Description of Historic Place
The Monk House is part of a residential complex on Saint-Louis Street in the historic area of Québec City: Old Québec. The building is a two-and-a-half storey stone structure set on a rectangular stone foundation and topped by a dormered gable roof. The long façade, clad in coursed sandstone, is distinguished by a symmetrical arrangement of windows and entrance door. A second, porticoed entrance is located on the rubble-limestone clad end wall. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Monk House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Monk House is associated with the defence of Québec City against American invasion during the War of 1812-1814. The building is also associated with two important British colonial administrators of national significance. James Monk, Attorney-General of Québec, surrogate judge of the Vice-Admiral Court and, later, Chief Justice of Montréal, was the owner and builder of the current structure. The subsequent owner, John Elmsley, initially Chief Justice of Upper Canada, bought the house on his appointment as Chief Justice of Lower Canada in 1802. The area of Upper Town where the house is located became a residential enclave of colonial administrators.
The Monk House is valued for its good aesthetic design. Executed in the traditional Québec style, characterized by a steeply-pitched roof and a long rectangular plan, the house is also a very good functional design. Built by two master masons, the building exhibits very good craftsmanship with its main façades constructed of good-quality coursed sandstone, and the end walls of rubble limestone.
The Monk House, along with the other buildings of the Saint-Louis complex, reinforces the historic urban character of the residential streetscape setting in this part of Old Québec and is a neighbourhood landmark.
Sources: Julie Harris, St. Louis PMQs, Québec, Québec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 88-163; Monk House, Québec, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 88-163.
The following character-defining elements of the Monk House should be respected.
Its good aesthetic design, very good functional design and very good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the two-and-a-half storey massing of the seven-bay rectangular structure with a dormered gable roof;
-the features of the traditional Québec style, including the king-post roof trusses, steeply pitched roof, and long rectangular plan;
-the good quality coursed sandstone and rubble limestone that make up the main façades and end walls all of which are set on a rectangular stone foundation;
-the location of the front entrance and the second porticoed entrance on the end wall;
-the division of the interior in two, including the vaulted cellar and partial walls.
The manner in which the Monk House reinforces the historic, urban character of its residential streetscape setting and is a neighbourhood landmark, as evidenced by:
-its traditional Québec style and construction materials, which harmonize with its adjacent buildings and contributes to the historic character of its streetscape in Old Québec;
-its overall large scale and massing which form part of a complex around a courtyard in the residential neighbourhood;
-its familiarity as part of a historic complex in Old Québec, which makes it a neighbourhood landmark.