Joliette Court House National Historic Site of Canada
Joliette Court House
Palais de justice de Joliette
Links and documents
1860/01/01 to 1862/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Joliette Court House National Historic Site of Canada is a stately, two-storey, stone building in the Neo-classical style. It was constructed from 1860 to 1862 as a combined court house, registry office and jail. The building is comprised of the original, symmetrical central block with a jail wing to the rear, a sympathetic, two-storey addition built in 1916, and two annexes added in 1960-1961. The formal recognition consists of the building on its legal property as it was at the time of designation (1980).
The Joliette Court House was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1980 because:
- it is representative of a significant functional type;
- its formal quality, enhanced by fine stone construction, makes this structure an imposing symbol of the judicial system in Québec.
The Joliette Court House is a particularly fine and well-preserved example of a Neo-classical public building. It was constructed from 1860 to 1862 for what was then called “le village de l’Industrie” by the government of united Canada, as one of about 28 court houses in Lower Canada. The court house follows a standardized building plan created by F. P. Rubidge, architect for the Department of Public Works of united Canada, for 14 courthouses in Lower Canada built between 1859 and 1863. It features a court room at the centre of the main floor flanked by a jury room on one side and rooms for judges, lawyers and petit jury on the other. The second storey of the main block was used for offices. A rear wing, constructed as a prison, was divided into cells.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 1980.
Key elements which relate to the heritage value of the Joliette Court House are:
- its Neo-classical design as seen in the symmetry of the original section, the projecting, pedimented frontispiece, the clear articulation of the ground and second storeys achieved through distinctive window treatments and distinct floor heights, the use of rectangular openings of the ground storey, round-arched openings with keystones on the second storey, the low-pitched roof, the centrally placed entrance flanked by pilasters and surmounted by a large entablature, and the six-over-six double-hung sash windows;
- surviving original elements related to its role as a public building, including its formal Neo-classical design, high quality masonry and imposing scale;
- elements related to its use as a court house, registry office and jail in the mid-19th century, including surviving elements of original layout, finishes and furnishings.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1916/01/01 to 1916/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
- Governing Canada
- Security and Law
Function - Category and Type
- Correctional Facility
- Courthouse and/or Registry Office
Architect / Designer
Sinclair & Skelsy
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Québec
Cross-Reference to Collection