Description of Historic Place
Constructed in 1905, the 2 1/2-storey wood-frame Maison Roy is a large dwelling, with a hipped roof and prominent dormer, situated on a residential block on the edge of Old St. Boniface in proximity to several of the significant landmarks of Winnipeg's francophone community. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.
Maison Roy is significant as the setting where one of Canada's most prominent authors, Gabrielle Roy, forged her creative spirit, living, dreaming and taking in the quotidian occurrences of life. Roy's association with the house from 1909 to 1937, and her experiences teaching in St. Boniface and rural Manitoba, formed the background for her literary landscapes and the intimate exploration of numerous topics in her work, including the French-Canadian working-class experience. The house is a modest example of a typical four-square design, characterized by nearly square plans and elevations. Although this type of domestic architecture was common in Manitoba in the early 1900s, the house is distinguished by elements such as the hipped roof and dormer and the large verandah with columns that give the house a modest grandeur.
Source: Committee on Environment Minutes, June 7, 1982
Key site elements that define the Maison Roy's heritage character include:
- the house's location on the north side of rue Deschambault in Winnipeg's Old St. Boniface district
- the well-groomed yard with mature elm trees lining the south edge of the lot, wooden boardwalks, etc.
Key elements that define the simple external heritage character of Maison Roy include:
- the 2 1/2-storey wood-frame structure with a cross-gable roof, hipped front projection with a dormer and horizontal wood siding
- the expansive verandah across the entire front of the house and most of the west side, supported by simple round white columns and with lattice work under the porch
- the variety of shapes and sizes of windows throughout, mainly rectangular and double-hung, divided by glazing bars into four equal sections, with wooden surrounds painted a light colour to contrast with the walls
- modest and minimal details, including the fan-shaped detail above the dormer and west gable-end windows, etc.
Key elements that define the house's interior layout, finishes and details include:
- the side-hall plan being nearly square, except for the northwest corner jog
- the formal divisions of the main floor, including the living room separated from the dining room by an archway, a study opposite and separated from the dining room by three French doors, etc.
- the south-facing dormer alcove in the attic, situated in what was Gabrielle Roy's bedroom, from where she would look out over the city of St. Boniface
- functional details, including the intact plank hardwood floors throughout, the historically accurate wood plank ceiling in the kitchen, the rough summer kitchen, period metal heating grates, ornate cast-iron radiators ca. 1918, period moulding and trim, wainscotting in the entry hall and kitchen, etc.