Description of Historic Place
Located at the Fort Wellington National Historic Site of Canada, the Officers’ Quarters overlooks the St. Lawrence River. The single-storey clapboard-clad log or squared-timber structure forms a long rectangle in plan and is capped with a hipped roof. The heavy wood structural system and the small, loophole-style windows increase its defensive military appearance. The structure stands on an open grassed area within the earthworks. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Officers’ Quarters is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Officers’ Quarters is a very good example of a building associated with the active defence of Upper Canada, in the context of the upper St. Lawrence frontier in the post-Rebellion era. The threat of an American invasion prompted military authorities to upgrade the principal fortifications in Upper Canada and to improve the defensible works along the Rideau Canal. Fort Wellington was a “revolt station” or a focal point for the militia in the event of a crisis. Designed to contain a kitchen and separate rooms for two officers, the building is also significant for its depiction of aspects of garrison life - the relatively luxurious accommodations would have contrasted with those of the rank and file of the period.
Valued for its good aesthetics the Officers’ Quarters building fulfilled a specific role within the ensemble of buildings of the fort complex. Its good functional, 19th-century military design has features that express its function as defensible living quarters, such as the heavy wood structural system and small windows that could operate as loopholes. The clapboard siding and the hipped roof form were common design features of military buildings of the period. Good craftsmanship and materials are evident in the exterior walls, the roof framing, and the chimneys. It is now a museum furnished to represent the living quarters of an officer in the Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment in 1846.
The Officers’ Quarters reinforce the historic character of Fort Wellington National Historic Site of Canada and is a well-known regional landmark to residents and to visitors.
James De Jonge, Four Buildings, Fort Wellington National Historic Sites, Prescott, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report 90-305; Fort Wellington Officers’ Quarters, Fort Wellington, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 90-305.
The character-defining elements of the Officers’ Quarters should be respected.
Its good aesthetics, its functional design and quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the one-storey massing;
- the hipped roof, and the balanced, symmetrical chimneys;
- the exterior walls constructed of squared logs or squared timbers and clad with horizontal clapboard;
- the small, loophole-style windows;
- the interior configuration containing a kitchen and separate officers’ rooms.
The manner in which the Officers’ Quarters establishes the historic character of the National Historic Site of Canada and is a familiar landmark, as evidenced by:
- its simple design and materials that harmonize with the nearby earthworks, front gate, the blockhouse and other buildings within the military setting;
- its integral role within the group of structures that comprise Fort Wellington National Historic Site of Canada complex, and its tall and visible profile on an open grassed area within the earthworks, which make it familiar to the local community and visitors.