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Government House, Battleford

Government Ridge, Battleford, Saskatchewan, S0M, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1984/03/27

Government House shortly after it opened in 1877.; Government of Canada, Parks Canada, B.G. 1.
Historic photo
After years of alterations, Government House as it stood in its final stage.; Government of Saskatchewan, Frank Korvemaker, 1979.
Government House, c. 1979.
Stabilized ruins of the 2003 fire.; Government of Saskatchewan, Calvin Fehr, 2004
Remains of Government House, 2004.

Other Name(s)

Government House, Battleford
Battleford Indian Industrial Academy

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1876/01/01 to 1877/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/04/26

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Government House, Battleford is a Provincial Heritage Property located on a scenic hilltop overlooking the junction of the Battle and North Saskatchewan Rivers in the Town of Battleford. The site consists of a ¾-hectare parcel of landscaped grounds, which includes a brick chimney, foundation, and other stabilized ruins from a fire that destroyed the building in June of 2003. The designation also includes two non-contributing buildings.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Government House site at Battleford resides in its status as the location of the first official seat of government for the North-West Territories. Chosen because of its commanding presence on a hilltop that overlooked the river valley and burgeoning community of the Territorial capital of Battleford, Government House imparted a sense of authority and established a government presence in the North-West Territories. Constructed in 1876-1877, the original building was the first permanent residence of the Territories' Lieutenant-Governor and the legislative centre for the appointed Territorial Council. More than two-thirds of Canada's geographic land mass was administered from this location from 1878 until 1883, when the Territorial capital was moved to Regina.

Heritage value also lies in the site's status as the location of the first Indian Industrial School in western Canada. Converted in 1883 for the purpose of educating First Nations children in agriculture and the trades, the Industrial School was also a vehicle for the federal government's policy of assimilation, which promoted this form of education as a way to prepare First Nations children for entry into Euro-Canadian society. It was during this phase that the building underwent significant alterations in order to accommodate the growing student population. In 1889, two major additions were completed, which included an extension to the east end of the main building as well as a smaller wing at the rear. Over the course of its 30 year existence, thousands of students passed through the school until a change in educational policy led to its closure in 1914.

Further heritage value resides in the site's use as a religious complex. With the closure of the Indian Industrial School in 1914, the next phase of Government House began when the Seventh Day Adventist Academy was established, which operated here until 1931. Between 1932 and 1972, the Oblates of St. Mary's administered the Oblate House of Studies, later known as St. Charles Scholasticate, in which a boarding school and a seminary were operated. With its closure, the Oblates continued to use the facility as a novitiate until 1984.

Today, the site maintains its unimpeded view over the river valley. It is clearly marked by the surviving foundations and the remaining chimney, which stands as a monument to a site whose diverse history has made fundamental contributions to the province.

Sources:

Province of Saskatchewan, Notice of Intention to Designate as Provincial Heritage Property under The Heritage Property Act, December 20, 1983.

Province of Saskatchewan, Order to Designate as Provincial Heritage Property under The Heritage Property Act, March 27, 1984.

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of Government House, Battleford resides in the following character-defining elements:
-the remains of the original building, including the brick chimney, the foundation, and remnants of the walls;
-its hilltop location with its unimpeded, tree-framed view of the river valley.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Saskatchewan

Recognition Authority

Government of Saskatchewan

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act, s. 39(1)

Recognition Type

Provincial Heritage Property

Recognition Date

1984/03/27

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1878/01/01 to 1883/12/31
1883/01/01 to 1914/12/31

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Government and Institutions

Function - Category and Type

Current

Community
Commemorative Monument

Historic

Government
Office or office building
Residence
Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

Thomas S. Scott

Builder

J. E. Oliver

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Department of Culture, Youth and Recreation Heritage Resources Branch 1919 Saskatchewan Drive Regina, SK File: PHP 20

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

PHP 20

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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