Description of Historic Place
The Government of Canada Building in Renfrew is situated on the corner of two main thoroughfares. The Romanesque Revival stone structure is rich in classical detailing. A central projecting frontispiece and tower balance the horizontal mass of the façade. A mansard roof with paired gabled dormers provides an interesting roof profile. Doors and windows are symmetrically arranged and twinned principal entrances flank the frontispiece. Two-storey additions stand to the rear and the side. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Government of Canada Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Government of Canada Building is associated with the role of government-owned office facilities in the expansion of national communication systems during the early 20th century. It also reflects Renfrew's continued growth and importance as a local centre for business, textiles, mining, and industrial manufacturing from the 1900s onward. The building is currently used for postal services, the second floor Customs and Revenue offices, while the third floor is the caretaker’s suite.
The Government of Canada Building is valued for its very good aesthetic design. Its successful combination of Romanesque Revival style and classical detailing has produced a distinguished, formal building. Good functional design is seen in the configuration of the interior spaces, both public and private, and in the access patterns. Very good craftsmanship and materials is evidenced in the fine exterior stonework.
The Government of Canada Building reinforces the commercial centre of Renfrew where it is a familiar city landmark.
Kate MacFarlane, Renfrew Government of Canada Building, 249 Raglan Street, Renfrew, Ontario, Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 94-029
Government of Canada Building, 249 Raglan Street, Renfrew, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 89-089
The following character-defining elements of the Government of Canada Building in Renfrew should be respected, for example:
Its very good aesthetics, good functional design and very good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-The two-and-a-half storey massing with two-storey, flat roofed additions;
-The exterior walls of irregularly coursed split-faced stone with a base stringcourse;
-The mansard roof clad in seamed copper;
-The symmetrical arrangement of windows with drip moulds and the classically inspired metal cornice;
-The tapered silhouette of the metal-clad clock tower, with cornice trim, hipped gable roof and weathervane;
-The twinned principal entrances with stone pilasters and pediments with metal coats of arms located above;
-The interior configuration, the hardwood finishes, terrazzo tile floors and plaster ceilings and walls with wood dados.
The manner in which the Government of Canada Building reinforces the commercial centre of Renfrew and is a prominent city landmark, as evidenced by:
-Its scale, massing, materials and design that harmonize with the other downtown buildings;
-Its visibility and familiarity given its prominent location on a corner of two thoroughfares, and its ongoing use by the community as a post office and as Customs and Revenue offices.