Renovations at Province House
Parks Canada celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference at Province House National Historic Site with the recent completion of a $2 million renovation project.
“Our Government is pleased to have invested $2 million in preserving Province House National Historic Site for the enjoyment of Canadians today and into the future,” says the Honourable Gail Shea, Member of Parliament for Egmont, Prince Edward Island and Canada’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. “Discussions held at this historic place played a pivotal role in shaping our country. We look forward to supporting local partners as they tell this important story throughout the celebration year.”
Conservation work at Province House National Historic Site began in 2011, focusing on the preservation of the period masonry to prepare it as the backdrop for 2014 celebrations. There were also some structural upgrades to the building, and measures were taken to make the building weather-tight.
“The Legislative Assembly is pleased that Parks Canada has undertaken this phase of renovations to Province House National Historic Site. As the home to the Provincial Legislature since 1847, and as a national historic site, the building continues to be a powerful symbol of Prince Edward Island's provincehood and our democratic system of governance,” says Charles MacKay, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of P.E.I. “It also continues to serve the important role of welcoming thousands of visitors every year who want to see the very building that provided inspiration to the Fathers of Confederation in 1864.”
“Providing learning opportunities and facilitating experiences for visitors is a priority for Parks Canada,” says Parks Canada P.E.I. Field Unit Superintendent, Karen Jans. “This renovation will help to ensure that all Canadians can continue to enjoy this iconic structure and discover the important role it has played, and continues to play in our shared heritage.”
Celebrations to mark the sesquicentennial of the Charlottetown Conference will be held across the island throughout 2014. Parks Canada is pleased to collaborate with PEI 2014 Inc. and the province of P.E.I. on these celebrations. To find out more about events planned for the celebration year, please visit www.pei2014.ca.
Some of the masonry walls were beginning to show signs of deterioration, so steel reinforcements were added for stabilization (left); A plastic seal was erected around the construction areas in the gallery to try to reduce the amount of dust settling below (right).
Steel beams were screwed into the existing structure inside the interior walls. The steel beam and the pins secured the stone in place.
Despite extensive scaffolding and construction equipment on the South and East sides of the building, visitors to Province House could take advantage of the West and North sides for photo opportunities and to gain access to the building. Both the first and second floors remained open to visitors throughout the construction period.
Prior to beginning invasive work on the exterior stone, the conservator carefully inspected the facade and labeled problem areas in chalk. In this case, some stones were protruding from the building while another stone had broken off completely. The conservator wrote “OUT” on the stones that were protruding to indicate that the stones may have to come out so workers could investigate what was causing the displacement.
Workers at the site remove a large stone from the building to investigate what is causing the stone to protrude from the facade. A layer of rubble between the interior and exterior stone was beginning to break down in some places. The mix of cement and stone was eroding due to water seepage. The rubble was repaired, and cracks and fissures were filled to avoid future damage caused by water. This will help to prevent stone displacement in the future.
Workers use hand implements such as an air-powered needle gun to remove the scaling surface of the stone, making the facade smoother, more aesthetic and free of debris. Once problem areas were cleared of loose debris, cracks and discoloration, the stone was filled in using a colour-matched mortar.