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Building 39

Grosse-Île, Quebec, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/10/02

View of Building 39, showing the wood frame construction with a gabled roof, circa 2004.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, vers / circa 2004.
Side view
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Other Name(s)

Building 39
Multi-family Dwelling
Logement multifamilial

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/10/22

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Building 39, also known as the Multi-family Dwelling, is located in the western half of the island near Cholera Bay on Grosse Île, in the Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site of Canada. Building 39 is a long, rectangular, wooden building with a gable roof. Hipped roof dormers are set in between large, gable dormers at either end of the building. Two-and-a-half storeys high, the symmetrical building is balanced and austere with regularly spaced windows and doors. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Building 39 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical value
Building 39 is one of the best examples of a structure associated with immigration and quarantine in Canada. The economic boom in the early years of the 20th century gave rise to a level of immigration that was unprecedented in the history of Canada. Building 39 is a multiple dwelling structure that was initially constructed to house the sailors and their families. It was later used as sergeants’ quarters during the Second World War.

Architectural value
Building 39 is valued for its very good aesthetic design. It is of domestic appearance and is based on the row houses or terraces popular in England from the mid-18th century onward. The carefully planned interior contains eight separate units, which exhibit very good functional design. The central wing containing the common areas has the appearance of a large home and separates the two-storey wings containing the private rooms. Very good craftsmanship and materials are seen in the concrete construction, the wall panelling and woodwork.

Environmental value
Building 39 establishes the present historic character of its immigration and quarantine setting at the west section of the island and is a local landmark.

Sources: Histoire et Archéology, Bureau régional de Québec, Le logement multifamiliale, (Partie IV :1901-1920), Grosse-île, Québec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Report 93-031; The Upper Block (Sailors’ Quarters, No. 39), Grosse Île, Quebec, Heritage Character Statement 93-031.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of Building 39 should be respected.

Its very good aesthetics, its very good functional design and very good craftsmanship, for example:
- the long massing, with a gabled roof;
- the wood frame construction;
- the principal façade that features regularly placed doors and sash windows, and the small pediments that protect the entrances;
- the large end gables decorated with ‘fish scale’ shingles, and the middle dormers with hipped roofs;
- the exterior walls clad in clapboard siding;
- the interior configuration, interior finishes and trim including, the panel doors, the fluted mantelpieces, the built-in furniture, and the plumbing fixtures.

The manner in which Building 39 establishes the historic character of its immigration and quarantine setting on Grosse Île in the sector known as Cholera Bay, and is a landmark on the St. Lawrence River, as evidenced by:
- its large scale, design and materials, which complement the related adjacent structures and maintain a relationship with the other hotels, the old laundry 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

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Landing Point

Architect / Designer

Public Works Canada, 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




Related Places

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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