Customs Immigration Building
Recognized Federal Heritage Building
Trout River, Quebec
(© PWCSC, 1989)
Godmanchester, Trout River, Quebec
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1932 to 1933
Event, Person, Organization:
Parks Branch, Architectural Division
Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
The Customs Immigration Building in Trout River is a small, attractive one-and-a-half storey, Tudor Revival structure. It has a prominent gabled roof with dormers and bell cast eaves supported on heavy brackets. Stucco walls contrast with dark, decorative half timbering. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Customs Immigration Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values:
The Customs Immigration Building is associated with the increasing international, cross-border, motor tourist traffic in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
The Customs Immigration Building is valued for its very good aesthetics. Inspired by late medieval architecture, the structure features imitation half-timbering, prominent gables, leaded glass windows, and accents of brick, all combined in a picturesque manner. The structure exhibits good functional design. The present condition of the building attests to the very good quality of the craftsmanship and materials used.
The Customs Immigration Building reinforces the character of its cross-border setting at Trout River. It is familiar to customs and immigration officials, visitors, tourists and inhabitants of Trout River.
Kate MacFarlane, Customs Immigration Building, Route No.138 Trout River, Quebec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 89-128; Customs and Immigration Building, Route No.138 Trout River, Quebec, Heritage Character Statement 89-128.
The character-defining elements of the Customs Immigration Building should be respected:
Its Tudor Revival style, functional design and very good craftsmanship and materials, for example: the ‘T’-shaped massing of the structure; the hipped roof, half-timbered gables and chimney; the peeled log, saddle notched wall construction, the stone-faced foundation and extensive stone detailing as on the entrance porch; the arrangement of window and door openings; the finished log interior.
The manner in which the Customs Immigration Building reinforces the international cross-border character, as evidenced by: its distinctive Tudor-Revival aesthetic, materials, proportions and massing, which harmonize with the natural setting of the border and with Route No.138; its distinctive design and location that is familiar to customs and immigration officials, visitors, tourists and inhabitants of Trout River.
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 Trout River Customs and Immigration Building was built in 1932 to designs by the Architectural Division of the Department of Public Works under the direction of Chief Architect Thomas W. Fuller. The custodian department is Public Works and Government Services Canada. See FHBRO Building Report 89-128.
Reasons for Designation
The Customs and Immigration Building was designated Recognized for its design, craftsmanship, site and setting.
Built in response to the increasing international cross-border motor tourist traffic in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Trout River is the largest of the two remaining customs buildings constructed in the Tudor Revival style. Inspired by late medieval English architecture, the most characteristic feature of the Tudor Revival style is imitation half-timbering. Other defining characteristics are prominent gables, bay and oriel windows, leaded glass, and accents of brick or stone, all of which are combined in asymmetrical, picturesque compositions. The Trout River building is an attractive design which exhibits a number of these features. The very good condition of the building attests to the quality of the craftsmanship and materials used.
Despite additions, the original orientation and relationship of the site to the western boundary of Route No. 138 has been retained. Located directly on the highway, the Trout River Customs and Immigration Building is the largest, most prominent and attractive structure on the site.
Character Defining Elements
The heritage character of the Trout River Customs and Immigration Building resides in its exterior elevations and design elements, its craftsmanship and materials, and the character of its setting.
The attractive one-and-a-half storey structure has a gabled hip roof with deep, slightly bellcast eaves supported on heavy brackets. Tudor Revival references include stucco walls with decorative half-timbering, a bay window, prominent gables and hipped dormers. Wood sash windows arranged in groupings of two and three, with multi-pane upper sash or transoms, provided texture and visual interest to the ground floor, with paired multi-light windows in the gables and dormers. The present aluminum windows and doors detract from the exterior character; a return to the earlier configuration and material would enhance the character of the building.
The contrast between the pale stucco walls and the dark decorative halftimbering should be retained. Any repair or restoration of the exterior should respect the quality and character of the Tudor Revival design elements.
While the interior layout is somewhat altered and modernized, there are traces of early fabric in the kitchen and bathrooms of the second floor. These vestiges should be recorded and incorporated into any new work.
The original orientation and prominent location of the Customs Building in relation to Route No. 138 and its relation to the rest of the site buildings should be respected and preserved.