Saanichton Centre for Plant Health, Building 28
Recognized Federal Heritage Building
Sidney, British Columbia
© Department of Agriculture / Ministère de l'Agriculture, 1993.
8801 Saanich Road East, Saanichton Centre for Plant Health, Sidney, British Columbia
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1916 to 1916
Machine Shop Building 28
Former Cattle Barn
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
Building 28, also known as the Machine Shop and the Former Cattle Barn, is a modest two-storey structure located in the operational component area of the Saanichton Centre for Plant Health. This long, rectangular building has a gabled roof with dormer windows and a one-story addition on the south façade. An extended roofline with projecting eaves protects the exterior bevelled wood siding and evenly-spaced wood sash windows. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Building 28 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
Building 28 is associated with the expansion of the Experimental Farm system and its early participation in dairy production. With its conversion from a cattle barn to a workshop, the structure also bears association with the various design and construction of specialized agricultural machinery that took place at the station in the 1950s and 1960s.
Building 28 is valued for its good aesthetic design and modest proportions. The extended roofline, and interior side stalls reflect its function as a cattle barn while the large, one-storey addition is more utilitarian in design, befitting of its later function as a machine shop. The light, wooden construction also exhibits the structure’s good workmanship.
Building 28 reinforces the utilitarian character of the operational compound in the Saanichton Centre for Plant Health. As the oldest surviving building at the station and the largest in the operational compound, the structure influenced other operational developments in the area such as greenhouses, sheds and workshops. It is a familiar landmark within its immediate surroundings.
Sources: Edward Mills, Four buildings, Saanichton Centre for Plant Health, Saanich, British Columbia, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 93-086; Machine Shop, Building No. 28, Saanichton Centre for Plant Health, Sidney, British Columbia, Heritage Character Statement, 93-086.
The following character-defining elements of Building 28 should be respected.
Its good aesthetic design, functional design and materials and craftsmanship, as evidenced in: its rectangular, two-storey massing with an extended, gabled roof and dormer windows; its exterior cladding of bevelled wood siding and evenly-spaced wood sash windows; its large, centrally placed main entrance on the northern façade; its interior features that reveal aspects of its various functions, including original utilitarian finishes and design as defined by the building’s substructure and the extensive modifications made over the years.
The manner in which Building 28 reinforces the utilitarian character of the operational compound and is a familiar landmark within its immediate surroundings, as evidenced in: its prominent location within the operational compound of the Saanichton Centre for Plant Health; its original location that influenced subsequent operational developments in the vicinity; its characteristic proportions, wall-treatment and exterior cladding which are shared with other operational structures, creating the look of standardization within the area.
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 Machine Shop was built in 1916 by the Department of Agriculture. Originally designed as a cattle barn, the building was extended by 20 feet to the north in 1919, was converted to a machine shop in 1940. It had a one storey wing added to the south in 1966 and has had its north-facing windows altered. The structure currently serves as a machine shop. Agriculture Canada is custodian. See FHBRO Report No. 93-086.
Reasons For Designation
The Machine Shop was designated Recognized for its environmental setting, for its architectural design and for its historical associations.
The Machine Shop is located in the operational component area of the Saanichton station, and is flanked by greenhouses, sheds and workshops. Due to its distinctive form and size, the Machine Shop contributes positively to the character of its setting despite successive alterations. The building shares the proportions, siding and colour of all structures built at the station until the 1940s, a standardization which helped establish the station's unified appearance.
This modest sized cattle barn of light construction with gabled roof reflects the secondary nature of the dairy operations at the station and the adaptation to local climatic conditions. The later one storey addition to the south is more utilitarian in design, befitting its function as a machine shop.
As the oldest existing structure of the Dominion Experimental Station (later the Saanichton Centre for Plant Health), the Machine Shop is associated with the expansion of the Experimental Farm System which responded to the agricultural impacts of various soil and climate conditions found across the country. Although the research at the Saanichton station focussed on the local concerns of small fruit and vegetable farms, and later with the development of flower seeds and bulbs, it originally included a small dairy operation.
Character Defining Elements
The heritage character of the Machine Shop resides in the functional quality of its architectural design and in its relationship to its setting.
The Machine Shop is a two-storey structure of modest proportions with a gabled roof and dormer windows. The extended roof line to protect the hay sling, the evenly-spaced wood sash windows and the bevelled wood siding reflect the characteristic functional concerns of the design of barns. These features should be maintained.
The building retains the proportions, wall treatment and the exterior cladding which were standardized for all the station's early operational buildings. The on-going maintenance of the building's exterior woodwork is recommended. The current asphalt shingles have a smooth modern aspect which is not in keeping with the building's character. The restoration of the original roofing material, based on historical precedent, should be considered at the end of the asphalt shingles' current life cycle.
Despite the conversion of the interior's ground floor into a machine shop, remnants of the original barn layout can be discerned in the regular placement of the structural posts and windows. The second floor hay loft has been partially renovated to include office space, but still displays the original utilitarian finishes where currently being used as storage. Where appropriate, consideration to the building's original agricultural character should be included in the design of future interior alterations.
The Machine Shop is located in the operational compound area of the station, and by virtue of its size, and distinctive styling, is the most prominent structure in its immediate vicinity. Despite the number and variety of new structures which surround it, the Machine Shop maintains its relationship with the other nearby early buildings by virtue of its similar proportions, material and colour. Any changes to the building or to its setting that compromise this relationship should be avoided.