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Sault Ste. Marie District Courthouse

420 Queen Street East, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, P6A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2004/09/27

Looking north-east from Queen Street East; City of Sault Ste. Marie
Sault Ste. Marie District Courthouse, 2004
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Other Name(s)

Sault Ste. Marie District Courthouse

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1919/01/01 to 1922/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/06/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Sault Ste. Marie District Courthouse, completed in 1922, is prominently located on Queen Street, the main street in downtown Sault Ste. Marie. The imposing, symmetrical, three-storey structure is built of orange-brown stone and brick. It is set back from the street on an elevated site and approached by a circular driveway.

The Courthouse has been recognized for its heritage value by the City of Sault Ste. Marie, By-Law 2004-162. A cenotaph located on the grounds of the Courthouse has also been recognized for its heritage value by the City of Sault Ste. Marie.

Heritage Value

Designed by Frank R. Heakes, at the height of his career as Chief Architect of the Ontario Department of Works, the Sault Ste. Marie District Courthouse is a fine, and largely unchanged, example of Beaux-Arts Classicism combined with fine workmanship, material and attention to detail. The imposing nature of the structure demonstrates the economic confidence of the Sault at the end of the Clergue Industrial Period (1894-1911) and the Provincial desire to symbolically demonstrate the power of the judicial system.

The courthouse is a landmark because of its striking architecture and prominent setting in downtown Sault Ste. Marie. There has been a courthouse on the site since 1843.

Sources: Sault Ste. Marie Designation By-law 2004-162; Sault Ste. Marie District Courthouse Designation Report

Character-Defining Elements

Key character defining elements that define the building's Beaux-Arts Classicism design include:
- its symmetrical southern elevation, presenting a classical facade to Queen Street (the other elevations are plainer versions of the southern facade)
- its temple front facade, consisting of ionic columns supporting a brick pediment

Key character defining architectural elements of the design of Courtroom 1 include:
- classical double cube dimensions
- the subdivision of its walls with double pilasters
- Corinthian capitals

Key character defining elements that reflect Heakes' architectural style in courthouse design include the building's:
- broad central staircase with oak panelling and wrought iron railing
- stained and/or painted glass ceiling over the staircase, illuminated by an exterior skylight
- intricate and detailed plaster mouldings
- woodwork and finishes

Key character defining elements that relate to the building's landmark location include its:
- elevated position
- set-back on the site
- circular drive through a park-like setting
- prominent downtown location close to other important public sites such as the Post Office and the Sault Ste. Marie Cenotaph




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Security and Law

Function - Category and Type


Courthouse and/or Registry Office


Architect / Designer

Frank R. Heakes


Ontario Department of Public Works

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Community Services Department, Recreation and Culture Division, City of Sault Ste. Marie

Cross-Reference to Collection

Sault Ste. Marie Museum; Sault Ste. Marie Public Library Archives

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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