Wilfrid Laurier House National Historic Site of Canada
© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, N. Clerk, 1999.
16 Laurier Street West, Victoriaville, Quebec
Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
1876 to 1877
Event, Person, Organization:
Sir Wilfrid Laurier (person)
Louis Caron Sr.
Wilfrid Laurier House
Research Report Number:
Existing plaque: 16 Laurier Street West, Victoriaville, Quebec
Built in 1876-1877 for Wilfrid Laurier and his wife Zoé, this elegant Italianate style house served as their principal residence until his swearing in as Prime Minister of Canada in 1896 and their departure for Ottawa a year later. It was here, in the region of Arthabaska he so loved, that the well-known lawyer prepared himself for the great role he was to play. He was extremely attached to this house, which he kept and revisited regularly until his death in 1919. Ten years later, it became the Laurier Museum, dedicated to keeping alive the memory of this great Canadian.
Description of Historic Place
Located in the old municipality of Arthabaska, (now amalgamated with Victoriaville) Quebec, the Wilfrid Laurier House National Historic Site of Canada is a two-storey building in the Italianate style. This elegant red-brick residence, once Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s home, sits on a gracious lot behind a semi-circular driveway framed by mature maple trees. Official recognition refers to the building on its legal lot.
The Wilfrid Laurier House was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1999 because it is directly associated with a national historic figure, namely, one of the former prime ministers of Canada, Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
Built between 1876 and 1877 to Laurier’s specifications, the building served as his principal residence for 20 years and illustrates his success as a lawyer, in the Arthabaska region. This house was Laurier’s principal home until elected prime minister in 1896, after which he visited regularly and used it as his summer home until his death in 1919. The house was eventually given to the Quebec government and used as a museum dedicated to the memory of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. After the building opened as a museum in 1929 some alterations were made to accommodate the museological functions.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November, 1999.
The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include: its prominent location in an old Arthabaska residential neighbourhood; the rectangular, two-storey massing set under a hipped roof; the brick construction with white-accented details; the Italianate stylistic elements, notably the symmetrical, three-bay principal façade with central entry sheltered by an ornately detailed porch, the lively detailing that include brick quoins, a central arch containing a bulls eye window, arched windows, oriel windows, an ornate dentillated cornice with consoles, high stone foundation and small roof terrace surrounded by a balustrade; surviving detailing and materials from the Laurier era, notably the wooden casement windows, panelled doors, and remaining evidence of the original domestic plan, interior finishes, and remaining Laurier furniture.