Description of Historic Place
The Health and Welfare Building is located in the city of Québec on the east side of the former Canadian Pacific Railway station, known as the Gare du Palais. The chateau-like building is a compact, seven-storey structure distinguished by its steep copper-clad roofs ornamented with gables, tourelles, finials, iron cresting and numerous dormer windows. The building is constructed of concrete and has stone trimmed, brick-faced walls and many multi-paned sash windows. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Health and Welfare Building is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Health and Welfare Building is closely associated with the importance of Québec as a postal terminus, from the 18th century onward, and in particular, it reflects the link between the railways and the development of postal service in Canada. This is noted in the deliberate positioning of the building with the Gare du Palais railway station, erected in 1915. As well, the building illustrates the generally buoyant phase of industrial development in Lower Town at the time of its construction in the late 1930s.
The Health and Welfare Building is valued for its excellent aesthetic design executed in the Château style and is one of the most prominent works of architect Raoul Chenevert. The building’s irregular, polygonal shape with various continuous façades, numerous dormers, gables and turrets, along with rich materials including brick, stone and copper, are typical of Château-style buildings. The stonework is of high quality with numerous carved panels, and contributes to the excellent craftsmanship evidenced in the building’s construction.
The Health and Welfare Building reinforces the architectural character of its historic setting in the Lower Town of Old Québec. The building is an important landmark and is a key element in the current redevelopment of the area.
Sources: Jacqueline Adell, Health and Welfare Building, Québec, Québec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 89-135; Health and Welfare Building, Québec, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 89-135.
The character-defining elements of the Health and Welfare Building should be respected.
Its excellent aesthetic design, good functional design and excellent materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the irregular polygonal shape, topped by a massive copper roof, with metal cresting, dormers, gables and turrets;
- the varied, picturesque massing that is visible from all sides;
- the various façades, which are marked by a rich diversity of colour, texture and detail;
- the walls of brick with stone at the base, around the openings, at belt courses, and on the decorative gables and frontispieces;
- the numerous small-paned sash windows;
- the high quality stonework with numerous carved panels;
- the surviving interior details in the lobby and at the base of the main stair.
The manner in which the Health and Welfare Building reinforces the architectural character of its historic city setting and is a well-known landmark, as evidenced by:
- its large scale, massing, Chateau-style design and materials, which contribute to and harmonize with the architectural character of historic setting;
- its role as a key element in the redevelopment of the Lower Town of Old Québec;
- its visibility and familiarity due to its large scale, design and prominent location, as well as its role as the former post office for the city, all of which make it a well-known building in the lower town of Old Québec.