Latest Château Laurier design pleases heritage group, mayor

New design for proposed Château Laurier addition: Larco

Thursday, August 13, 2020

CBC OTTAWA

Both Heritage Ottawa and Mayor Jim Watson say they're pleased with the latest design for an expansion of the city's iconic Château Laurier hotel.

According to Heritage Ottawa, the "dramatically altered" design represents a "ground-breaking change" that "will see an end to the widely vilified horizontal bar-shaped structure that blocked the rear view of the historic hotel."

The new design features two pavilions with a low-rise connector, which the heritage group said is "more compatible with the irregular silhouette of the original hotel," and improves views of the building from Major's Hill Park and the Rideau Canal.

Heritage Ottawa also approves of the use of Indiana limestone cladding, as well as copper and bronze elements that reflect "the heritage character-defining elements of the historic hotel."

Larco Investments, which bought the hotel in 2014, submitted the first expansion proposal two years later. It and several subsequent attempts were roundly criticized by the public, politicians and heritage experts alike.

In September 2019, Ottawa's committee of adjustment turned down parts of the design that city council had voted to allow.

In a statement Thursday, Heritage Ottawa commended both Larco and the ordinary citizens who demanded a better design.

"This ground-breaking change of course was made possible by the citizens of Ottawa and by Canadians from across the country who, responding to the absence of government action, joined Heritage Ottawa in its fight to find a better outcome for this beloved National Historic Site."

Mayor Jim Watson also signalled his approval on Thursday.

Watson did not provide a timeline for that decision.

In a separate statement Thursday, Larco confirmed it had settled its dispute with Heritage Ottawa before the province's Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, and said it will now begin talks with the National Capital Commission about the project.