Classified Federal Heritage Building
(© Travaux publics Canada | Public Works Canada, 1983.)
44 Hurontario Street, Collingwood, Ontario
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1913 to 1915
Event, Person, Organization:
Philip C. Palin
Public Works and Government Services Canada
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
The Collingwood Federal building is a two-and-a-half-storey building with a low, hipped roof and designed in a Beaux-Art style. The facade, which it entirely sheathed in white marble, is distinguished by the finely detailed and complex form of its projecting portico and colonnade. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The heritage value of the Federal Building lies in its architectural significance and in the fact that it is remarkably unaltered.
It is an outstanding work in the Beaux-Arts style, with the symmetry and balance of the exterior carried through into the very fine public spaces of the interior. It is marked throughout by a richness of materials and ornament rare in Canada for a building of this type.
Heritage value is also found in the building’s role as a landmark in its town.
Nathalie Clerk, Collingwood Federal Building, Collingwood, Ontario, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 83-048; Collingwood Federal Building, Collingwood, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 83-048.
The heritage value of this property is defined by:
•the two-storey composition of the east façade, surmounted by a gently sloping hip roof;
•the symmetrical composition of the east façade, with a monumental portico over the entrance flanked by colonnaded porches;
•the strongly three-dimensional nature of the white marble with bronze decorative features;
•the coffered ceiling of the porch, the upper cornice, and the roof covering, which are of copper;
•on the main level interior, a carefully orchestrated sequence of spaces highlighted by a central court with a large stained-glass dome;
•the balanced disposition of spaces around a central axis, enhanced by the use of marble, bronze, oak and ornate plaster work;
•the upper level, which retains original trim and detailing and some evidence of original layout;
•the grand marble staircase, which connects the two levels, and its heavy oak handrail, lit by a large stained-glass window.
Heritage Character Statement
The heritage character statement was developed by FHBRO to explain the reasons for the designation of a federal heritage building and what it is about the building that makes it significant (the heritage character). It is a key reference document for anyone involved in planning interventions to federal heritage buildings and is used by FHBRO in their review of interventions.
The Collingwood Federal Building was built between 1913 and 1915 to the designs of Philip C. Palin, a local architect. It is the property of Public Works Canada. See FHBRO Building Report 83-48.
Reason for Designation
On November 16, 1983, the building was designated Classified because of its architectural significance, because it is a landmark in its town, and because it is remarkably unaltered. It is an outstanding work in the Beaux Arts style, with symmetry and balance of the exterior carried through into the very fine public spaces of the interior. It is marked throughout by a richness of materials and ornament rare in Canada for a building of this type.
Character Defining Elements
The heritage character of this property is defined primarily by the east façade, and by the layout and decorative treatment of the interior.
The east façade is a two-storey composition surmounted by a gently sloping hip roof. It is symmetrically composed, with a monumental portico over the entrance flanked by colonnaded porches. The work is strongly three-dimensional and is executed in white marble with bronze decorative features. The coffered ceiling of the porch, the upper cornice, and the roof covering are of copper. All elements of this façade must be meticulously maintained and conserved.
The interior on the main level is marked by a carefully orchestrated sequence of spaces highlighted by a central court with a large stained-glass dome. The balanced disposition of spaces about a central axis is enhanced by the use of choice materials - marble, bronze, oak and ornate plaster work. The upper level also retains evidence of layout but more particularly of original trim and detailing. The two levels are connected by a grand marble staircase with heavy oak handrail, lit by a large stained-glass window.
The interior has undergone a number of alterations, including reduction of the public space and blocking of the light well above the coloured glass dome. However, the basis elements survive and must be carefully preserved. Every opportunity should be taken to restore or recover aspects of the original design which are presently obscured, including the impact of the dome, the consistent symmetry of the layout, and the consistency of materials and decorative features. All contemporary detail should be sympathetic to the original design.
A number of the original landscape features on the east front, including the oval planting beds, have been removed. Consideration should be given to their reinstatement. Contemporary requirements for signage and accessibility should not mar the integrity of the forecourt. In particular, access should be direct to the front door, and the portico should be visible from the street and not blurred by plantings.