Rendering by architectsAlliance via City of Ottawa

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Originally published on May 25, 2019


Heritage Ottawa has reviewed the fifth ‘’official’’ proposal for an addition to the Château Laurier Hotel — a property designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, and a National Historic Site of Canada.

This latest design for the proposed addition is the proponent’s response to three conditions for approval ordered by City Council on June 27, 2018:

  • to increase the use of Indiana limestone to reduce its contrast and enhance its bond with the existing building;
  • to break up the uniformity of the north façade using elements and forms that are specifically drawn from and relate to the Château Laurier’s rich palette of forms; and
  • to alter the design for visual compatibility with the historic hotel, by referencing such elements as patterns, details and proportions of the Chateau Laurier.

Although the proponent has made an effort to tweak the previous design to meet the City’s conditions, Heritage Ottawa is still of the view that the design remains fundamentally unsympathetic and incompatible in form with the iconic hotel and its majestic setting.

Based on this failure to meet City Council’s conditions, Heritage Ottawa will be strongly appealing to the City to refuse this design and to rescind the conditional Heritage Permit issued last June.

Heritage Ottawa acknowledges and understands the need of the hotel owner to expand and modernize the Château Laurier in order to ensure its ongoing viability. There are many examples in Canada where this has been done successfully and harmoniously with the heritage values of an existing historic jewel – the Château Frontenac in Quebec City, the Manoir Richelieu in La Malbaie, the Banff Springs Hotel in Banff National Park, the Empress Hotel in Victoria, to name but a few examples.

Heritage Ottawa continues to call on the hotel owner and the architectural design team to embrace, rather than to pay lip service, to the heritage values of the Château Laurier and its important setting in our nation's capital.

The Château Laurier is a National Historic Site of Canada and one of Ottawa’s architectural gems. Public outcry remains strong. The City owes it to the people of Ottawa – and Canada – to demand a design which is sympathetic and compatible with the original building.


Read Heritage Ottawa's position statements for each of the 5 proposed design iterations:

1. HERITAGE OTTAWA | Statement of Sept 19, 2016

2. HERITAGE OTTAWA | Statement of November 27, 2016

3. HERITAGE OTTAWA | Statement of March 5, 2018

4. HERITAGE OTTAWA | Statement of June 3, 2018

5. HERITAGE OTTAWA | Statement of May 25, 2019