Following a property standards inspection in February which revealed multiple violations, the City of Ottawa has issued orders to the owner of Barrymore's Music Hall. The property owner has 30 days to make certain interior repairs, and until April 30 to repair the exterior.
The exterior of the building, located at 323 Bank Street in the Centretown Heritage Conservation District (HCD), is protected under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act. The interior of the building is not protected by a heritage designation, but is protected by regular property standards bylaws.
Exterior violations reference the state of specific heritage attributes of the facade, including the brick, decorative cornice and frieze, stucco pilasters, plaster work and panels that are currently covered by boards.
Interior violations relate to the integrity of decorative moulding on the walls and ceiling, and cite numerous other issues including condition of the interior walls, missing handrails and improperly secured lighting and electrical components.
The orders also call for a structural engineer’s report on the integrity of the decorative moulding, as well as a conservation assessment of the exterior features, to be completed by a heritage conservation architect or other heritage professional.
Originally the Imperial Theatre, the landmark building first opened in 1914 as an elegant silent movie palace. It saw a variety of other uses over the years before opening as Barrymore’s in 1978. During the 1980s it played host to major acts including U2, Radiohead and REM.
The property owner has until March 22 to appeal the city's orders to comply.
Heritage Ottawa has spent years advocating against "demolition by neglect", a major issue in the preservation of heritage properties. The City of Ottawa passed a Property Standards By-Law in 2013 which includes specific protection for heritage properties suffering neglect. Heritage Ottawa will continue to advocated for the enforcement of this By-Law.
Barrymore's Nightclub Saga Calls Attention to Demolition by Neglect | Heritage Ottawa, Feb. 21, 2021