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Arts Building National Historic Site of Canada

3 Bailey Drive, Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1951/05/30

Corner view of the Arts building, 1987.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1987.
Façade of the Arts Building
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1826/01/01 to 1827/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/05/14

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Arts Building is a large, three-storey, classically inspired masonry structure located on College Hill, at the centre of the picturesque, hillside, campus of the University of New Brunswick. Noted as the oldest university building in Canada still in continuous use, the Arts Building overlooks the city of Fredericton and the Saint John River. The formal recognition refers to the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

The Arts Building was designated a national historic site in 1951 because it is the oldest university building in use in Canada.

The heritage value of the site resides in its historical associations with the beginnings of tertiary education in Canada as illustrated by its site, design and materials. The Arts Building was built in 1826-8 for King's College, a post-secondary institution that became the University of New Brunswick in 1860. The building opened and the first classes were held there in 1829. A mansard roof providing the building with a third storey was added in 1876. For many years the building housed the offices and living quarters of the university president. It is presently used by the University of New Brunswick as administrative offices.

The building is also known as Sir Howard Douglas Hall, so-named in honour of Sir Howard Douglas (1776-1861), Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick and founder of King's College, who spearheaded the construction of the Arts Building in the 1820s.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minute, May 1951.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements which relate to the heritage value of the Arts Building include:
- its siting on a hillside above Fredericton on the campus of the University of New Brunswick;
- elements of its design and materials which mark it as an early-19th century institutional building, including its stone construction, its conservative architectural design with its classical rectangular massing with slightly projecting central and end pavilions, symmetrical placement of window openings, central entry with a top- and sidelights, and the columned portico, classical proportions and detailing, and its multiple chimney stacks;
- elements of its design which relate to its continued and evolving use as part of an educational institution, including remnants of its original layout and interior finishes;
-its continued use as a university building.




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)

1876/01/01 to 1876/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type



Post-Secondary Institution

Architect / Designer

J.E. Woolford



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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