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Government House National Historic Site of Canada

1 Government Drive, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, C1A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1971/05/27

Corner view of the Government House in Charlottetown, showing the single-storey verandah, and its symmetrically organized elevations with evenly spaced multi-pane sash windows, 1989.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1989.
Corner view
Detail of Government House, showing its double-height columned portico over the central entry, 1995.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, J. Butterhill, 1995.
Detail view
Interior view of Government House, showing its centre hall and large staircase, 1995.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, J. Butterhill, 1995.
Interior view

Other Name(s)

Government House National Historic Site of Canada
Fanningbank
Fanningbank
Fanning Bank
Fanning Bank

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1833/01/01 to 1834/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/07/31

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Government House National Historic Site of Canada, located west of the historic area of Charlottetown, faces the harbour where Pond Road joins the waterfront roadway to Victoria Park. Serving as the home for the Prince Edward Island Lieutenant Governor, the house sits on an extensive property known as Fanning Bank. This large, graceful, early 19th-century neoclassical two-storey residence features a double-height gabled portico flanked by verandahs, while the exterior is clad in wood shingles. Official recognition refers to the house and its grounds.

Heritage Value

Government House was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1971 because:
- it was the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island and it served also as the seat of colonial executive power;
- it is a finely-proportioned frame structure of neoclassical style.

The heritage value of Government House resides in its symbolic and functional role as an official residence, and in its neoclassical architecture. As the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island, Government House has provided a setting of simple elegance for the formal entertainment of the Island community and its distinguished visitors. Several alterations have occurred since the residence was built in 1835 by the contractors, Isaac Smith, Henry Smith and Nathan Wright. Its landscape includes estate grounds with outbuildings.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, May 1971, June 1973.

Character-Defining Elements

Key features contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- the building’s function as the official residence of Prince Edward Island’s Lieutenant Governor;
- its neoclassical style with rectangular massing under a hipped roof with tall chimneys, the double-height columned portico over the central entry, single-storey wrap-around verandah, its symmetrically organized elevations with evenly spaced multi-pane sash windows, and its main door with a fanlight;
- its regularly placed windows and central entrance,
- its wood construction and cladding;
- the centre-hall plan and original volumes of the major public spaces;
- surviving early interior furnishings and fittings as well as those symbolically associated with particular residents, including the large staircase and the ornamental fireplaces;
- the suburban siting as a landscaped estate with viewscapes to the harbour;
- the setting of the residence, setback from the road on landscaped estate grounds;
- the integrity of surviving early outbuildings and landscape features.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1971/05/27

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1834/01/01 to 1851/01/01
1834/01/01 to 1871/01/01
1871/01/01 to 2009/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

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

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Government
Residence

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

Isaac Smith

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

578

Status

Published

Related Places

Front facade

Barton Lodge

Barton Lodge is a rare and unique example of a sandstone house located in the rural community of South Winsloe.

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