Visiting the Dominion Building, Brampton, Ontario: monumentality by the distinguished Thomas Fuller, dating from 1889
Leading heritage building in a dynamic city
Dating from 1889, this monumental stone building in Brampton, Ontario was the responsibility of Thomas Fuller (1823-1898), the distinguished architect who also designed Ottawa's first Parliament Buildings (1).
The structure is known as the Dominion Building. In former times the structure did indeed house different government offices, and, while it later passed into private hands, the name Dominion Building has stuck.
Among the most conspicuous features of the Dominion Building are the clock tower and cupola. These are actually early, 20th century additions, with the cupola dating from 1906 and the clock tower added in 1914; one of the characteristics of the tower is its multidimensional octagonal shape. (Thus, these developments would not have been known by the original architect, who had died in 1898.)
Romanesque Revival in sandstone
Other noted features of the Dominion Building include Syrian arching at the first floor level, in keeping with the Romanesque Revival style with which the structure is particularly identified. The building is executed in Credit Valley sandstone, quarried at Caledon.
A program of restoration was carried out in recently under the supervision of the Brampton Heritage Board in order to create office and restaurant space. The structure has been reinforced and a new metal roof has been added. The City of Brampton cited the preservation of the 'classic dominion building frontage' as the heritage purpose of the restoration (2).
Brampton is known as The Flower City and, indeed, there are flower baskets which are regularly hung in the vicinity of this fine, heritage property.
A very conspicuous landmark locally, the building is located at 8, Queen Street East, at the intersection of Queen and Main Streets, Brampton, in Ontario's Regional Municipality of Peel.
July 4, 2013
(1) The Library of Parliament, by Thomas Fuller may still be seen; other works by Architect Fuller include buildings at the Royal Military College, Kingston, Ontario and many Dominion projects acquired in his capacity of Chief Dominion Architect. (He is not to be confused with Thomas Fuller II or Thomas G Fuller, son and grandson respectively, both of whom became distinguished architects in their own right, with the former also sering as Dominion Architect and the latter founding a company responsible for the restoration of his grandfather's Library of Parliament building.)
Also worth seeing
In Brampton itself. Bovaird House is an historic residence open to the public.
Black Creek Pioneer Village , Toronto (distance: 23 kilometres) has a much visited collection of historic structures.
How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. (Distance from Toronto Pearson Airport to Queen East and Main Streets, Brampton: 18.9 kilometres). Queen Street is on Brampton Transit Bus Routes 501 and 501A. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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