Southwest Bastion

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Selkirk, Manitoba
General view of the rear of the Southwest Bastion showing the stone walls, wood shingle roof and dormer siding, 1997. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, S. Buggey, 1997
General view
© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, S. Buggey, 1997
General view of the Southwest Bastion showing the simple rectangular wood door and the window openings, 1989. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, W. Lynch, 1989.Side view of the Southwest Bastion showing the medium-pitched conical roof with two gabled dormers and three chimneys, 1989. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada,  W. Lynch, 1989.General view of the rear of the Southwest Bastion showing the stone walls, wood shingle roof and dormer siding, 1997. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, S. Buggey, 1997
Address : Highway 9, Selkirk, Manitoba

Recognition Statute: Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
Designation Date: 1990-05-24
Dates:
  • 1841 to 1848 (Construction)
  • 1970 to 1980 (Restoration)

Custodian: Parks Canada
FHBRO Report Reference: 89-004
DFRP Number: 12705 00

Description of Historic Place

The Southwest Bastion is a low circular tower with a medium-pitched conical roof and forms part of the defensive perimeter of Lower Fort Garry. It is constructed of stone, with simple window openings and a rectangular wood door. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Southwest Bastion is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.

Historical Value
The Southwest Bastion is associated with the garrisoning of troops for defense of the western fur trade and with the consolidation of the fur trade at the fort. Its construction occurred in response to concerns about a possible American invasion in the 1840s.

Architectural Value
The Southwest Bastion is a good example of functional 19th century military defence design. Its low, circular, tower form, used for wall bastions at the fort, distinguishes it. In keeping with its role as part of the fort’s defense system, the building has stocky proportions and a scale that is dictated by the fort’s wall height.

Environmental Value
The Southwest Bastion reinforces the military character of its fort setting at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site. The fort is defined by the perimeter walls and bastions, within which all buildings have a cohesive design and visual unity. In forming part of the fort wall, the Bastion is familiar as part of the defensive perimeter seen by visitors.

Sources:
Kate MacFarlane, Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site, Selkirk, Manitoba, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report, 89-004.

The Southwest Bastion, Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site, Selkirk, Manitoba, Heritage Character Statement, 89-004.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Southwest Bastion should be respected, for example:

Its functional, military design and quality craftsmanship, for example:
The large massing and circular plan of the building. The medium-pitched conical roof with two gabled dormers and three chimneys. The stone walls, wood shingle roof and dormer siding. The simple rectangular wood door and the window openings.

The manner in which the Southwest Bastion reinforces the military character of its Fort setting and is a familiar building at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site, as evidenced by:
The structure’s specialized military design, scale and proportion dictated by the fort’s wall height, reinforces the military character of its setting. The structure’s role as part of the defensive perimeter that makes it a familiar building to visitors to Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site.

Heritage Character Statement

Disclaimer - 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 Southwest Bastion was constructed between 1841-48, used as a wash and cook house, and later used for storage. It was built by two masons, Duncan McRae and John Clouston. The structure was restored in the 1970s. It is currently used as storage space. Parks Canada is the custodian. See FHBRO Building Report 89-04.

Reasons for Designation
The Southwest Bastion was designated Recognized because of its environmental and local significance within Lower Fort Garry, its architectural importance, and its historical associations.

The fort is defined by the perimeter walls and bastions within which all the buildings have a cohesive design and visual unity. The adjacent flat cleared farmland is unchanged. The bastion, in forming part of the fort wall, is familiar as part of the defensive perimeter seen by visitors.

The Southwest Bastion is a good example of the low circular tower form used for wall bastions at the fort. Its construction occurred in response to concerns about a possible American invasion in the 1840s. The bastion is also associated with the garrisoning of troops for defense of western fur trade and with the consolidation of the fur trade at the fort.

Character Defining Elements
The heritage character of the Southwest Bastion resides in its form, its overall proportions, its construction materials and architectural details, its interior layout, and its relationship to the site and setting.

The bastion is a circular two-storey structure with a medium-pitched conical roof. It has two gabled dormers and three chimneys. In keeping with its role as part of the fort defense system, the building has stocky proportions and a scale that is dictated by the fort's wall height. The roof profile, footprint, massing and materials are characteristic of the design of defensive bastions at the fort and should be maintained. Reinstatement of the missing exterior loft access stairs would complete the restoration, and should be considered when the opportunity arises.

The rough limestone of the walls and the wood of the shingle roof and dormer siding are the main materials. The simple rectangular wood door and the window openings relate to the defensive purpose underlying the design. The stone walls were repointed and the foundations and roof shingles replaced in the early 1970s. The exterior materials merit regular maintenance and repair. The new multi-paned sash windows and the wood slab doors are consistent with the original design and should be retained.

The circular plan divided into two spaces has been used mainly for storage. The wooden floor has been replaced and is in keeping with the character of the building. Surviving original interior finishes and materials should be preserved and maintained.

The current simple grassed landscape is appropriate and should be maintained as such without embellishment.