Legislative Assembly Building

Legislative Assembly Building

New Brunswick’s Legislature is considered one of Canada’s finest, designed by Saint John architect J.C. Dumaresq who won the competition to replace the previous structure destroyed by a suspicious fire in 1880. Dumaresq adopted the Second Empire, the signature style of Saint John following the Great Fire of 1877, which had become the predominant style of Canada’s major public buildings of the 1870’s and 1880’s. His design made provision for Council and Assembly Chambers, a Supreme Court chamber, and a library at the rear in the form of a Roman basilica. The building, which opened in 1882, was made of Dorchester sandstone and Spoon Island Granite from nearby Gagetown, and possesses corner pavilions, a narrow pedimented central bay projecting slightly from the main façade, and a tall central cupola reaching a height of 144 feet. Adorned with carved stone detail such as Corinthian columns, Native faces with feather headdresses at the upper portico corners, and a carved stone head of Queen Victoria above the doorway arch, the building is also renowned for its towering self-supporting spiral staircase inside, and the statue of Britannia with her trident, symbolic of Britain’s dominance of the seas, guarding the upper roof. The Assembly Chamber features lavish Irish crystal and brass chandeliers, Japanesque wallpaper (popular in the 1880’s), and a steep wraparound balcony for the public.