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Bay Roberts, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
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Cable Building National Historic Site


The Cable Building in Bay Roberts is a National Historic Site of Canada as well as being a Provincial Heritage Structure. Today, it is still a key location in the town of Bay Roberts since it contains the Bay Roberts Town Hall (including council offices, meeting rooms, and the Council Chamber on the ground floor) and the "Road to Yesterday" Museum, the Christopher Pratt Gallery, and the Town Archives on the second floor.

The Cable Building - Still Important Structure in Bay Roberts
"Road to Yesterday" Museum

Most people who visit the "Road to Yesterday" Museum, which was developed and is operated by the Bay Roberts Heritage Society, are amazed at the quality of the artifacts and the displays. Although the focus of the Museum is the turn of the century mercantile history of the town, the Museum also contains displays about the early history of the town. Many artifacts were donated by the families of business owners.

Website for the Bay Roberts Heritage Society >>

"Miss Rebecca Greenland - Millinery and Elegant Attire" - One of a Number of Displays
Miss Rebecca Greenland - Milinery & Elegant Attire

The Christopher Pratt Gallery is acclimatized and is designed to display a permanent collection of art work, including works by Christopher Pratt. In addition, it hosts the works of well known local artists and visiting art collections. Christopher Pratt, perhaps Newfoundland and Labrador's most widely recognized visual artist, has roots in the town. Christine (Dawe) Pratt, his mother, was born in Bay Roberts.

Christopher Pratt Gallery - Perminent and Travelling Collections
Christopher Pratt Gallery

More photos from the Cable Building National Historic Site > >

Heritage Value from

The Cable Building was designated a national historic site of Canada in 2007 because: - it was an important keystone in transatlantic communications and in the development of the Western Union Telegraph Company network. Its construction represents the corporate entity that dominated the transatlantic telegraph industry from 1912 to the 1960s; - its design is a strong corporate symbol of the telecommunications giant and a direct affirmation of the impact of the telegraph industry in the 20th century. Moreover, its design introduced to Newfoundland a new type of telegraph station that was more functional and highly specialized in its layout; and, - it was a flagship of telegraph technologies, illustrating Western Union's important role as an innovative industry leader. In the late 19th century, Newfoundland became a major hub for the development of telecommunications networks as it offered the shortest route to link North America and Europe. In 1910, the first transatlantic cable for the Western Union Telegraph Company was landed in a temporary building in Bay Roberts.

By 1913, the current Cable Building in Bay Roberts was built to serve as the main relay between the North American and European networks of Western Union Telegraph. Its establishment was a key component in the company’s international strategy and its architectural design is important corporate evidence of the expansion and dominance of Western Union in Newfoundland. The design of the Cable Building also introduced a new type of telegraph station to Newfoundland as it adopted the Western Union Telegraph corporate model. The architecture demonstrates a functional and specialized layout with rooms dedicated to specific equipment, technical operations, and administration. From its technical design to the connecting cables, the Cable Building was a flagship of telegraph technologies, illustrating Western Union's important role as an innovative industry leader.