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The Newmarket Federal Building

180, Main, Newmarket, Town of, Ontario, L3Y, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/05/01

Former Federal Building; Heritage Newmarket 2006
Former Federal Building
The Clock Tower Inn; Heritage Newmarket 2005
Former Federal Building
The Newmarket Post Office and Customs House Date Unknown; Heritage Newmarket
The Newmarket Post Office and Customs House

Other Name(s)

The Newmarket Federal Building
Newmarket Post Office
The Clock Tower Inn

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1914/01/01 to 1915/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/11/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Newmarket Federal Building (also known as the Newmarket Post Office and The Clock Tower Inn) was built in 1914-1915, and is located at 180 Main Street South in the original downtown core of Newmarket. It is a two-storey, Italianate-style concrete and steel frame structure faced with red brick built to accommodate the post office and customs house.

The Newmarket Federal building has been designated for its historical and architectural significance by the Town of Newmarket By-law 1995-57.

Heritage Value

Since the Town of Newmarket's inception, postal services were housed in a succession of buildings. In 1911, J.A.M. Armstrong, M.P. for North York, convinced the federal government to build a new post office and customs house in the Town of Newmarket. The building was constructed between 1914 and 1915 by the Canadian Department of Public Works (DPW) under chief architect David Ewart.

The Newmarket Federal Building represents the broad range of style, scale and materials used in the DPW's work on post offices. The choice of Italianate styling is distinct to this structure, resulting in a well-designed and prominent landmark that stands out as a rare example among contemporary post offices. With the exception of the demolition of the well wall to construct the 1956 addition, the changes to the exterior of the building are largely cosmetic in nature. In its main elements, the structure remains largely as it was upon completion in 1915. In 1984 the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office designated the original building as a Recognized federal heritage building. In 1995 the Town of Newmarket designated the original structure for architectural and historical significance. In 2001 the original federal building was converted into a retirement residence known as the Clock Tower Inn.

The building is a two-storey steel frame and concrete structure faced with red brick, with a one-storey irregularly shaped wing along Main Street. It rests on a stone-faced basement. The north east corner is marked by a 65-foot campanile (bell tower) of brick with Georgetown stone trim. Five bays wide along Main Street South and four bays wide along Park Avenue, these elevations feature large windows on the first storey resting on stone lugsills surmounted by arches of red Milton brick accented by a keystone, and visually linked by an interrupted stone belt course. The second-storey windows, smaller and simpler, are grouped in pairs to align with the opening below and rest on a continuous stone string course. They are capped by flat brick arches with central stone keys. The hip roof is supported by heavy wood brackets, which set off the bays and draw attention to the cornice and roofline. The main entrance (originally leading to the post office) forms the base of the campanile. The door is set within a tall arch with a cast panel, announcing post office's function above. The arch is again broken by small canopies hung with iron chains. The pilastered tower rises 65 feet and houses a four-faced manually-operated clock works and a rope-operated 1200-pound bell; both are protected by a wooden screen with stone mullions, sill and cap. The campanile's roof is similar in treatment of the main roof and is topped off with a weathervane. The secondary entrance (leading to the customs house) is placed on a high stone clad foundation, set within a double arch of brick and flanked by sham brick buttresses with stone caps. The arch is broken visually by a canopy and the whole assemblage is surmounted by a cast panel with an inset of the construction date that is interrupted by a crown motif. A one-storey wing to the left of the customs house entrance is similar in treatment to the second storey of the structure.

Sources: Town of Newmarket heritage designation By-law 1995-57, May 1, 1995 and Heritage Newmarket file: 178-180 Main Street South.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that illustrate the heritage value of the Newmarket Federal building include its:
- dominant 65-foot campanile with a four-faced clock
- different sizes and shapes of windows create a unique contrast, while applying symmetry between the different styles
- decorative brackets that support the wide eaves of the hip roof
- rare example among contemporary post offices
- prominent landmark in the Town of Newmarket




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Government and Institutions

Function - Category and Type


Group Residence


Post Office

Architect / Designer

David Ewart


P.H. Secord

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Newmarket Historical Society 134 Main Street S. Newmarket, ON L3Y 3Y7 Heritage Newmarket C/O Town Clerk, Town of Newmarket Municipal Offices 395 Mulock Drive P.O. Box 328 STN Main Newmarket, ON L3Y 4X7

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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