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Dominion Public Building

457 Richmond Street, London, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/06/07

Dominion Public Building Classified Federal Heritage Building; (Canada. National Archives, Picture Collection, PA-124500, n.d.)
Exterior photo
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Other Name(s)

Dominion Public Building
Dominion Public Building
Édifice du Dominion

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1935/01/01 to 1936/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/07/29

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Standing within the London’s business core the Dominion Public Building is a distinctive example of Modern Classicism. It is a six-storey building with a tall tower emphasizing one end. Built of smooth ashlar limestone, the impression created is of a stepped skyscraper with a long extension to the rear. The building is distinguished by the strong vertical accent of the multi-storey piers and recessed windows, the polished black granite used for the plinth course, around the entry doors and by the decorative masonry carvings. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Dominion Public Building is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values:

Historical value:
The Dominion Public Building is a very good example of the theme of the establishment of a federal presence in communities across Canada; also of the theme of major buildings erected under the Public Works Construction Act of 1934. In an effort to alleviate the worst effects of the Great Depression the Federal Government allocated 40 million dollars to public works so as to generate employment and to stimulate the economy. The Dominion Public Building is one of the more prominent of the 26 buildings erected under this Act.

Architectural value:
This building is an excellent example in what was called or Modern Classicism which is essentially a variant of the Art Deco style. It draws on these principles to establish a strong yet dignified urban presence in this large official structure. Housing a variety of government departments the reinforced concrete building was constructed to be functional, and exhibits excellent quality materials and craftsmanship.

Environmental value:
The dramatic and boldly sited building has maintained its historical relationship with its unchanged surroundings and reinforces the present character of the business district. The Dominion Public Building provided a highly visible boost to the urban development and visual core of downtown London. It is prominent visually and is a familiar local landmark.

Shannon Rickets, Dominion Public Building, 475 Richmond Street, London, Ontario.. 89-090.
Dominion Public Building, 475 Richmond Street, London, Ontario. Heritage Character Statement 89-090.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Dominion Public Building should be respected, for example:

Its construction style and good quality materials and craftsmanship as manifested in:

-The monumental public scale, the profile and massing rising from a single-storey base in stepped back volumes, and the strong vertical accent of the multi-storey piers which separate the deeply recessed windows and doorways.
-The external sculptural ornament featuring the maple leaf, rose, shamrock, thistle and fleur de lis.
-The interior main public space with coffered ceiling panels and the remaining original internal fixtures such as light fixtures and brass doors.
-The polished marble walls, and polished marble floors with coordinated terrazzo

The manner in which the building reinforces the urban streetscape of London through its construction, scale, and its location, and its physical and functional relationship to the other buildings in town.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Classified Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



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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