Historic Places: RMC integral part of our heritage

Cadet Quarters B-34

The Cadet Quarters B-34 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building built in 1964. This four-storey, symmetrical, rusticated limestone building with a C-shaped footprint and gable roof that features two projecting wings with gabled parapets and corner buttresses, double-hung windows arranged in paired columns on the longest elevations, and smoothly finished stone surrounds at the open archways, portico entrances, and the tall, oriel windows. The Cadet Quarters B-34 is part of a row of cadet residences and support facilities which flank the western edge of the College’s Parade Square and main sports field, and is located on the western edge of the Fort Frederick peninsula, overlooking Kingston harbour and the downtown area of Kingston. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building. Built during a period of expansion at the Royal Military College (RMC), The Cadet Quarters B-34 illustrates the important theme of military expansion after the Second World War, in particular the additional training requirements imposed by Canada’s North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) obligations during the Cold War. These commitments, along with the college’s development as a post-secondary academic institution for officer training, necessitated the construction of the dormitory. The Cadet Quarters B-34 is a good, albeit restrained example of the Collegiate Gothic style of architecture. The building blends the traditional ornamental elements associated with the style, with the modern functional program of a dormitory.

Commandant’s Residence

The Commandant’s Residence, built in 1813 to 1814 is prominently located in an open area between the two main sections of Royal Military College (RMC). The two-storey residence is an austere structure with a low-pitched, hip roof. The ordered main façade features well-crafted verandahs and projecting bays. The Historic Places of Canada designation is confined to the footprint of the building. The Commandant’s Residence is closely associated with the Royal Navy period of Kingston’s military history. The building first served as a hospital for the sailors and workers of the Royal Naval Fleet and dockyard on Point Frederick, and later was a residence for the naval and ordnance storekeepers. With the establishment of the RMC in 1876, the building continued to function as a residence, initially for senior Officers and after 1900 for the College’s Commandant. The Commandant’s Residence is a good example of a building designed in the British Classical tradition modified to express a residential appearance. The symmetrical and ordered appearance of the building’s elevations is characteristic of the classical style. The interior retains the original layout, typical of a small hospital and is a testament to the building’s good functional design. The simple shape of the building is embellished with domestic forms such as well-crafted verandahs and projecting bay windows which add residential character to the exterior. These features are also evidence of the good craftsmanship found in the building. The Commandant’s Residence reinforces the character of the campus setting at Royal Military College. Prominently located in an open area, the building is familiar to those who work, live and frequent the campus.

Currie Building

The Currie Building, building 15 sits directly on the parade square and is a centerpiece at the Royal Military College campus. The large, impressive building is a stone structure composed of a central clock tower flanked by two projecting pavilions, accented by parapet gables. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building. The Currie Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value. The Currie Building, as a focal point of the early expansion of the Royal Military College (RMC), is closely associated with the emergence of a professional armed forces in Canada through officer training. The building’s construction marked the beginning and the end of an interim phase in the history of the College. The intermittent building program spanned over forty years, testifying to the difficult economic times that prevailed in the first half of the 20th century. The Currie Building is a good example of the Collegiate Gothic style of architecture, adopted by universities throughout North America as an evocation of the British universities. The functional interior plan reflects the new ideals for modern technical training through its use of naturally-lit, and well-ventilated, lecture halls and classrooms. The building’s stone detailing and patterning are evidence of its high quality craftsmanship. The interior decorative program, designed by prominent Montreal architect Percy Nobbs, has strong symbolic associations with the achievements of the Canadian Corps in the Great War, and with the British Monarchy. The Currie Building maintains an unchanged relationship to this site. The building made an important contribution in establishing the character of the parade square and reinforces the present character of the campus setting at Royal Military College. Designed to be the centerpiece of the campus, it is a familiar landmark to those who work, live and frequent the College.

Fort Frederick Martello Tower

Standing at the tip of Point Frederick, the Fort Frederick Martello Tower, building 30 is a massively built, plain cylindrical four-storey tower of stone construction of medium profile. It has massive circular walls built of rubble masonry and its exterior wall inclines slightly inwards as it rises. The structure reaches 45 feet in height at the trefoil shaped parapet. The roof consists of a timber built, facetted snow roof covered with metal. Openings to the interior are from shutter covered, arched embrasures in the tower wall. The projecting caponiers at the base of the tower are joined to the tower with graceful ogival arches. The Canada`s Historic Places designation is confined to the footprint of the building. The Fort Frederick Martello Tower is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values. The Fort Frederick Martello Tower is a useful example of a structure associated with the defence of the Royal Naval Dockyard and the Rideau Canal. It was the most strategically important of the four towers built between 1846 and 1848. Associated with the early military development of the area Fort Frederick Tower was militarily obsolete even before receiving adequate armament in 1862. It served a symbolic role showing British commitment to defence, and a functional role as a barracks until the British army withdrew in 1870. Its construction, with the associated economic benefits and the subsequent requirements of personnel had an impact on Kingston. The Fort Frederick Tower is a good example of a specialized 19th century military defence design. It displays an exceptional interpretation of the Martello design elements which were modified so as to contain a larger two-floor barracks. The execution of these elements is evidence of the craftsmanship employed in the construction of the Tower. Displaying massive cylindrical profile masonry walls, trefoil parapet walls, and complex interior divisions characteristic of the Martello towers the building exhibits sound workmanship and care in the execution of its massive construction and its details.

Fort Lasalle

The Fort Lasalle Dormitory is one of a group of three buildings that sit on the west border of the parade square at Royal Military College. This austere, rectangular building is faced with rusticated limestone. The main façade is defined by a central, square tower and two slightly projecting pavilions with parapet gables at either end. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building. The Fort Lasalle Dormitory is closely associated with the emergence of a professional armed force in Canada through officer training. The structure was constructed as part of a building campaign to implement a uniform style of architecture at Royal Military College. The Fort Lasalle Dormitory is a good example of the Collegiate Gothic style established as the uniform style of architecture for the Royal Military College at the turn of the century. The very good functional design, craftsmanship and materials are evidenced in the building’s axial symmetry, and in the consistency of style and materials, which exemplify the Beaux-Arts principles of functional efficiency, expandable design, and unity of form. The Fort Lasalle Dormitory maintains an unchanged relationship to its site. The building reinforces the character of the parade ground precinct and is familiar to those who work, live and frequent the campus.

Gatehouse No. 3

Gatehouse No. 3 is located on Point Frederick, the former site of a large naval base which is now part of the Royal Military College campus. It is a small, hipped roof structure constructed of stone with classically inspired proportion and details. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building. Gatehouse No. 3 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value. Gatehouse No. 3 is closely associated with the city of Kingston’s role in Britain’s defence against the United States after the War of 1812. The building dates from the first permanent development of the Point Frederick dockyard, one of Britain’s largest naval bases in Canada and was commemorated in 1973 as part of a National Historic Site. Gatehouse No. 3 is a good aesthetic example of an early 19th century, standard military design with classically inspired scale and proportion. It is also of good functional design as evidenced in its solid construction and choice of materials. The very good craftsmanship of the building is demonstrated in the rubble stonework including the decorative cut-stone quoins and voussoirs. Gatehouse No. 3 reinforces the character of its military setting on the campus of the Royal Military College and is a familiar building in the area.

Guardhouse No. 14

Guardhouse No. 14 is located on Point Frederick, the former site of a large naval base which is now part of the Royal Military College campus, in Kingston. It is a small, hipped roof structure constructed of stone, with classically inspired proportions and details. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building. Guardhouse No. 14 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value. Guardhouse No. 14 is closely associated with the city of Kingston’s important military role in Britain’s defense against the United States after the War of 1812. The building dates from the first permanent development of the Point Frederick dockyard, one of Britain’s largest naval bases in Canada, and was commemorated in 1973 as part of a national historic site of Canada. Guardhouse No. 14 is a very good example of a standard, military design type for sentry buildings. Both the French and British used these types of buildings from the mid-18th to the late-19th century to house and shelter men on sentry duty. The building is characterized by its hip-roof form, front portico and classically inspired scale and proportions. It is also of good functional design as evidenced in its solid construction and choice of materials. The very good craftsmanship of the building is demonstrated in the masonry work. Guardhouse No. 14 maintains an unchanged relationship to its site and reinforces the character of its military setting on the campus of the Royal Military College. The Guardhouse No. 14 is a familiar building in the area.

Hewitt House

Hewitt House is located on a spacious, open landscape overlooking the harbour at Royal Military College, facing the city of Kingston. This three-storey brick building, which was built 1875 to 1876, has a low-pitched hipped-roof, with gable-roofed projections added later to each side. The front elevation features paired entrance doors and a central tower with a mansard roof. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building. Hewitt House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value. Hewitt House is a very good example of a building associated with the opening of the Royal Military College in Kingston. This institution was established to train Canadian army officers and contributed significantly to the development of Canada’s national military system. In addition, the community of Kingston was greatly enriched by the development of the College. Hewitt House is valued for its good aesthetic quality. The design is an interesting illustration of Victorian eclecticism, combining an overall Italianate design with Second Empire influences. Demonstrating a good functional design, the adaptation of the house into two residences was sympathetically realized and the original balance and symmetry of the design was retained. The polychrome exterior, and interior filling and joinery, were well-crafted to impress the incoming British Commandant. Hewitt House is compatible with the institutional character of its setting and is a familiar building at the Royal Military College Campus.

