William Brydone Jack Observatory National Historic Site of Canada
William Brydone Jack Observatory
Observatoire William Brydone Jack
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The William Brydone Jack Observatory National Historic Site of Canada is a small structure, consisting of an octagonal tower topped with an octagonal conical roof, with a one-storey, gable roofed portion to one side. The building is covered with wooden clapboarding, and simple wooden mouldings and brackets under the roof finish the exterior surfaces. The interior volumes are also plain and serviceable. Designation refers to the building on its footprint.
William Brydone Jack Observatory was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1954 because:
-it was the first astronomical observatory in Canada.
The William Brydon Jack Observatory was built in 1851 at the instigation of William Brydone Jack, professor of mathematics, natural philosophy and astronomy; and president of the University of New Brunswick, 1861-65. Schooled in the traditions of Scottish universities, he equipped the observatory with the best instruments of the day. In collaboration with Harvard observatory he determined the longitude of Fredericton and other places in New Brunswick, and corrected errors in international boundaries.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1954.
Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- its simple, functional design, consisting of a short octagonal tower topped with a conical roof, with a one-storey rectangular wing attached;
- the construction materials, simple finishes and volumes;
- the internal disposition of spaces;
- the surviving equipment;
- the building’s site and setting in relation to the University of New Brunswick campus.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Function - Category and Type
- Post-Secondary Institution
- Health and Research
- Research Facility
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Québec.
Cross-Reference to Collection