Guardtowers D1 - D5
Les tours de garde (D-1 à D-5)
Links and documents
1841/01/01 to 1846/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Penitentiary towers are located at each of the four corners along the exterior wall of the Kingston Penitentiary. The projecting round structures are constructed in stone and are reminiscent of Medieval castle architecture. Each tower supports an octagonal guard house with a polygonal shaped roof. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Penitentiary towers are a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of their historical associations, and their architectural and environmental value.
The Penitentiary towers are associated with the establishment and evolution of the penitentiary. The towers, in combination with the security wall, have been the functionally defining unit of the penitentiary and provide the most substantial barrier between society outside and the inmate population inside.
The Penitentiary towers demonstrate excellent functional design and are good examples of Baronial Gothic revival architecture. From a functional standpoint, the guard towers provide effective surveillance of the security wall and yard area as well as providing secure and direct communication between the walkway on top of the security wall and the yard below. The very good quality craftsmanship and choice of materials are demonstrated in the cut-stone trim of the doors and windows, and by the moulded cornice supported on console brackets.
The Penitentiary towers reinforce the character of the institutional setting at the Kingston Penitentiary are well-known landmarks in the region.
Sources: Dana Johnson, Kingston Penitentiary, Kingston, Ontario, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 89-032; Guard Towers (D-1 to D-5), Kingston Penitentiary, Kingston, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 89-032.
The character-defining elements of the Penitentiary towers should be respected.
Its Baronial Gothic revival architecture, excellent functional design, and very good
craftsmanship and materials, for example:
- the projecting round tower form and the slight taper of the wall towards the top;
- the octagonal guard houses with an outside gallery protected by an iron railing, and large areas of glazing, and a polygonal roof capped by an ornamental finial;
- the stone masonry construction, long narrow windows and the console-bracketed cornice.
The manner in which the Penitentiary towers reinforce the character of the institutional setting at the Kingston Penitentiary and are well-known landmarks within the region, as evidenced by:
- their Baronial Gothic revival architecture and masonry construction that is compatible with and complements the adjacent structures of the institutional complex;
- their role as a prominent exterior element of a complex largely unseen by the
- their conspicuous identity within the region vis-à-vis its distinctive form, identifiable function and public exposure.
Government of Canada
Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy
Recognized Federal Heritage Building
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Correctional Facility
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