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Guard House Building 38

Esquimalt, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2002/10/17

CFB Esquimalt, Guardhouse, Building 38, Colwood British Colombia; constructed ca. 1935.; (CFB Esquimalt, March 2000)
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Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/03/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

CFB Esquimalt, Guardhouse, Building 38 is a well-proportioned, one-storey, tan brick structure composed of projecting end units, a recessed central entry, and a hipped roof. The building features classical detailing including a triple-arched entrance, concrete plinth and cornice treatment. CFB Esquimalt, Guardhouse, Building 38 is located immediately adjacent to the south side of the main entrance road on a site with little formal site landscaping, and commands the main entrance to the Colwood Naval Supply Depot. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

CFB Esquimalt, Guardhouse, Building 38 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical value:
CFB Esquimalt, Guardhouse, Building 38 is associated with the national historic theme of the expansion of Canada’s navy on the west coast in the years immediately prior to the Second World War. It was built to control land access to the Colwood Joint Services Magazine (now the Naval Supply Depot) which stored munitions for the Canadian forces and the British navy during the war, and which since 1965, has housed the Fleet Diving Unit. As part of this larger complex, the building is also associated with the major shift in land use in the township of Colwood from private/civic use to military ownership and occupancy.

Architectural value:
CFB Esquimalt, Guardhouse, Building 38 is a very good example of an arch-fronted military guardhouse. A well conceived and executed design, Building 38 is characterized by a well-proportioned composition and classical detailing which create an appearance of solidity and strength appropriate for its function as a guardhouse. The balanced proportions of Building 38 can be attributed to the projecting end units that flank the central recessed entry, the regular placement of multi-paned windows, and the hipped roofline. A superior level of craftsmanship was employed in the execution of the entrance’s triple arches, and the brick bond pattern and detailing of the wall surfaces.

Environmental value:
Visually prominent by virtue of its function, location and distinctive design, CFB Esquimalt, Guardhouse, Building 38 is compatible with the mixed military / utilitarian character of the adjacent buildings, and is familiar to those working at the Depot.

Joan Mattie, Building 38 (Guardhouse), CFB Esquimalt, Colwood, British Columbia. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 00-003; Building 38 (Guardhouse), CFB Esquimalt, Colwood, British Columbia. Heritage Character Statement 00-003.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of CFB Esquimalt, Guardhouse, Building 38 should be respected:

Its role as an illustration of the expansion of Canada’s navy on the west coast in the years immediately prior to the Second World War is reflected in:
-the building’s prominent location at the entrance to the former Joint Services Magazine (now Colwood Naval Supply Depot.)

Its distinctive design and high quality materials and craftsmanship as manifested in:
-the well-balanced, three-part massing which consists of rectangular end units and a recessed centre block, with a covered porch over the central entry and articulated hipped roof;
-the classical proportions of the concrete plinth, wall surface, cornice treatment;
-the execution and detailing of the brickwork as seen in the entry’s round-headed triple arches and columns, the stretcher bond pattern with recessed rows which simulates an ashlar surface, vertical soldier course and corbelled courses of the cornice and chimney; and,
-the regular pattern of six-over-six windows.

The compatibility of the building with the mixed military and utilitarian character of the CFB Esquimalt (Colwood) entrance and its landmark status, as evidenced in:
-its relationship with the cluster of service buildings near the entrance to the Colwood site; and,
-its visual prominence owing to its location, distinctive design and function as the main check point though which military personnel and visitors must pass to enter the site.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type


Military Support


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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