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Moose Jaw Court House National Historic Site of Canada

64 Ominica Street West, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, S6H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1981/01/15

General view of Moose Jaw Court House, showing its two-and-a-half-storey rectangular massing, 2009.; Moose Jaw Court House, Jimmy Emerson, May 2009.
General view
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Other Name(s)

Moose Jaw Court House National Historic Site of Canada
Moose Jaw Court House
Palais de justice de Moose Jaw

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1908/01/01 to 1909/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/07/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Moose Jaw Court House National Historic Site of Canada is a striking building designed to express the power and respectability of the new provincial justice system of Saskatchewan of 1908. Its corner location on a compact raised lot in the downtown district contributes to this evocative message. This stately, large square courthouse, with its rigidly symmetrical Beaux Arts design, features Neo-Classical detailing and is faced with brick and trimmed with pale Bedford stone. The official recognition refers to the building on its legal lot.

Heritage Value

The Moose Jaw Court House was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1980 because it is:
- the first example of the system of new district facilities commissioned by the Government of Saskatchewan, it is atypical of later Saskatchewan court houses and the only one designed by Darling and Pearson.

The Moose Jaw Court House, designed by Toronto architects Darling and Pearson, was constructed in 1908-1909 by the Regina building firm of Smith Brothers and Wilson. This represents the beginning of an ambitious program of public works undertaken by Saskatchewan as it sought to express its own voice as a new, energetic and independent province. This impressive court house design is an expression of the new province’s independence and confidence, while reflecting the architects’ long experience designing commercial and public buildings. Measuring 17 by 27 metres (56 x 89 feet), the Moose Jaw Court House featured modern steel construction with cladding of red-brown hydraulic-pressed brick and dressed Bedford stone. Its Beaux-Arts design features symmetrically organized classical architectural elements. The building is impressively sited on a raised corner lot encircled by a low brick and stone fence.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 1980.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Moose Jaw Court House include:
- its siting on a prominent corner and raised above street level;
- its two-and-a-half-storey rectangular massing;
- its steel and concrete construction and brick facing with stone detailing;
- its classically detailed façades, finished on all four sides with columns and quoined pilasters of brick across the front elevation as well as the brick pilasters delineating the triple bays of the two sides;
-its formal front entrance with brick-faced columns, a scroll detail of the provincial crest set into the pale Bedford stone trim;
- its dentilled cornice and parapet;
- its regularly spaced window openings, flat-headed on the first floor and round-headed with fanlights on the second;
- its surviving original interior layout with courts, chambers, offices, library, and basement cells;
- its surviving original interior finishes including a chair rail on the first floor, wooden staircase, and wood panelling behind the judge’s bench.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1981/01/15

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Government and Institutions
Governing Canada
Security and Law
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Government
Courthouse and/or Registry Office

Historic

Government
Town or City Hall

Architect / Designer

Darling and Pearson

Builder

Smith Brothers and Wilson

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

750

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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