Description of Historic Place
Building 49, also known as the Catholic Presbytery, is situated in the central sector of the village on Grosse Île, in the Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site of Canada. It is a two-storey, rectangular timber building with a hipped roof that flares slightly above the eaves. An open porch protects a centrally placed front entrance that is accessed by wooden steps. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Building 49 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
Building 49 is one of the best examples of a structure associated with Canadian immigration and quarantine. The 1832-1860 period marked the establishment of what would be, for more than a century, Canada’s main quarantine station where immigrants disembarked and passed health examinations. In 1857, with the end of British control, the Canadian government became responsible for the Grosse Île quarantine station. Building 49 is one of only four buildings remaining from the earliest period of occupation. Building 49 first served as the residence of the military commander of the quarantine station and later of the medical superintendent, before being converted to use as a Presbytery in 1874.
Building 49 is valued for its good aesthetic design. This wooden building is a particularly good illustration of the transition from a picturesque architecture, designed with seasonal occupancy in mind, to an architecture motivated by concern for the health of its occupants, forced to spend winter on the island. The form of the hipped roof and its dormers, inspired by the Regency style, dates from the same earlier period. Very good functional design is evidenced in the second floor addition and the interior configuration. Very good craftsmanship is evidenced in the interior woodwork and finishes.
Building 49 reinforces the present historic character of its Grosse Île setting. The structure is a well-known local landmark.
Sources: The Catholic Presbytery, Grosse Île (Part 1: 1832-1860), Quebec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Report 90-031; The Catholic Presbytery (No. 49), Grosse Île, Quebec, Heritage Character Statement 90-031.
The character-defining elements of Building 49 should be respected.
Its good aesthetics, its very good functional design and very good craftsmanship, for example:
- the two-storey massing with a hipped roof and dormers;
- the timber construction;
- the regularly spaced windows of the façade, the exterior ornamental details, including the ornamental details that embellish the windows (small raised pediments) and the Renaissance Revival-inspired portal (pediment, entablature and pilasters);
- the exterior walls clad in clapboard on the first floor and wooden shingles on the second floor and rear kitchen extension;
- the stone foundations;
- the interior configuration, including the mouldings, the staircase, balusters and newel posts, the faux pilaster window casings, the built in furniture, hardware and finishing materials.
The manner in which Building 49 reinforces the historic character of Grosse Île, and is a landmark on the St. Lawrence River, as evidenced by:
- its scale, design and materials, which complement the related adjacent structures including the Catholic Chapel;
- its visibility and familiarity in the central sector at the heart of the former village in this sector of Grosse Île.