Description of Historic Place
The Girard House sits in the midst of rolling farmlands and enjoys a magnificent view of the St. Lawrence River. It is a two-and-a-half-storey wood building with a medium-pitched roof with bell-cast eaves, regularly arranged dormers, and a brick chimney. A large wooden gallery, accessed by a central staircase, spans the five-bay front façade and provides access to its elevated main level. A central doorway with sidelights and a transom is flanked by evenly spaced, multi-paned windows. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Girard House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Girard House is associated with the settlement of the lower St. Lawrence region in Québec. According to local history, the house was built by a prosperous local businessman for the dowry of his daughter. The house was used as a farm residence for over a century. In 1970, it was sold to the Canadian government and has been recently occupied as a seasonal residence and interpretation centre by the Canadian Wildlife Service and the Societé de Conservation de la Baie de L’Isle-Verte.
The Girard House is a fine example of a large ‘maison québécoise’ of the St. Lawrence Valley. Its heritage value resides in the characteristics of its composition, which link it to the St. Lawrence Valley, Québec house type. Its very good functional design contains features that refer to its long use as a farm residence. Built using log construction, the house exhibits all of the traditional materials of this building type on a grand scale. The fine level of the craftsmanship and materials is evident both on the interior and the exterior.
The Girard House reinforces the farm character of its rural setting in the St. Lawrence Valley and is an important local landmark.
Sources: Jocelyn Cossette, L’Isle Verte, Québec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 86-086; Maison Girard, L’Isle-Verte, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 86-086.
The character-defining elements of the Girard House should be respected.
Its good aesthetic and very good functional design, and very good craftsmanship and materials, as for example:
- the two-and-a-half-storey massing with a gable roof with bell-cast eaves;
- the balance and symmetry of its overall design and proportions;
- the log construction;
- the five-bay façade, elevated main floor, large front gallery and summer kitchen;
- the central doorway with sidelights and transom;
- the regularly arranged and evenly-spaced multi-paned windows;
- the interior features that refer to its long use as a farm residence, such as the plank floors and moulded plaster ceiling.
The manner in which the Girard House reinforces the farm character of its rural setting and is an important local landmark, as evidenced by:
- its overall massing, design and materials, which harmonize with its surrounding farm lands adjacent to the river;
- its role as an interpretation centre which makes it well known in the area;
- its visibility due to its prominent location adjacent to the river and its recognition within the community as a historic landmark.