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Barriefield Heritage Conservation District

Kingston, City of, Ontario, K7K, Canada

Reconnu formellement en: 1980/04/21

Drystone walls and vegetation frame the view of St. Mark's Anglican Church, Barriefield; RHI 2006
St. Mark's Anglican Church, Barriefield
Boathouses and wetland vegetation on the Cataraqui River shore in Barriefield; RHI 2006
Boathouses on Cataraqui shore, Barriefield
Typical Barriefield: low scale wood frame and limestone houses, built close to the street; RHI 2006
Wood frame and limestone houses, Barriefield

Autre nom(s)

Barriefield Heritage Conservation District
Barriefield Village

Liens et documents

Date(s) de construction

Inscrit au répertoire canadien: 2009/01/14

Énoncé d'importance

Description du lieu patrimonial

The Barriefield Heritage Conservation District (HCD) is an evolving village landscape that has retained much of its historic 19th century character. It sits on a hillside rising from the eastern shore of the Great Cataraqui River, adjacent to the intersection of Highways 2 and 15 near Fort Henry, the Royal Military College and Canadian Forces Base Kingston.

The District was designated by the former Township of Pittsburgh under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act on April 21, 1980 (By-law 17-80).

Valeur patrimoniale

Barriefield HCD contains a diverse ensemble of buildings, mostly residences, and landscape features of 19th century character, while reflecting two centuries of physical, social, economic and natural change.

Barriefield has a long association with European settlement and military activity in the Kingston area, beginning in 1814, with a detailed townsite plan. The streets were named after military figures from the War of 1812. The village itself was named, in 1820, after Commodore Robert Barrie, Commissioner of the nearby Kingston Naval Dockyard. Barrie's secretary, John Bennet Marks, an early village resident, was elected MPP, in 1836, and first Reeve of Pittsburgh Township, in 1850.

Early growth of the village was associated with the increased activity at the nearby Kingston Naval Dockyard, during the War of 1812, and the construction of Fort Henry, from 1832 to 1837. By the 1840s growth had stabilized, but Barriefield saw further commercial and industrial development in the 19th century, mainly associated with taverns, hotels, boat building and sawmills. Slowly changing from the 1840s to the early 20th century, Barriefield was a reflection of the stable population and economy. In 1886 the Pittsburgh Township Hall, designed by William Newlands, was added to the Village. There was little new construction after 1900. Post 1945, the buildings in the village began to suffer, as the population declined so too did the property values. Since 1977, however, Barriefield has been under increasing development pressure, which led, in part, to the creation of the Heritage Conservation District by Pittsburgh Township, in 1980. While new residences have been built and some existing heritage properties altered, the overall 19th century village character has been retained. Barriefield also has notable archaeological resources.

The distinctive design value of the Barriefield Heritage Conservation District is found in the scale, mass, decorative detailing and siting of its buildings. Most are detached single family residences of frame or stone construction with a few semi-detached houses. There are also a few two-storey buildings, but the overall built environment is typified by low profile, one-and-a-half storey houses. Brick buildings are uncommon with only four 19th century examples. Additions and alterations to properties in the village have reflected continuing use and changing needs and tastes of their owners and occupants over time. Most changes have been sympathetic to the historic character of the buildings.

Views from the approaches along Highway 15 to the north, Highway 2 to the east and downtown Kingston to the west, all afford uninterrupted panoramic views of Barriefield, as it sits prominently upon the hill. As well Barriefield's position provides clear views of the Cataraqui and St. Lawrence rivers, Fort Henry and downtown Kingston. Large grassy open spaces on the north, east and south sides preserve these vistas. The northern entrance to Barriefield is through a stone gate and bordered by a walnut grove. On the northern edge, the prominent landmark of St. Mark's Church is highly visible from a distance. The steeply sloping river bank with its screen of deciduous trees and the mature black willows surrounded by tall wetland grasses along the river edge further define the District and contribute to the rich variety of its natural features. The District's landscape reveals a mix of natural and built features that further contribute to the distinctive overall historic character. These include; the original street grid, dividing the properties into rectangular lots, lilac hedgerows, dry stone walls and other surviving landscape elements that define property boundaries.

Sources: Former Township of Pittsburgh By-law 17-80; Barriefield Heritage Conservation District Plan, May 1992; City of Kingston Heritage Property File CHE-P18-572-2006.

Éléments caractéristiques

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Barriefield Heritage Conservation District include its:
- street names recognizing the War of 1812 and British military officers
- proximity to the site of the former Kingston Naval Dockyard and Fort Henry
- archaeological resources
- cohesiveness of the overall use, scale, siting and building materials in the village
- constraining village boundaries of the Military Reserve and river
- low-density residential scale of most properties, continuous throughout the history
- predominance of 19th and early 20th century buildings, showing evidence of change over time
- predominance of one-and-a-half storey buildings typifying the overall form of the District
- minimal setback of most buildings
- predominance of local limestone and frame construction, with only four 19th century brick buildings
- central front gables generally found as original construction on the post-1850 stone houses, and as a later addition in the roofs of some pre-1850 houses
- use of squared rubble in the stone buildings, either coursed, un-coursed or broken-coursed
- predominance of clapboard or cove siding on frame houses
- side gable, centre hall plan and symmetrical three bay façade of most smaller houses, with some exceptions featuring off centre entranceways
- five bay façades of the larger two storey dwellings
- end gable, side hall plan with off centre doors on the late 19th century frame houses
- brick or stone chimneys typically located at either end of the roof ridges
- typically vertical rectangular window openings, usually symmetrically arranged on each elevation with untrimmed openings and sills of wood or cut stone, headed with voussoirs on the stone houses
- surviving double hung sashes of most original windows
- round arched windows in most central front gables
- main entrances typically located on the long wall of the end gabled stone houses
- rubble foundation walls typically found on the frame houses
- plain entranceways—some with transoms—of the frame houses
- minimal exterior detailing of the earlier frame houses
- one-storey open porches running the full-width of the façades of many houses
- its setting on a hillside rising from the riverbank
- viewscapes from the village towards the Cataraqui and St. Lawrence rivers, Fort Henry and downtown Kingston
- grassy open space on the north, east and south sides of the District
- street geometry, laid out in a grid following the 1814 townsite plan and forming rectangular lots
- more intensive settlement pattern of the core of the village and along the two historical main roads
- surviving historic landscape features, such as stone survey markers, dry stone walls, abandoned rights of way–now used as public pathways, hillside streets, lilac hedgerows and mature black locusts
- mature black willows, overhanging the water and surrounded by tall wetland grasses along the river's edge
- landmark of St. Mark's Church (built 1844), the most prominent building in the District, highly visible from a distance.
- landscaped setting, including decorative stone gate posts and dry stone walls marking the entrance and grove of walnut trees at the road which form a distinctive northern gateway to the District




Autorité de reconnaissance

Administrations locales (Ont.)

Loi habilitante

Loi sur le patrimoine de l'Ontario

Type de reconnaissance

Arrondissement de conservation du patrimoine (partie V)

Date de reconnaissance


Données sur l'histoire

Date(s) importantes


Thème - catégorie et type

Un territoire à peupler
Les établissements

Catégorie de fonction / Type de fonction




Architecte / Concepteur




Informations supplémentaires

Emplacement de la documentation

City of Kingston Heritage Property File P18-572.

Réfère à une collection

Identificateur féd./prov./terr.




Inscriptions associées



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