Government House National Historic Site of Canada
Links and documents
1833/01/01 to 1834/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Government House National Historic Site of Canada, located west of the historic area of Charlottetown, faces the harbour where Pond Road joins the waterfront roadway to Victoria Park. Serving as the home for the Prince Edward Island Lieutenant Governor, the house sits on an extensive property known as Fanning Bank. This large, graceful, early 19th-century neoclassical two-storey residence features a double-height gabled portico flanked by verandahs, while the exterior is clad in wood shingles. Official recognition refers to the house and its grounds.
Government House was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1971 because:
- it was the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island and it served also as the seat of colonial executive power;
- it is a finely-proportioned frame structure of neoclassical style.
The heritage value of Government House resides in its symbolic and functional role as an official residence, and in its neoclassical architecture. As the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island, Government House has provided a setting of simple elegance for the formal entertainment of the Island community and its distinguished visitors. Several alterations have occurred since the residence was built in 1835 by the contractors, Isaac Smith, Henry Smith and Nathan Wright. Its landscape includes estate grounds with outbuildings.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, May 1971, June 1973.
Key features contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- the building’s function as the official residence of Prince Edward Island’s Lieutenant Governor;
- its neoclassical style with rectangular massing under a hipped roof with tall chimneys, the double-height columned portico over the central entry, single-storey wrap-around verandah, its symmetrically organized elevations with evenly spaced multi-pane sash windows, and its main door with a fanlight;
- its regularly placed windows and central entrance,
- its wood construction and cladding;
- the centre-hall plan and original volumes of the major public spaces;
- surviving early interior furnishings and fittings as well as those symbolically associated with particular residents, including the large staircase and the ornamental fireplaces;
- the suburban siting as a landscaped estate with viewscapes to the harbour;
- the setting of the residence, setback from the road on landscaped estate grounds;
- the integrity of surviving early outbuildings and landscape features.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1834/01/01 to 1851/01/01
1834/01/01 to 1871/01/01
1871/01/01 to 2009/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
- Governing Canada
- Government and Institutions
Function - Category and Type
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection