marie, was an exceptional professor and university administrator. In 1960, she became the first Director of Studies at Jésus-Marie College. From 1971 to 1977, she served as rector and as Professor of Philosophy. Sister Léger then became the Secretary General for the Religieuses de Jésus-Marie in Rome. In 1996, the Université de Moncton designated the main pavillon as the Pavillon Irène Léger. She died in Lévis, Quebec on August 3, 2002.
Source: Shippagan Town Hall, file “218, boul. J.-D.-Gauthier”
The character-defining elements relating to the architectural interest of the Pavillon Irène-Léger include:
- rectangular five-storey building with two lateral four-storey wings;
- original red-brick exterior;
- overall symmetry of the building;
- balanced arrangement of rectangular windows;
- horizontal sandstone bands;
- central parapet featuring a cruciform.
The character-defining elements relating to the ethnological and historical interest include:
- religious roots;
- only Francophone institution for university instruction located in northeastern New Brunswick.
The character-defining elements relating to the relationship between the site and its surroundings include:
- the role the French Catholic community of the time played in the development of land. That is to say its location at the heart of the significant core of infrastructures relating to the French Catholic community located in that part of the Town of Shippagan.