Description of Historic Place
37 Kensington Road is a large, brick former hospital set back from the street. It was constructed between 1898 and 1900 in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Today, it is located between two modern apartment buildings. The former hospital now also serves as an apartment building. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 37 Kensington Road lies in its association with the Prince Edward Island Hospital; its Richardsonian Romanesque architectural influences; and its importance to the streetscape.
This building was the second constructed for use as the Prince Edward Island Hospital. The first Prince Edward Island Hospital was a twelve-bed unit located on Longworth Avenue. When it opened in 1884, it was the Island's first general hospital not affiliated with a religious body. The Charlottetown Hospital, which had opened five years earlier in 1879, was affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.
By 1896, larger quarters for the Prince Edward Island Hospital were required. A generous gift of 15 acres and a house from Reverend Ralph Brecken allowed the construction to proceed at the 37 Kensington Road site. Architect, C.B. Chappell was hired to design the beautiful building and tenders were called in June 1898. In March 1900, the new Prince Edward Island Hospital opened its doors. The style of the building exhibited Richardsonian Romanesque architectural influences. These included its use of dominant round arches with contrasting stone details, rusticated brickwork, and deeply set windows to emphasize wall thickness.
The community took a great deal of pride in their new hospital. In 1902, the hospital ladies had a planting day where they planted a number of trees, some of which still survive. These young trees can be seen in a postcard featuring the hospital from around the turn of the century.
The Prince Edward Island Hospital cared for a great number of patients throughout its time in operation, but by the 1920s, a search for a new location had begun. Concerns over a lack of space and the general feeling that the hospital was too close to the railway, which generated a great deal of noise and dirt, led to the decision to search for a new location. The Government of Walter Maxfield Lea granted approximately 5 acres of Victoria Park facing on Brighton Road for the new hospital. By 4 July 1933, the new Prince Edward Island Hospital was ready for occupancy. This would be one of two existing hospitals in Charlottetown at the time including the Roman Catholic, Charlottetown Hospital on Haviland Street. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a modern acute care facility, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, was constructed to replace both hospitals.
After 1933, 37 Kensington Road would be used as the Provincial Infirmary. In the late 20th Century, it was renovated and turned into an apartment building. The very well kept building looks much as it did when it was first used as a hospital and continues to support the Kensington Road streetscape.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Richardsonian Romanesque character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of the Prince Edward Island Hospital:
- The overall massing of the building
- The size and shape of the brick exterior including the arches and the corbel brick detailing on the top and bottom of the second floor
- The stone details including the stone stringcourses, as well as the arched window surrounds and door surrounds
- The hipped and gable roofs
- The size and placement of the windows including the bay windows, the large arched windows with arched transom lights and the dormer windows
- The placement of the doors with transom lights and sidelights
- The size and shape of the remaining chimney
- The balcony and verandah of the south elevation
Other character-defining elements of 37 Kensington Road include:
- The location of the building set back from the street on the Kensington Road