Government House, Battleford
Battleford Indian Industrial Academy
Links and documents
1876/01/01 to 1877/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Government of Saskatchewan
Heritage Property Act, s. 39(1)
Provincial Heritage Property
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
- Commemorative Monument
- Office or office building
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Thomas S. Scott
J. E. Oliver
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Conservation Branch,
Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport,
3211 Albert Street,
Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 5W6
Cross-Reference to Collection