Saint John City Market National Historic Site of Canada
Saint John City Market
Marché de Saint John
Links and documents
1874/01/01 to 1876/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Saint John City Market National Historic Site of Canada is a large, brick building located across from the northwestern corner of King Square in the central business district of Saint John, New Brunswick. The building extends the length of a city block. Completed in 1876, its formal entry façade, a three-and-a-half storey Second Empire-Style office block, faces the square. Extending back from this block is the market hall with its double height open space organized around a wide central aisle and individual stalls that extend along both sides. The market space is distinguished by exposed timber framing and queen post trusses supported by cast iron columns. Official recognition refers to the building on its legal lot.
The Saint John City Market was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1986 because:
- of its market hall interior, its commercial Second Empire façade on Water Street and its two side elevations on North and South Market Street;
- it is a rare and distinguished surviving example of a 19th century building designed as a market.
The Saint John City Market illustrates the development of buildings designed specifically as markets in 19th century Canada. The solid, fire-resistant Saint John Market building was constructed between 1874-1876 to the designs of New Brunswick architects McKean and Fairweather. It survived the Great Fire of 1877 and was renovated over the years, allowing it to remain an important civic structure that continues to fulfill its original function.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 1986.
The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include:
- the prominent downtown location at the northwestern corner of King Square;
- the substantial, rectangular massing of the whole, and the three-and-a-half-storey massing of the front block;
- the timber construction with brick facing;
- the Charlotte Street façade with its central entranceway flanked by two shallow pavilions crowned by pavilions, its classically detailed cornice, the rhythm of alternating single and paired windows on the second and third floors, the large shop windows at ground level and decorated dormer windows, and the mansard roof;
- the elaborate exposed timber truss work of the market hall with its decorative circular motifs in the spandrels of semi-circular arches that support twenty modified queen posts;
- the semi-circular clerestory windows that run the length of the side elevations at the level of the tie beams, and the tall round-headed windows running along the side aisles;
- the wall brackets set between the cast iron columns and tie beams that link the support structure to the walls;
- the decorative iron gates;
- its continuing use as a public market.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
Architect / Designer
McKean and Fairweather
Tilly & Redfern
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection