The Saint-Joachim presbytery, with its principal vocation being to house the priest, has always been in its present location. Luckier than the place of worship attached to it, the presbytery has only one ancestor. Even if the present presbytery partly dates back only to 1848, another stone presbytery that was built in 1705 was used to celebrate marriages before the construction of Pointe-Claire's first church (1713). In addition were stables, a shed and various wooden buildings.
Demolished in 1848, to be replaced immediately after with a more spacious and functional building, the presbytery has had many modifications throughout its existence. Photographic evidence from the period shows us a stone Quebec-style house built in the neoclassical style, with a large porch sheltered by wide eaves. By the early 1890's, the building was beginning to show signs of deterioration: the roof was leaking and the inside was cold. Only the most urgent problems were attended to due to lack of funds. However, the Fabrique was nursing more ambitious plans to add another story and entirely refurbish the interior.
It isn't until 1912 that an architect is officially mandated to undertake the important renovations that will give the presbytery the appearance it has today. Mr. Théodose Daoust drew up the plans for the new presbytery. Other times, other ways: the addition of the second story is inspired by the Second Empire style. The Mansard-roof is added and the dormer-windows are brought up with pyramidal ornamentation. The numerous additions and modifications to the presbytery are eclectic, giving it aspects of a small castle. Yet the whole preserves a certain harmony reinforced by the use of symmetry, a legacy from the original building from 1848. Renovations done in 1954 did away with the architectural details of the cornice mouldings, the cast iron cresting and other elements, but the essence of the architecture survived.
Context within the history of Quebec architecture
The presbytery is not based on a specific model within the religious architectural realm. Instead it is based on popular large residences from the architectural canon of the period. The 1848 presbytery takes its inspiration from the Québécois model: stone walls joined by mortar, a porch-gallery and a gambrel cedar shingle roof with four dormer windows. A wooden fence surrounds the whole of the property.
The architectural workmanship of the new presbytery designed by Theodore Daoust in 1913 is most extravagant. Inspired by residences built in the Second Empire style, the architect adorns it with architectural details uncommon for this type of building: primarily the details of the second storey addition: the walls were tiled with slate and the mansard roof with matching dormers.
Saint-Joachim presbytery characteristics
Renovation of the masonry
Most of the masonry of the 1848 building was preserved. However, the side walls were coated with cement, rough stone was added to match the look of the facade.
Wrap around porch
With regards to the 1848 front church porch, Theodore Daoust replaced it with a porch with columns with ionic chapters surrounding the building on three sides.
Significant second story
The main remodeling to the 1848 presbytery was the addition of a new storey and mansard. In the middle of the facade, the architect designed a balcony with a pyramid-shaped roof where looms a finial The walls of this addition are covered with slate and the cornice of the mansard originally had moldings.
Following the example of Second Empire style buildings, the renovation of the presbytery is the distinguishing element of the building. A mansard roof with ridge tiles - the ornamental fence has since disappeared- and three projections on the east side (the mansard roof has three recesses following the wall) The lower slant of the mansard roof is tiled with slate.
Pyramid-shaped dormer windows crowned with a pinnacle and prolonged with a finial jut out of the mansard roof- such as is found in the architecture of French chateaux.
An original vestry house
Saint Joachim presbytery testified to a unique evolution of a building constructed in the style of Québécois traditional architecture to become a vestry most eclectic. Remodeled in 1913 by Theodore Daoust, the blending of styles, Second Empire and Chateau, makes for a most original parish presbytery on the island of Montreal.