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Historic Ferryland Museum Municipal Heritage Site

Ferryland, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2006/05/02

Southeastern elevation of Historic Ferryland Museum, Ferryland, NL taken from the Southern Shore Highway. Photo taken May 2006. ; HFNL/Andrea O'Brien
Historic Ferryland Museum
View looking east of Historic Ferryland Museum, Ferryland, NL with Ferryland Harbour in the background. Photo taken May 2006.; HFNL/Andrea O'Brien 2006
Historic Ferryland Museum
View looking north of side and front facades of Historic Ferryland Museum, Ferryland, NL. Photo taken May 2006.; HFNL/Andrea O'Brien
Historic Ferryland Museum

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/06/19

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Historic Ferryland Museum is a two storey, wooden structure with a steep pitched gable roof and two storey central bay. Built in 1916 by the Bank of Montreal, the property is located along the Southern Shore Highway, in the community of Ferryland, NL overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The designation includes the museum building and a parcel of land surrounding it.

Heritage Value

Historic Ferryland Museum has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Ferryland because of its aesthetic, historic and cultural values.

Historic Ferryland Museum has aesthetic value due to its environmental setting, landmark value and proximity to the community’s historic resources. Located along the Southern Shore Highway, it is a well known landmark to residents in the community and in the greater region. Historic Ferryland Museum is clearly visible from northeastern and southwestern approaches along the Southern Shore Highway, from the East Coast Trail that runs parallel to the rear facade and from seaward approaches. The southeastern elevation provides a panoramic view of Ferryland Harbour, its islands and a peninsula which juts from the shoreline. At the start of this peninsula is The Pool, the site of Ferryland’s first official settlement in 1621. The meadows of The Downs lead out from this area and have for centuries been the site of small subsistence farming. Following along the Downs, the peninsula ends at Ferryland Head, where a light station is located on the barren outcrop.

Historic Ferryland Museum has further aesthetic value as a rare example of classical revival style in an outport setting. Originally built to serve as a bank, the building is markedly different from surviving domestic buildings of the same period, which were typically symmetrical, unadorned biscuit box style dwellings. Historic Ferryland Museum is accented with a two storey protruding bay, featuring an arched window and topped with a pediment, that adds visual interest to the symmetrical main facade. Large trim boards on the corners and cornice mouldings on the bay and eaves result in a refined elegance. It is a unique building style both in the community and in the Southern Shore region.

Historic Ferryland Museum has historic value due to its ties with the financial and judicial history of the community and the region. The structure was built by the Bank of Montreal, one of the first Canadian banks to come to the assistance of Newfoundland’s government following the bank crash of 1894. The Bank of Montreal went on to establish branches throughout the colony, including regional centres such as Ferryland. The building was later converted into a court, jail house and police residence. The bank vault was turned into a jail cell and interior changes were made to provide living arrangements for the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer stationed there. When Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949, the RCMP would assume policing duties in many small communities such and Ferryland, constructing new offices and barracks.

Historic Ferryland Museum has cultural value as an important community space and as a reminder of an earlier time and place. Since the time of its construction the building has been a public space. Aside from its use as a bank and court, the telegraph office was located at this site for many years, as was a doctor’s office. Since 1974, Historic Ferryland Museum has operated from the building, placing it among the oldest community museums in the province. There is a great sense of community ownership and pride in the building, not only because it serves as a repository for objects from the community’s past, but because the building itself is a physical reminder of a time when Ferryland was the administrative centre of the Southern Shore region.

Source: Town of Ferryland Regular Council Meeting May 2, 2006

Character-Defining Elements

All original features which relate to the classical revival style of the building including:
-number of storeys;
-steep pitch gable roof;
-return on eaves;
-double peaked roof on rear facade;
-symmetrical main facade;
-two storey protruding bay with pedimented roof;
-concrete and stone vault on rear facade;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-wide corner boards and wide eaves trim;
-cornice mouldings on bay and eaves;
-window size, style, trim and placement;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-dimension, location and orientation of premises.

All those environmental features that relate to the site’s landmark value, including:
-unobstructed view planes to and from the site;
-location and orientation of building in respect to the surrounding environment; and
-the geographical setting of the site along the Southern Shore Highway.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

NL Municipality

Recognition Statute

Municipalities Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type




Commerce / Commercial Services
Bank or Stock Exchange

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador 1 Springdale Street St. John's, NL A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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