Controversial Chateau Laurier expansion not good enough, McKenna says

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, MP for Ottawa Centre and senior minister for Ottawa area. Photo: Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Friday, July 12, 2019

THE CANADIAN PRESS, By David Reevely

OTTAWA—Environment Minister Catherine McKenna wants the owners of the iconic Chateau Laurier by Parliament Hill to come up with another plan for an addition to the historic hotel even after Ottawa’s city council approved the controversial expansion.

McKenna is the Liberal MP for Ottawa Centre and the senior minister for the Ottawa area.

“We are building for the next 100 years and I believe there is still time for common sense to prevail and for the community and the private sector owner to come together to achieve an outcome in which everyone can take pride,” she said in a statement after a second city council vote in two days supported the expansion plan.

The national historic site sits across the Rideau Canal from Parliament Hill and is just outside McKenna’s riding. Although she is the minister for Parks Canada, which oversees historic properties, McKenna doesn’t have direct authority over the privately owned building.

Larco Investments, which owns the hotel, has worked on its plan for nearly four years and sent five versions of the design to Ottawa city hall in that time. The squarish addition, to hold nearly 150 rooms, is designed by Toronto-based firm architectsAlliance, which is known for its condominiums.

Heritage architecture principles say that a new addition to an old structure shouldn’t copy the existing building; the multiple designs the Chateau Laurier’s owners have submitted have all been distinctly modern, as a choice to live up to the rule with an addition that’s clearly of its own time.

 

CLICK HERE to read Minister McKenna's statement.