Description of Historic Place
The Men’s Two-Storey Barracks is situated at Butler’s Barracks National Historic Site of Canada on the outskirts of Niagara-on-the-Lake and stands amongst park-like lawns and trees. The two-storey, rectangular, structure has a central entry, regular, horizontally aligned windows and a low-hipped roof. The building is also notable for its open, exterior staircase, its prominent end chimneys and lack of ornamentation. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Men’s Two-Storey Barracks is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Men’s Two-Storey Barracks is one of the best examples of a structure associated with the ongoing development and defence of Niagara-on-the-Lake during the early 19th century. The British established Butler’s Barracks complex after the War of 1812-1814 to barrack and train troops used in the defence of Upper Canada. Originally used to house British troops from 1817 to 1837, from 1837 to 1965, it was used as a barracks for Canadian troops and is thus associated with the evolution of the Canadian army. The building is one of five structures at Butler’s Barracks National Historic Site of Canada, which was established by the federal government in 1951.
The Men’s Two-Storey Barracks is valued for its very good aesthetic design and is a rare surviving example of an early 19th-century wooden barracks. Its balanced, well-proportioned composition, clean lines and simple unadorned appearance express its functional, military character. Georgian influence can be seen in the rectangular massing, central entrance, the balanced fenestration and chimneys, and the low-hipped roof. It is a good functional, efficient response to the prevailing conditions using good local materials.
The Men’s Two-Storey Barracks reinforces the historic character of Butler’s Barracks National Historic Site of Canada and is a familiar landmark to residents and to visitors.
Sources: Shannon Ricketts, Twenty Buildings, Niagara Historic Sites, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 89-016; Men’s Two-Storey Barracks, Butler’s Barracks, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 89-016.
The character-defining elements of the Men’s Two-Storey Barracks should be respected.
Its very good aesthetics, very good functional design and good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the two-and-a-half storey massing;
- the low-hipped roof, the wood shake roof cladding, and the prominent chimneys;
- the lower storey log on stone foundation, the second storey frame with brick infill at one end, and the clapboard cladding;
- the symmetrical façade with central entrance and exterior, open stairs;
- the interior configuration.
The manner in which the Men’s Two-Storey Barracks reinforce the historic character of the national historic site of Canada and is a well-known regional landmark, as evidenced by:
- its simple design and materials that harmonize with the nearby Commissariat Stores, with the Gunshed, and other historic buildings within the military setting;
- its role as an important component of the group of surviving structures from the Butler’s Barracks National Historic Site of Canada that makes it familiar to locals and visitors.