Description of Historic Place
The Granary is one of the buildings on the Papineau estate. Unique in that it resembles a small rural church, the rectangular, one-and-a-half-storey brick structure has a vertical emphasis. It features a pointed arch, semi-circular blind windows and a balcony. The metal gable roof has flared eaves and is topped by a bell-turret. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Granary is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Granary, as part of the Manoir Papineau, is closely associated with two people of national historical significance: the politician Louis Joseph Papineau (1786-1871), the first French-Canadian nationalist leader and seigneur of La Petite-Nation, who designed and built the structure and was the first user; and Napoléon Bourassa (1827-1916), an architect and painter who used the upper floor studio during the summers of 1858 to 1871. The building, designed as a storehouse for grain given to the seigneur as payment for rent and dues from settler-tenants, is also associated with the seigneurial system, even though it was built after the system was abolished in 1854. The Granary was built the year Papineau moved permanently to Montebello, a year of significant development in the local community. The Seignory Club and the Canadian Pacific Company subsequently owned the building before Parks Canada became the custodian in 1993. The Granary is also part of the Manoir Papineau National Historic Site of Canada.
The Granary is valued for its excellent aesthetics and good functional design. The design is extraordinarily refined given the function of the building. Rising to one-and-a-half-storeys, the rectangular brick structure sits on a stone foundation, is covered by a gable roof and is topped by a bell-turret. The picturesque composition is neo-gothic with neoclassical elements. The frescoes along the top of the inside walls, the sketches which were done by Napoléon Bourassa for the Chapelle de l’asile de Nazareth in Montreal, bear fitting tribute to the artist’s time in the building and add a great deal of aesthetic interest. The building features a balance of formal elements that enable it to provide optimum conditions for storing grain. The simple spaces were ultimately perfect to accommodate an artist’s studio.
The Granary reinforces the present picturesque character of the setting. The Granary benefits from a significant symbolic empowerment, is an outstanding landmark and is an increasingly popular tourist attraction.
Sources: Le lieu historique national du Canada du Manoir-Papineau (les edifices relevant de la jurisdiction de Parcs Canada), Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 01-087; Granary, Montebello, Quebec, Heritage Character Statement 01-087.
The following character-defining elements of the Granary should be respected.
Its excellent aesthetic design and very good quality materials and craftsmanship as evidenced in:
-the picturesque qualities of the building’s design, which stem from neo-gothic inspired elements, such as the dramatically pronounced vertical lines, the bell-turret and wind vane, the eave brackets, the flared eaves, the pointed arch windows and other elements. The elements drawn together from the Classical repertoire (turned spindle balcony, semicircular windows) confirm an eclectic style unique to the building;
-the studied composition of the hangar elevations, which is apparent in the symmetry of the gable walls and the regular spacing of the side windows;
-the elements that are associated with its initial use for grain storage make it particularly suitable for that purpose, including the use of non-flammable materials (brick and sheet metal on the roof); the absence of windows; and carpenter-made air vents. The entrances to the building, the second floor door and the versatility of the open space are also associated with functional design qualities;
-testimony to the time Napoléon Bourassa spent in the upstairs studio, which has frescoes along the ceiling and on the end walls, reflects his work in the Chapelle de l’asile Nazareth de Montréal, which no longer exists, and his handwritten, personal recipes for encaustic paint;
-the soaring quality of the building’s silhouette and its resemblance to a small country church affords the Granary strength of presence alongside the manor.
-the relationship of the building with the manor and the surrounding structures, in terms of the overall picturesque aesthetic, designed in the spirit of A.J. Downing. Existing relationships are largely rooted in topography, vegetation, traffic and sightlines.