Description of Historic Place
The Post Office, also known as the Government of Canada Building, is located in downtown Summerside in a mixed, commercial and residential area. This modern building is a large, rectangular block with smooth, flat, red brick surfaces. On the principal façade, bands of large windows and the central entrance are framed by stone surrounds. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Post Office is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Post Office is a good example of a building that illustrates increased spending by the federal government in the 1950s on new buildings for the provision of government services. The construction of the building represents an extension of federal services into regional administrative centers.
The Post Office is a good example of the classical moderne styling, which had been used for federal buildings since the 1930s. Designed in this style it demonstrates classical qualities of order, containment and elegant proportions expressed in the main façade. The building is well designed to meet its functional needs, with a main floor post office area, flexible office spaces on the upper floor for various government departments, and a full basement for storage. The centralized front entrance and stairwell offer convenient access to all spaces. The building employs standard construction materials and methods, handled in a competent manner.
The Post Office is compatible with the present character of its mixed commercial and residential setting in downtown Summerside. Located prominently in downtown Summerside, it is well known within the community.
Sources: Joan Mattie, Government of Canada Building (GOCB), Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 99-029; Government of Canada Building, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Heritage Character Statement, 99-029.
The following character-defining elements of the Post Office should be respected.
Its good aesthetic and functional design and good craftsmanship and materials, for example:
- the simple, cubic volumes, the simplicity and abstraction of all components, and the smooth, flat masonry surfaces, all reflecting a modern aesthetic;
- the building’s classical qualities of order, containment and elegant proportion, as expressed in the symmetrical main façade;
- the regular rhythm of windows and the central entrance that are contained in a panel-like arrangement with stone surrounds;
- the strongly projecting stone mullions within the window and door panels;
- the reinforced concrete foundation, the steel frame and exterior walls of masonry blocks covered with brick and stone veneer;
- the interior terrazzo flooring and chrome-finished steel railing in the main stairwell.
The manner in which the Post Office is compatible with the present character of its mixed commercial and residential setting and is a well-known landmark, as evidenced by:
- its overall scale, design and materials, which harmonize with the surrounding buildings in the downtown core;
- its visibility due to its large scale and prominent location on a prime, downtown lot;
- its role as a post office, which makes it familiar to residents of the area.