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York County Court House National Historic Site of Canada

649 Queen Street, Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1980/06/16

Corner view of the York County Court House, 1992.; Agence Parcs Canada - Parks Canada Agency, 1992.
General view of the place
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1857/01/01 to 1858/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/12/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

York County Court House is a two-storey, red-brick building built in 1857-58. It is located in the downtown area of the city of Fredericton. The formal recognition consists of the building on its property at the time of designation.

Heritage Value

York County Court House was designated a national historic site in 1980 because it is representative of a significant functional type; and it is unique among extant court houses in the Maritimes in its amalgamation of market and court uses under one roof.

Built in 1857-8, the York County Court House is the earliest surviving New Brunswick court house constructed of brick. It represents the beginning of a trend toward the widespread use of brick and stone in public buildings in the province, primarily for reasons of fire safety.

The building was designed to house a market on the ground floor, and court rooms on the second storey. This combination, which arose as a result of a restrictive land grant entered into by the county at the beginning of the 19th century, is unique among surviving Maritime public buildings. Given the diverse demands of the two functions, the marriage of market and court house was never a happy one. The market space was largely converted to court offices in 1882-3.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, March 1980 and November 1989.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements which relate to the heritage value of the York County Court House include:

-its simple, utilitarian design with rectangular massing, a low-pitched roof, regularly placed window openings, and classical detailing;
-its conservative Italianate design with ground and second floors differentiated through use of ground floor round-headed windows with classically inspired trim, grey granite quoins and belt course, and second storey tall, narrow window opening, elaborate cornice, simply detailed pilasters, string courses and plain window trim;
-its red brick exterior with sandstone and grey granite trim;
-surviving remnants of the original interior layout, finishes and fixtures which relate to its use as a market on the lower storey and county court on the upper storey;
its continued use as a court house;
its siting on land used as a marketplace since 1814.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Governing Canada
Security and Law

Function - Category and Type



Courthouse and/or Registry Office
Commerce / Commercial Services

Architect / Designer



John Davis

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Canadian Inventory of Historic Building Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 525, 25 Eddy Street, Hull, Quebec.

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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