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2001: College Building declared national historic site

The federal government declared the College Building a National Historic Site of Canada in February 2001.  The first building on campus and a focal point of campus life, the College Building had received an equivalent provincial designation in 1982.

Excerpts from the background report prepared for the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada:

The College Building is not as elaborate as Hart House or the McGill Medical Building, its two contemporaries.  It is, however, the centrepiece of five of the University’s original Brown and Vallance buildings, the finest grouping of Collegiate Gothic university buildings in Canada. ... Built in 1910-12, the College Building ... effectively illustrates, through its strong historical associations and its fine design, pioneer university education in Western Canada.

The College Building, with its low, horizontal lines, strong symmetrical masses, Gothic fenestration and decorative motifs, possesses the salient features of the Collegiate Gothic style, although in a more modest manner than many American and certain Canadian examples.  Typically, it is an imposing structure with a disciplined composition.  Its Gothic motifs are muted, but they are effectively deployed.  Three oriel windows, once illuminating the library, draw attention to the centre of the façade; the middle window is positioned over the arched entranceway and between the stepped gable to form a typical ‘medieval’ frontispiece. The textured walls and contrasting dressed stones, windows with crossed stone mullions and steel casements, the smattering of gargoyles, and the notched parapet are all part of the style’s vocabulary; however, such details are not intended to overwhelm the architectural composition.  Instead, the design strives for a calm, precise appearance, one that allows the well organized interior plan and spaces to be understood on the outside.1

Larger Version

The College Building was closed in 1997 due to structural problems; it was re-opened in September 2005 after a major rehabilitation project.


2001a: Detail of carved gopher. Facilities Management Division fonds, RG 2015, College Building slides, WE-1260.
2001b: Bay window. Facilities Management Division fonds, RG 2015, College Building slides, WE-1118.
2001c: View of the College Building (with residence buildings to the right) taken from the roof of the Chemistry Building, ca. 1924. Photograph Collection, A-178.


1. Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Submission Report: College Building, University of Saskatchewan, 2000. Subject Files, Administration Building.

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