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Walter Torraville's Stage Registered Heritage Structure

Walter Torraville's Stage, Change Islands, NL
Walter Torraville's Stage, Change Islands, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

Walter Torraville’s Stage is a wooden, one-storey curved roofed building. Constructed in the early 1900s, it is located on Change Islands, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Walter Torraville’s Stage was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2004 because of its historic, aesthetic and cultural value.

Walter Torraville’s Stage has historic value because of its extended use as a fisheries premises, in addition to its association with the development of ferry routes in the province. It was used for various fisheries related purposes until the mid 1960s - when it became the landing site for the first ferry linking Change Islands to Cobbs Arm, New World Island. This ferry was operated by Fred Chaffey, whose private enterprise was a forerunner to the establishment of regular government operated ferry routes in the province - a development which alleviated the isolation of many rural communities.

Walter Torraville’s Stage has aesthetic value due to its interesting curved roof construction, a rare building form in Newfoundland and Labrador. The fishing stage has further aesthetic value as a good example of an intact fishing structure in the region. Such buildings were designed for practical use and had to endure the rigours of a harsh environment. The use of rough materials, simple design elements and utilitarian construction techniques exemplify these fishery buildings. Located next to the causeway crossing Main Tickle and joining the two islands that make up Change Islands, it has further aesthetic value for its environmental setting and as an important component of the community’s built landscape.

Walter Torraville’s Stage has cultural value as it is a physical reminder of a specific time and place, particularly of a time when life was intrinsically linked to the sea. The stage originally served a vital purpose in a subsistence economy based on the bounty of the ocean surrounding the islands. Later it would provide a vital link between Change Islands and the mainland. This connection alleviated the isolation of the community and impacted its cultural and economic evolution.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Change Islands – Walter Torraville’s Stage – FPT 5098”

Character Defining Elements

All those architectural features relating to the age and vernacular design of the stage/ferry terminal, including:
-round roof;
-number of storeys;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-wooden corner boards;
-size, style, trim and placement of wooden windows;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior wooden doors;
-red ochre exterior colour;
-wooden post building supports;
-placement, design and construction of wharf;
-original form, scale and massing, and;
-dimension, location and orientation of building along Main Tickle.

Location and History

Community Change Islands
Municipality Town of Change Islands
Construction (circa) 1900 - 1900
Walter Torraville
Style 19th Century Vernacular