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Building 29

Grosse-Île, Quebec, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/10/02

Corner view of Building 29, showing the timber construction.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
Corner view
Front elevation of Building 29, showing the regular placement of windows and doors, all with simple detailing.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
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Other Name(s)

Building 29
Disinfection Building
Bâtiment de désinfection

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1892/01/01 to 1927/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/08/05

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Building 29, also known as the Disinfection Building, is an extension of the wharf in the western section of Grosse-Île. The imposing wooden structure comprises a central block flanked by two wings with three annexes in the rear. The long, principal, western façade is composed of three sections, each comprising six case bays each with a false upper façade wall that conceals a lean-to roof. The false upper façade of the central block, higher than those of the two wings, is detailed with five small diamond-shaped windows. The elevations have a regular placement of windows and doors with simple detailing. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Building 29 is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical value
Building 29 is one of the best examples of a structure associated with Canadian immigration and quarantine. From 1881 to 1900, Quebec was the busiest port of entry for new immigrants to Canada. They disembarked and were processed on Grosse-Île where they and their baggage were disinfected as they began their quarantine period. The building is also associated with the theme of scientific research through its role as a bacteriological warfare research station during the Second World War. The central part of the building was also used as a garage for about 30 years. The structure illustrates several important phases in the history of the quarantine station, for example, its construction, proposed by Dr. Frédéric Montizambert, was part of the resurgence of quarantine services on Grosse-Île that were characterized by disinfection and vaccination.

Architectural value
Building 29 valued for its good aesthetic design, is comprised of several sections. Its architectural value resides in the sum of its component parts. The central block, the oldest part, received a second storey in 1914. The south wing was added the year after, and the north wing was built in 1927. There are three annexes attached to the rear of the building. All of these elements comprise one building and are associated with the human quarantine period. The building’s interior configuration exhibits excellent functional design. The layout comprises a series of connected spaces that provided traffic routes designed specifically for the purpose of disinfecting new immigrants and their baggage.

Environmental value
Building 29 establishes the present historic character of its Grosse-Île setting. The structure is a landmark on the St. Lawrence River to the local community and to visitors.

Sources: Building No. 29 Grosse Île, Quebec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Report 93-031; Building No. 29 Grosse Île, Quebec, Heritage Character Statement 93-031.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of Building 29 should be respected.

Its good aesthetics, its excellent functional design and good craftsmanship, for example:
- the horizontal massing, consisting of a central block flanked by two wings with three annexes in the rear;
- the timber constuction (with the exception of the brick and concrete boiler house);
- the long western façade in three sections, each comprised of six case bays with a false upper facade wall concealing a lean-to roof, and the false upper facade of the central block, and the five small diamond-shaped windows just below the parapet between each of the six case bays;
- the regular placement of windows and doors, all with simple detailing;
- the highly functional interior configuration forming a series of connected spaces with associated architectural elements, including the rails that carried the disinfection carts, also the staircases, interior finishes, sanitary appliances and the heater;
- the equipment associated with providing electricity, the boilers, dynamos, steam generator and water reservoir.

The manner in which Building 29 establishes the historic character of Grosse-Île, and is a landmark on the St. Lawrence River, as evidenced by:
- its imposing scale, its design and materials, which complement the related adjacent structures, and maintain a relationship with the wharf, the rails, and the shore;
- its high visibility and familiarity within the local area due to its prominent location at the island’s point of entry.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Classified Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Harbour Facility

Architect / Designer

Department of Public Works, Architectural Department



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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Corner view

Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site of Canada

Grosse Île National Historic Site is located on an island of the same name in the St. Lawrence River. It is the site of a 19th and early 20th century quarantine station. Today it…


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