GOVERNMENT HOUSE, BATTLEFORD




GOVERNMENT HOUSE, BATTLEFORD

Government House, Battleford is a Provincial Heritage Property and National Historic Site located on a scenic hilltop overlooking the junction of the Battle and North Saskatchewan Rivers in the Town of Battleford. The site consists of a ¾-hectare parcel of landscaped grounds, which includes a brick chimney, foundation, and other stabilized ruins from a fire that destroyed the building in June of 2003. The designation also includes two non-contributing buildings.

The heritage value of the Government House site at Battleford resides in its status as the location of the first official seat of government for the North-West Territories. Chosen because of its commanding presence on a hilltop that overlooked the river valley and burgeoning community of the Territorial capital of Battleford, Government House imparted a sense of authority and established a government presence in the North-West Territories. Constructed in 1876-1877, the original building was the first permanent residence of the Territories' Lieutenant-Governor and the legislative centre for the appointed Territorial Council. More than two-thirds of Canada's geographic land mass was administered from this location from 1878 until 1883, when the Territorial capital was moved to Regina. 

After the territorial capital was moved to Regina, the building became one of Canada’s first Indian Industrial Schools. In 1916, the Seventh Day Adventists significantly modified and expanded the building to operate a religious academy. Later, it became a seminary and boarding school for the Oblates of St. Mary’s. Although destroyed by fire in 2003, the ruins of Government House are still a commanding presence on what was known as “Government Ridge.”Today, the site maintains its unimpeded view over the river valley. It is clearly marked by the surviving foundations and the remaining chimney, which stands as a monument to a site whose diverse history has made fundamental contributions to the province. 

CHARACTER-DEFINING ELEMENTS
The heritage value of Government House, Battleford resides in the following character-defining elements: 
-the remains of the original building, including the brick chimney, the foundation, and remnants of the walls; 
-its hilltop location with its unimpeded, tree-framed view of the river valley.

Sources: Canada's Historic Places; Province of Saskatchewan, Notice of Intention to Designate as Provincial Heritage Property under The Heritage Property Act, December 20, 1983; and, Order to Designate as Provincial Heritage Property under The Heritage Property Act, March 27, 1984