Description of Historic Place
The two Powder Magazines are located at the Fort Mississauga National Historic Site of Canada, which overlooks the mouth of the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. Set within the interior face of the fort earthworks to either side of the gate, the subterranean, brick lined structures are carefully camouflaged and protected. They are defined by their entrances flanked by brick sidewalls that slope down to ground level, and by the roofs, partially visible above the earth covering. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Powder Magazines are a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Powder Magazines are very good examples of structures associated with the defence of Upper Canada. The British built Fort Mississauga for the defence of Newark, now Niagara-on-the-Lake, after the destruction of Fort George in the War of 1812-1814. The Powder Magazines were an important element of the fortification complex. They are associated with the defence of Niagara-on-the-Lake both during and after the War of 1812-1814, and with the town’s continuing economic development.
The Powder Magazines exhibit good aesthetic qualities as specialized, early 19th-century coastal defence structures. They are functional structures designed to store small, easily accessible amounts of powder. Very good functional design is evident in the protected exteriors, the protected, single entrance and the subterranean, bombproof design. The brickwork demonstrates very good craftsmanship.
The Powder Magazines are compatible with the historic character of Fort Mississauga National Historic Site of Canada and are a familiar landmark to visitors.
Sources: Shannon Ricketts, Twenty Buildings, Niagara Historic Sites, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report 89-017; Powder Magazines, Fort Mississauga, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 89-017.
The character-defining elements of the Powder Magazines should be respected.
The good aesthetics, very good functional design, good quality materials and very good craftsmanship and materials, for example:
- the low, partially subterranean, inconspicuous massing of the reinforced, rectangular, brick structures;
- the protected entrances flanked by brick sidewalls that slope down to ground level;
- the bombproof roofs and the internal brick vaulting of the interiors;
- the internal configuration of the structures;
- the iron grillwork and doors.
The manner in which the Powder Magazines are compatible with the historic character of the National Historic Site of Canada and are a well-known landmark within the fort, as evidenced by:
- their simple design and materials that harmonize with the military setting of the fort;
- their role as a structural component structures comprising the Fort Mississauga National Historic Site of Canada complex including the adjacent tower that makes it familiar to locals and visitors.