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Governors' Cottage National Historic Site of Canada

90 chemin des Patriotes, Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, J3P, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1957/06/03

General view of Governors' Cottage, showing its formal, pillared, classically inspired entry porch, 1973.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, 1973.
Main façade
View of Governors' Cottage, showing its verandah with columns and the small, second-floor balcony, 1973.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, 1973.
Rear façade
No Image

Other Name(s)

Governors' Cottage National Historic Site of Canada
Governors' Cottage
Château des gouverneurs
Maison des Gouverneurs

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1781/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/08/18

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Governors’ Cottage National Historic Site of Canada is located on the banks of the Richelieu River in Sorel, Quebec. Originally occupied as a summer residence by the early British governors and military commanders of Quebec, the one-and-a-half-storey house has a traditional Quebec-style rectangular core flanked by wings, all under steep, front-sloping gable roofs. To the rear, an open verandah looks out over gardens that were once part of a larger seigneury. Official recognition refers to the house and its property.

Heritage Value

The Governors’ Cottage was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1957 because:
- General Haldimand built this house so that the commander in chief might reside in it during time of war;
- this house was then used as a summer residence by Governors and by commanders-in-chief.

The Governor Sir Frederick Haldimand acquired the seigneury of Sorel for the Crown in 1781 for defensive reasons, as a result of the American invasion of 1775, and as an area where soldiers, Loyalists and their families could be settled. The same year, he had a house built for General Riedesel, the core of the present cottage, to which wings were added at a later date. In 1787, Prince William Henry, later King William IV of the United Kingdom (r. 1830-1837), spent time in the house during a visit to the colony. Until 1860, it was used as a summer residence by Governors General Dorchester, Prescott, Dalhousie, and Aylmer, and by Commanders-in-Chief St. Leger, Brock, Colborne, Jackson, D’Urban and Eyre. After a succession of owners, the town of Sorel acquired the house in 1921. In April 1990 the Governor’s Cottage Exhibition Centre was inaugurated as a centre for artists.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 1957.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include:
- its central location and park-like setting on the Richelieu River in the town of Sorel, Quebec;
- the simple Quebec vernacular design, with its rectangular, one-and-a-half storey original core, flanked by wings under steep, front-sloping gable roofs with end chimneys;
- the regular placement of openings with multi-pane, sash windows, dormer windows, the central entry with a formal, pillared, classically inspired porch protecting the main entrance, the verandah with columns and the small, second-floor balcony;
- surviving original materials and finishes, both exterior and interior, that reflect the period of its use as a residence for the commander-in-chief of the military and as a summer residence for the governors of Quebec, and any remaining evidence of the original domestic functional plan;
- the remains of the original grounds as a surrounding garden.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1957/06/03

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1781/01/01 to 1860/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Government and Institutions

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Residence
Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

General Haldimand

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

716

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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