Description of Historic Place
The Government of Canada Building, in Edmundston, New Brunswick, is a squat, two-storey building with a flat roof and a prominent cornice line. The front elevation of the cubic massing is emphasized through a rectilinear grid pattern, composed of three planes divided into five bays by the building’s painted concrete piers. The ground-storey bays are recessed between the concrete piers and are surmounted by smooth-faced, cream-coloured brick infill panels in a Flemish bond pattern, then by window panels and painted concrete beams. Secondary façades are not sub-divided into three planes as the front, but do expose the concrete frame and feature the same rectangular brick infill panels below window units and along outer bays. Windows are aluminum frame. The building is prominently located in downtown Edmundston’s service centre area. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Government of Canada Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Government of Canada Building is a useful example of the rapid expansion of federal government services in small communities across the country in the period following the Second World War. Built early in Edmundston’s significant post-war building boom, the most recent phase of the community’s development, the building is useful in illustrating the city’s current mixed economy of services, education and industry, which contributes to its status as a regional centre.
The Government of Canada Building is a good example of the predominant aesthetic of federal government buildings in the post-war period. This standard federal design shows the influence of the International style of architecture. The functional quality of the Edmundston Government of Canada Building is good, and its interior layout is typical of federal buildings of the era. A known example of the work of Gerald Gaudet of Leblanc, Gaudet and Associates, the Government of Canada Building was carefully constructed using good quality materials and craftsmanship.
The Government of Canada Building reinforces the institutional character of Edmundston’s service centre area, which includes the city hall and the fire station, through its scale and aesthetic design. The building has retained its historical relationship with its associated landscape and is a familiar landmark in the community of Edmundston due to its prominent location and its use.
Sources: Andrew M. Waldron, Government of Canada Building, 22 Emmerson Street, Edmundston, New Brunswick, Federal Heritage Building Report 04-085; Government of Canada Building, 22 Emmerson Street, Edmundston, New Brunswick, Heritage Character Statement, 04-085.
The character-defining elements of the Government of Canada Building should be respected.
Features that distinguish the building’s good quality aesthetic design, International style, functional design, craftsmanship and materials, as seen in:
- the cubic massing with an overall rectilinear grid pattern;
- its overall horizontality, emphasized by the building’s squat height, flat roof and strong cornice line;
- the balanced composition of the main façade, where three planes are divided into five bays by the building’s concrete piers;
- the ground-storey’s recessed bays between concrete piers;
- the visual emphasis on the front façade;
- the architectural expression of the building’s concrete frame;
- the simplicity of forms and the lack of decoration;
- the variety of surfaces and textures;
- the smooth façade surfaces, particularly as found in the brick panels and the large window units;
- the contrasting colour scheme, which features strong colours for the concrete beams and piers and bright cream-coloured brick infill in a Flemish bond pattern;
- the standard interior layout, where the ground level houses the main public entrance lobby with postal counters and sorting area, and the second-storey contains adaptable office space;
- the solid structure, consisting primarily of steel beams, concrete framing and poured-in-place concrete;
- the quality exterior brick;
- the remaining higher quality interior finishes, such as the terrazzo flooring, the aluminium handles and some doors.
The manner in which the building reinforces the institutional character of its setting, as evidenced in its:
- prominent cornice line;
- established colour scheme;
- material vocabulary.
Its status as a familiar landmark in the community of Edmundston, due to:
- its location on a prominent site along a main thoroughfare;
- its use as a post office.