108 Water Street
Islander Newspaper Office
Examiner Newspaper Office
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
108 Water Street is a wood framed, two storey, Georgian influenced home located on the corner of Water Street and Great George Street. The home is the eastern most section of a row house that includes the Gainsford House, the oldest surviving brick house in Charlottetown. The building was constructed as the headquarters for the "Islander" newspaper and for use as a reading room. It was later used as a residence and currently serves in this role. The designation encompasses the building’s exterior and parcel; it does not include the building’s interior.
The heritage value of 108 Water Street lies in its Georgian influenced architecture; its role as the home to the 19th century newspaper, the "Islander"; its association with publisher and later Queen’s Printer, John Ings and its importance to the Water Street streetscape.
108 Water Street was originally built to resemble its attached neighbour, the Gainsford House. John Ings, who lived in the eastern section of the Gainsford House, had the office constructed in 1847 to house the "Islander" newspaper office and a reading room. Reading rooms provided space for recreational reading and offered subscriptions to various newspapers. In an age before the advent of the public library, reading rooms were quite popular. The reading room also featured a sort of job matching service for servants and employers, which was unique for its day.
The Georgian influence on the style of the building can be seen in its gabled roof with eave returns and simple cornice. The facade is symmetrical and the doors and windows have modest trim detailing. The Georgian style emerged from 18th Century Britain and was intent on expressing confidence, order, and balance. This building is a well preserved example of this style in the City.
The building has had a history of association with local newspapers. Although the "Islander" had been published since 1842, John Ings first published the newspaper from this location in 1847. It was a general newspaper but with a Conservative viewpoint. His paper rivalled the Liberal inclined, "Examiner" in its political views. The "Islander" was published from this site every Friday until 1873, when Ings retired. Interestingly, later in the 1870s, the "Examiner" was published from the site for a brief period. After 1900, the building was converted into a private residence and coincidentally, the editor of the "Guardian" newspaper, J.E.B. MacCready, resided in the home.
Located on the corner of two of Charlottetown’s most historic streets, 108 Water Street has been witness to many important events in Charlottetown’s history, including the arrival of various delegations to the Charlottetown Conference, which led to Canadian Confederation. Part of a well kept and beautiful row house, 108 Water Street is an important component of the Water Street and Great George Street streetscapes.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Georgian influenced character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of 108 Water Street:
- The overall massing of the building
- The placement and style of the windows, including the large two over two windows of the first and second floor, as well as the gabled dormer windows
- The contrasting decorative trim running throughout the building’s exterior
- The protruding belt course
- The style and western placement of the door
- The gabled roofline with its central dormer and eave returns
- The style and placement of the chimneys
Other character-defining elements of 108 Water Street are:
- Its position within the four part row house
- The location of the building on the corner of Water Street and Great George Street
Prince Edward Island
City of Charlottetown
City of Charlottetown Zoning and Development Bylaw
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
- Communications Facility
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
Cross-Reference to Collection