Description of Historic Place
The Sergeants’ Mess, also known as Building 3, is one of a group of buildings located within the earthen ramparts of the former Fort Saint-Jean, now the Royal Military College Saint-Jean. The two-storey rectangular, red brick building is topped by a hipped roof and has one-storey additions to the front and to the north. Regularly spaced windows with minimal stonework enliven the solid brick walls. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Sergeants’ Mess is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Sergeants’ Mess, as one of a group of buildings constructed within the walls of the former Fort Saint-Jean in 1839, is closely associated with an effort to improve the district’s defences following the 1837-1838 rebellion. Fort Saint-Jean remained an important military centre for the stationing of troops and supplies. The structure is also associated with a period of growth in the city’s commercial activity and its supporting railway, canal and bridge transportation links. One of the most significance stages in the development of the complex was its choice in 1952 as Canada’s third, and first francophone, military college.
The Sergeants’ Mess is valued for its good aesthetic design, whereby simplified vernacular forms influenced by British Classicism are evidenced in its rigid symmetry, rectangular form and classical proportions. These elements are somewhat marred following the addition of two one-storey sections. The solid walls, constructed of brick laid in common bond, demonstrate a good functional design. The stonework, such as the dressed foundation, and the flat arches that span the regularly spaced windows, are also evidence of the building’s very good craftsmanship and materials.
The Sergeants’ Mess reinforces the mid-19th century character of its former fort, now military school setting at Royal Military College Saint-Jean. The building is well known to those who live, work and frequent the complex.
Sources: Joanna H. Doherty, Four Buildings at Collège Militaire Royal, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report, 86-073; Building No.3, Collège Militaire Royal, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 86-073.
The character-defining elements of the Sergeants’ Mess should be respected.
Its classically influenced aesthetic design, good functional design and fine quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
— the two-storey, rectangular massing with its rigid symmetry, and its simple form and proportions with projecting end pavilions;
— the hipped roof with wooden eaves, boxed and supported on brackets on four sides;
— the masonry construction of brick laid in common bond and in flat arches over openings, and the dressed stone foundation and trim;
— the regularly spaced window openings and entrances.
The manner in which the Sergeants’ Mess reinforces the mid-19th century character of its former fort, now military school, setting at Royal Military College Saint-Jean and is a well-known building, as evidenced by:
— its scale, design, construction, and materials, which contribute to the character of a group of four similar buildings within the earthen ramparts of the military school setting;
— its familiarity as a residence to staff, students and visitors, and its national recognition as part of the grounds of the old Fort St. Jean.