Description of Historic Place
The Mackenzie Building, also known as Building No. 16 and former Education Block, is situated in the Royal Military College Kingston at Point Frederick Buildings National Historic Site of Canada. It‘s a three-storied rectangular building with symmetrical pavilion massing typical of the Second Empire style. Constructed in 1876-78, a four-storey central tower contains the main entrance that is flanked by five bays to either side. The copper clad mansard roof and classically detailed stone chimneys provide a distinctive roofline. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Mackenzie Building is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Mackenzie Building is one of the best examples of the theme of the establishment of a permanent military force in Canada. It was the first principle purpose built college structure at the Royal Military College and was for the training of military and civil engineers in Canada. Lieutenant-Colonel E.O. Hewett is also associated with the Mackenzie building being the first commandant of the facility. Its construction, with the associated economic benefits and the subsequent influx of personnel, had a significant impact on Halifax.
This building is an excellent example of the Second Empire Style popular in Canada in the 1870s and 1880s used in the context of educational or institutional structures. This style was considered an appropriate medium of expression for local, state or federal building commissions. The goal was to establish a strong, yet dignified presence. One of the unique features of this building is its scale. Its value also lies in the excellent quality of its materials and craftsmanship. It is one of the best surviving works of Thomas Seaton Scott Chief Architect of Public Works.
The dramatic and boldly sited MacKenzie Building is still the centrepiece among several buildings organised around a parade ground and playing field. Although the site has changed the Mackenzie Building retains its original relationship with the open expanse of the parade ground and is an integral component of the Royal Military College. In Kingston, the Mackenzie building is representative of the Royal Military College and is well known to the students of the college.
Sources: Katherine Spenser-Ross, The MacKenzie Building No 16, Royal Military College, Kingston, Ontario 93-039; The MacKenzie Building No 16, (former Educational Block), Royal Military College, Kingston, Ontario. Heritage Character Statement 93-039.
The following character-defining elements of the MacKenzie Building should be respected.
Its construction style and good quality materials and craftsmanship as manifested in:
-the copper-clad mansard roof, the round headed dormers, the iron cresting, and the classically detailed stone chimneys;
-the three-storied rectangular symmetrical massing of the building with central four-storey tower; the five bays to either side of the central tower punctured by rectangular basement windows, and two floors of rectangular windows with ear trimmed surrounds. The main entrance including a double leafed wood and glass doorway with iron grilles over the glass panels, a semi-circular transom light, stone quoins and voussoirs;
-the limestone walls, and high quality exterior masonry ornamented with stringcourses between the floors, pilasters framing the central tower, quoins framing the tower ends and the elaborate window surrounds;
-the rich interior detailing, especially in the assembly hall, and elsewhere the Corinthian columns, moulded wood arches, three-foot high wooden wainscoting, six panelled wood doors in the hallways, panelled wood embrasures, coved ceilings, double staircase, decorative iron chandeliers, and memorial stained glass;
-the six panelled wood doors and surrounds of the top and second floors.
The manner in which the building reinforces the setting of the Royal Military College through its construction, scale, and its location, and also its physical and functional relationship to the other buildings on the site.