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Queen Victoria Wing

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1998/01/26

Exterior view of the front facade of the Queen Victoria Wing, Old General Hospital site, 100 Forest Road, St. John's, taken February 9, 2005.; HFNL 2005.
Queen Victoria Wing, St. John's, NL
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1896/01/01 to 1897/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/02/28

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Victoria Wing is a 19th century, semi-detached, two storey building attached to the Old General Military Hospital located on Forest Road in St. John’s. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Victoria Wing was designated because it has aesthetic and historic values.

The Victoria Wing has aesthetic value because it is a good example of surviving 19th century institutional architecture. The building’s most prominent features are the two rounded towers at each corner of the north facing façade. Each tower is topped with a copper cone-shaped roof supported with heavy concrete brackets. Each tower has long, narrow windows with transoms. The roof of the building is a low pitch gable and there are two concrete belt courses, one projecting and one grooved, delineating the first and second stories. The building is otherwise bare of external decoration, with the exception of the heavy concrete sills under the windows. The remaining windows are narrow and are set at regular spaces. A wooden clapboarded gallery is located on the west side; otherwise the building material is concrete parging.

The Victoria Wing is historically valuable because of its age, constructed in 1897. This date has duel significance as it was the 400th Anniversary of John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland, and the 60th Anniversary (Diamond Jubilee) of Queen Victoria’s reign. The Victoria Wing was so named in honour of Queen Victoria.

The Victoria Wing is also historically valuable because it is one of only four early stone buildings remaining in Newfoundland which were built around the same time.

Further, the Victoria Wing is historically valuable because it contained the first operating room in Newfoundland. It is also significant because monies for its construction were raised by the women of Newfoundland. The hospital was built and paid for by women, explicitly for the care of women and children. The building stands as an enduring monument to commemorate the work of Queen Victoria, who contributed vastly to the British Empire.

The Victoria Ward also stands as a monument to 1903 Superintendent of Nurses, Nurse Mary Southcott, who worked in and managed the wards of the Old General. Miss Southcott had graduated from the London Hospital in 1901 and had the privilege of meeting with Florence Nightingale, so she was a firm believer in Miss Nightingale's method of training nurses. As Superintendent Nurse Southcott started the first training school for nurses in Newfoundland and the first graduates completed their training in 1906, based from the Old General Hospital Complex.

Also significant is the association with the first women doctors in Newfoundland, who also worked in the building. The Victoria Wing illustrates the history of women and women’s medicine in 19th century Newfoundland.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador: file number 1500 St. John’s – General Hospital - Old Buildings.

Character-Defining Elements

All those existing, original exterior elements that embody the style of the 19th century institutional construction, including:
-the end towers with copper cone-shaped roofs;
-low pitch gable roof;
-heavy concrete brackets on towers;
-long, narrow windows with transoms in tower walls;
-number and fenestration patterns of windows;
-concrete beltcourses: projecting between second and first floors, grooved between first and ground floors;
-heavy concrete sills;
-clapboard wooden gallery on west side;
-all existing window and door openings;
-general pattern of solid to void on exterior facades;
-concrete parging on exterior walls;
-existing building height and number of storeys;
-location on original Old General complex site; and
-general massing, and orientation.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

City of St. John's

Recognition Statute

City of St. John's Act

Recognition Type

City of St. John's Heritage Building, Structure, Land or Area

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Health and Research
Hospital or Other Health Care Institution

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, P.O. Box 5171, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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