Mackenzie Building

The Mackenzie Building, also known as Building No. 16 and former Education Block, is situated in the Royal Military College Kingston at Point Frederick Buildings National Historic Site of Canada. It’s a three-storied rectangular building with symmetrical pavilion massing typical of the Second Empire style. Constructed in 1876-78, a four-storey central tower contains the main entrance that is flanked by five bays to either side. The copper clad mansard roof and classically detailed stone chimneys provide a distinctive roofline. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building. The Mackenzie Building is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values. The Mackenzie Building is one of the best examples of the theme of the establishment of a permanent military force in Canada. It was the first principle purpose built college structure at the Royal Military College and was for the training of military and civil engineers in Canada. Lieutenant-Colonel E.O. Hewett is also associated with the Mackenzie building being the first commandant of the facility. Its construction, with the associated economic benefits and the subsequent influx of personnel, had a significant impact on Kingston. This building is an excellent example of the Second Empire Style popular in Canada in the 1870s and 1880s used in the context of educational or institutional structures. This style was considered an appropriate medium of expression for local, state or federal building commissions. The goal was to establish a strong, yet dignified presence. One of the unique features of this building is its scale. Its value also lies in the excellent quality of its materials and craftsmanship. It is one of the best surviving works of Thomas Seaton Scott Chief Architect of Public Works. The dramatic and boldly sited MacKenzie Building is still the centrepiece among several buildings organised around a parade ground and playing field. Although the site has changed the Mackenzie Building retains its original relationship with the open expanse of the parade ground and is an integral component of the Royal Military College. In Kingston, the Mackenzie building is representative of the Royal Military College and is well known to the students of the college.


Yeo Hall

Yeo Hall Mess Building, also known as Building No. 32, is one of a group of three buildings that sits on the west border of the parade square at Royal Military College. This austere, rectangular building is faced with rusticated limestone. The main façade is defined by a shaped, parapeted, central gable that rises above a two-storey bay. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building. Yeo Hall Mess Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value. Yeo Hall Mess Building is associated with the emergence of a professional armed force in Canada through officer training. The structure was constructed as part of a building campaign to implement a uniform style of architecture at Royal Military College. The Hall was constructed during the Depression, despite general fiscal restraint. Yeo Hall Mess Building is a very good aesthetic example of the Collegiate Gothic style established as the uniform style of architecture for the Royal Military College at the turn of the century. The very good functional design and quality craftsmanship and materials are evidenced in the building’s axial symmetry, and the consistency of style and materials which exemplify the Beaux-Arts principles of functional efficiency, expandable design, and unity of form. Yeo Hall Mess Building maintains an unchanged relationship to its site. The building reinforces the character of the parade ground precinct and is familiar to those who work, live and frequent the campus.

Stone Frigate

The Stone Frigate (No. 23) at Royal Military College is a freestanding building facing the parade square and backing on to Lake Ontario. This austere building, constructed in1820 is faced in limestone and topped with a low-pitched hipped roof. The well-proportioned façade is distinguished by the evenly spaced rhythm of its many windows. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building. The Stone Frigate (No. 23) is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value. The Stone Frigate (No. 23) is one of the best examples of a structure associated with the early military history of British North America. Its construction was directly related to the disarmament process after the war of 1812. The building bears witness to the shift in the defence of Canada away from a maritime strategy to a campaign of extensive land-based fortifications and canals. After the withdrawal of the British army from Canada in 1820, the Royal Military College (RMC) was established to provide a system of military education to train officers for the armed forces and militia. The building, as the first building on site at the College, is also associated with the early years of growth and prosperity in Kingston. The Stone Frigate (No. 23) demonstrates a very good aesthetic design which displays the high quality of design and construction typical of British military architecture. The building represents an austere interpretation of the British Classical tradition of architecture, befitting its function as a warehouse. Elements of this tradition, based on a strong sense of order, symmetry and balance, are evidenced in the building’s simple form and distinguished patterning. The building is one of the best surviving examples of the work of Archibald Fraser, a Scottish-born architect-builder whose building practice spread across Upper and Lower Canada. The Stone Frigate (No. 23) reinforces the character of the parade square precinct at Royal Military College and is a familiar building on campus.

One Comment

  • Terry Neill

    January 13, 2009 at 2:51 am

    I recommend re-editing the entry on the Mackenzie Building. I doubt that “its construction, with the associated economic benefits,” etc. really had much of an impact on HALIFAX.

    Someone must have been dreaming of home while writing of Kingston.

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