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Saint-Claude Gaol Museum

5 Provincial Road & 240 N., St. Claude, Manitoba, R0G, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2005/01/18

Primary elevations, from the northeast, of the Saint-Claude Gaol Museum, St. Claude, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Primary Elevations
Secondary elevations, from the southwest, of the Saint-Claude Gaol Museum, St. Claude, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Secondary Elevations
Interior view of the Saint-Claude Gaol Museum, St. Claude, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006

Other Name(s)

Saint-Claude Gaol Museum
Musée Prison de Saint-Claude

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1912/01/01 to 1912/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/01/18

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The wood-frame Saint-Claude Gaol Museum is an unassuming one-storey structure erected ca. 1912 in the heart of the village of St. Claude. The municipal designation applies to the gaol and the grounds it occupies.

Heritage Value

The Saint-Claude Gaol Museum, the area's first jail and the only historic structure still standing on St. Claude's original high street, is a rare surviving example of an early stand-alone community gaol in Manitoba. The building's frontier roots are revealed by its unpretentious vernacular exterior, characterized by economy of materials, functional design and no-frills appointments, and on the inside by the modest security amenities of its twin wooden cells. The facility, built by J.C. Rey, was used exclusively as the local lock-up from its construction until the 1930s, then expanded to the rear to serve as the village fire hall from the 1940s until 1975. Recently restored to its humble beginnings, the jail currently functions as a museum.

Source: Village of St. Claude By-law No. 380/04, January 18, 2005

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Saint-Claude Gaol Museum site include:
- its prominent location within St. Claude, situated in close proximity to a main thoroughfare (Road 240) and adjacent to the railway tracks and with main doors facing east

Key elements that define the gaol's distinct and straightforward vernacular architecture include:
- the minimally dimensioned and symmetrical rectangular volume, one storey high and topped by a gable roof, with all surfaces sheathed in corrugated metal panels
- the limited fenestration featuring rectangular multi-paned windows with simple casings and frames painted to contrast with the facades, including two windows with metal bars and diagonally braced wood plank shutters on the main (east) elevation beside a centred plank door, another window alongside a rear entrance, etc.
- the reserved details, including the tile-like pressed tin panels wrapping the corners, the metal chimney, the smooth metal fascia, etc.

Key elements that define the gaol's plain and durable interior layout, finishes and details include:
- the formal plan holding an open constable's area stretching the length of two side-by-side cells and a larger, open rear volume dating from ca. 1940
- the jail area entirely of wood construction, featuring rough, unfinished plank walls, floors, ceilings and cells, large plank cell doors with upper openings covered by security bars, simple platform bunks, etc.
- the practical details and finishes, including simple mouldings, authentic hardware and finishes, etc.




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (MB)

Recognition Statute

Manitoba Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1940/01/01 to 1975/12/31

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Security and Law

Function - Category and Type




Correctional Facility

Architect / Designer



Mr. J.C. Rey

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

RM of Grey 34 Main Street North Box 99 Elm Creek MB R0G 0N0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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