King’s College (University of New Brunswick)

Where: Fredericton, NB.

Engineer: William Cross and John Murray

Date of construction: July 1826

Sir Howard Douglas Hall (Old Arts Building), University of New Brunswick (Google Street View)

Site Location: Lat: 45° – 56’ – 55”, Long: 66° – 38’ – 28”. (GPS: 45.9483044, -66.6414137). Sir Howard Douglas Hall (Old Arts Building) on University of New Brunswick Fredericton Campus, 3 Bailey Drive. From Trans-Canada Highway 2, take Exit 280, Highway 8 North. Drive 7.5 km to take the Forest Hill Road exit. Drive 1.2 km north, noting Forest Hill Road becomes Beaverbrook Street, then left onto Mackay Drive, immediately right on Dineen Drive, then after 0.3 km turn left onto Bailey Drive. Sir Howard Douglas Hall is on your left.

Plaque Location: The plaque is located on the left side of the entrance at the west end of the building.

Plaque on left side of door well at west façade of Sir Howard Douglas Hall. (Source: L. Waugh)

Description: Sir Howard Douglas Hall, commonly referred to as “The Old Arts Building”, was constructed by William Cross and John Murray with James Taylor and Co. They were hired in July 1826 to construct the building, for £ 10,300. The building was formally opened on January 01, 1829. It is named after Sir Howard Douglas (1776-1861), who was Governor of New Brunswick from 1823 to 1831. He founded, and was the first Chancellor of, Fredericton College (King’s College), now the University of New Brunswick.

Text of advertisement in New Brunswick Courier, December 10, 1953. (Source: L. Waugh)

Historic Significance: This is the oldest university building still in use in Canada. The Old Arts Building is the location of the first formal university-level program in Civil Engineering in Canada. The first lecture on Civil Engineering in Canada was delivered here on February 15th, 1854.

Plaque detail. (Source: L. Waugh)

Plaque Wording: National Historic Civil Engineering Site. KING’S COLLEGE. OLD ARTS BUILDING. 1826. First lecture on Civil Engineering in Canada, 15 February 1854. Canadian Society for Civil Engineering. 1993.

Site Historique National de Génie Civil. KING’S COLLEGE. 1826. LE VIEIL ÉDIFICE DES ARTS. Premier cours de genie civil au Canada le 15 février 1854. Société Canadienne de Génie Civil. 1993.

Plaque Unveiling Ceremony: The plaque was unveiled during the CSCE Annual Conference in Fredericton, June 8-11, 1993. An outdoor program, developed by Prof. Eric Garland of UNB’s Civil Engineering Department described the initiation of the engineering program there, where the audience watched different areas of the building exterior be illuminated and heard the story in words and music.

Link to Online Documentation:

“Brief History of UNB”

“The Rise of Engineering Education in Canada”

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