Description of Historic Place
Located on a formal landscape, the Visitor Orientation Centre is a single storey, rectangular, stone structure with a steep roof. It has a projecting roofline with dormer windows and projecting stone ends with chimneys. There is a central main entranceway flanked by four multi-paned windows on the front of the building. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Visitor Orientation Centre is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Visitor Orientation Centre is a very good example associated with the presentation and interpretation of history as practiced in Canada during the 1930’s. It illustrates local enthusiasm and interest in cultural resource conservation and historical interpretation.
It was built as a museum to house historical exhibits related to Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada. It is associated with the life and career of David P. Botsford, who was appointed the first museum curator/custodian for the museum in 1941 where he worked until 1964. As the senior park administrator he was influential in the development of the site as its boundaries expanded in the 1940’s to include portions of the original fort property.
The Visitor Orientation Centre is a very good example Colonial Revival Style which was evocative of Québec colonial architecture. The well proportioned, symmetrical building with characteristic steep roof is domestic in scale. Its value resides in its form, overall proportions, details of its Colonial Revival style design, materials and surviving interior layout. The building was one of numerous larger institutional buildings designed in the French Colonial Revival style in various regions of the country.
The Visitor Orientation Centre, located on a formal landscape reinforces the character of the museum building as a manor house on an estate in its historical setting. Through its attractive detailing and substantial scale, the Visitor Orientation Centre helps to evoke an historical ambience for visitors upon arrival to the site.
Sources: James de Jonge, Fort Malden and Associated National Historic Sites, Amherstberg, Ontario, Federal Heritage Building Report 91-181; Visitor Orientation Centre, Fort Malden National Historic Site, Amhertsburg, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 91-181.
The character defining elements of the Visitor Orientation Centre should be respected.
Its French Colonial Revival Style design, form, overall proportions and materials as manifested in;
-its simple massing consisting of a single storey, rectangular structure distinguished by a prominent dormered roofline and projecting stone gable ends with chimneys typical of French Colonial Revival style;
-the symmetry, good proportions and balanced arrangement of dormers and windows, which contribute to the formality of the design;
-the slate roofing and rough limestone walls with dressed stone window surrounds, which are typical materials of this style;
-its unique elements including the stone corbelling and decorative ‘S’ bearing plates on the gable ends, the recessed panels below the windows front and rear and the projecting entranceway;
-the multi-paned wood windows in keeping with the Colonial Revival character;
-the dormer windows and ground floor side windows.
The manner in which the Visitor Orientation Centre reinforces the present character of Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada in its historicized setting.