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Corner Brook Public Building

Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, A2H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2001/09/15

View of the front facade of the Corner Brook Public Building, Corner Brook, NL.; Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2005
Corner Brook Public Building, Corner Brook
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1925/01/01 to 1926/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/02/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Corner Brook Public Building is a neo-classical concrete structure located at 2 West Street, Corner Brook. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Corner Brook Public Building was designated a registered heritage structure because it has architectural, historic and cultural values.

The Corner Brook Public Building has architectural value because it is a fine example of neo-classical, 1920s architecture. Situated in downtown Corner Brook the Public Building is a large, 3 storey government structure featuring strong, crisp lines formed by poured, reinforced concrete. The pilasters, moulded frieze and projecting architrave all suggest classic revival details. The art nouveau cresting over the main entrance is balanced by a cast concrete coat of arms. It features many fine interior details of high quality, including solid birch and oak doors and Quebec imported Missisquoi marble. This building is the only one of its kind in the region.

The Corner Brook Public Building is historically significant for several reasons. It was constructed as a government building for the Dominion of Newfoundland. Holding the first customs house, courthouse and post office for the area the building represents a period of history when Newfoundland governed itself from this very building.

The Public Building is also historically valuable because it represents a style which is unique to the region. Constructed by accomplished architect J. Melville Miller and builder William J. Bishop Ltd. the building features interior and exterior qualities that suggest the importance of the business carried on within the walls.

It is also historically important because it was built under a cloud of controversy. There was great debate over the proposed site of the building, and because the building was late in being completed, as well as going over budget, the builder lost the contractors fee.

Finally, the Public Building is historically valuable because it was used for the jail in Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent’s film The Rowdyman (1972).

The Public Building is culturally valuable because it has housed many businesses since its construction and remains important to the community because it now holds Corner Brook’s only Museum and Archives.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador unnumbered property designation file, 1 Springdale Street, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5

Character-Defining Elements

All elements that define the building's Neo-classical design including:
-exterior decoration including cornice mouldings, pilasters, moulded frieze and fretwork;
-original interior features including: solid wood doors, faux stoneworkd, marble pilasters and stairs, brass hardware and wooden skylight; and,
-orientation, location and dimensions.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Statute

Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Customs Building

Architect / Designer

J. Melville Miller


William J. Bishop Ltd.

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, St. John's, NL

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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