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Visiting the Old Post Office, Sault-Ste.-Marie, Ontario: By David Ewart, With Neoclassical Pediments and Syrian Arches

Updated on April 20, 2020
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
Sault Ste. Marie Museum clock tower (former Post Office), Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
Sault Ste. Marie Museum clock tower (former Post Office), Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. | Source

Solidity identified with Federal authority

Designed by David Ewart (1), Chief Dominion Architect, the building in Sault-Ste-Marie, Ontario known as the Old Post Office (2), was begun in 1902 and completed in 1906.

Features of this structure, which exudes a strong, traditional solidity, include classical pediments and pilasters, Syrian (or Romanesque) arching and a prominent cornice. The building's most conspicuous feature is its clock tower.

It is executed in a combination of red brick and sandstone.

Since 1982 the Old Post Office Building has housed the Sault-Ste-Marie Museum (3).

It is interesting that, while David Ewart designed various buildings across Canada, it is his buildings at a distance from Canada's capital — even at the extremities of Canada? — which arguably retain inevitably a strong aura of the Federal Government's authority. For example, his 1913 Customs Examining House, Vancouver, British Columbia was built at about the time that the Federal/Provincial defence chain of command broke down when the British Columbian government on its own initiative purchased submarines for defence of that Province's Pacific coastline. For its part, the Old Post Office stands a short distance from the border with the United States at Sault-Ste-Marie, Michigan.

The Old Post Office is situated at 690 Queen Street East, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

April 21, 2020


(1) David Ewart served as Chief Dominion Architect from 1896 unto 1914; he notably worked on Rideau Hall, the Dominion Observatory and the Connaught Building, Ottawa, and various buildings at the Royal Military College, Kingston, Ontario, and many others.

(2) See also:

(3) See also: The Museum notably has strengths in local regimental history and in the history of local weaving.

Sault Ste. Marie Museum south façade (former Post Office), Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
Sault Ste. Marie Museum south façade (former Post Office), Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. | Source

Also worth seeing

In Sault-Ste-Marie, Ontario itself, sights include the the Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site, Sault-Ste-Marie National Historic Site, and many others; in the wider area are various Provincial Parks with spectacular scenery; Sault-Ste-Marie is a good base from which to explore the wider Lakeshores of Superior and Huron, and the Algoma region.

In Sault-Ste-Marie, Michigan, USA (distance: 7.2 kilometres), the River of History Museum is at 531 Ashmun Street; there is a number of notable examples of church architecture; the Chippewa County Courthouse is a striking, domed building; the Soo Locks, which enable shipping to pass between Lakes Superior and Huron, are a US National Historic Landmark.


How to get there: Air Canada and Porter Airlines fly from Toronto, with wide North American connections, to Sault Ste. Marie Airport (distance from Sault-Ste-Marie, Ontario: 19.5 kilometres), where car rental is available. SkyWest/ Delta Connection flies from Chippewa County International Airport , near Sault-Ste-Marie, Michigan, (distance from Sault-Ste-Marie, Ontario: 36 kilometres) to Detroit Wayne County Metropolitan Airport, with wide North American connections. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Given the proximity of the US-Canada border, international travellers should refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Map of Sault-Ste-Marie riding
Map of Sault-Ste-Marie riding | Source

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