Heritage Ottawa Celebrates Launch of its Newest Book Publication


Tuesday, December 19, 2017


The latest book publication from Heritage Ottawa, titled From Walk-Up to High-Rise: Ottawa’s Historic Apartment Buildings, launched to a standing-room-only crowd on December 13.

Two contributors to the book, architectural historian Shannon Ricketts and professor Susan Ross, kept the audience at Dominion-Chalmers Church enthralled as they shared some of the fascinating stories covered in the newly released book on how apartment style living emerged and evolved in 20th century Ottawa. 

From Walk-Up to High-Rise is an illustrated guide featuring well-researched material that draws attention to the richness of Ottawa’s historic apartment building stock. Focusing on Centretown, Sandy Hill and Lowertown East, the book looks at the demographic and economic pressures that helped shape these new housing forms, the entrepreneurs and designers who created them, and the people who lived in them.

The 75 years covered by the book are divided into three periods: the turn of the 20th century to 1918, the years between the Wars, and the post-World War II period up to 1975.

Splendidly illustrated, From Walk-Up to High-Rise features more than 25 of some of Ottawa’s most interesting apartment buildings, beginning with examples of small three-storey “apartment houses.” Designed to integrate into established neighbourhoods, multi-unit buildings eventually gained respectability and by the 1920s and 1930s had evolved into “Grandes Dames” like The Strathcona, The Duncannon and The Mayfair. These impressive architecture-designed buildings reflected the increasing sophistication associated with apartment style living. The years following World War II saw the emergence of Ottawa’s first modernist high-rises epitomized by The Juliana and Park Square. These years also saw the construction of apartment buildings like the Friel Towers, a creative design built to meet social housing needs in the name of “urban renewal.”

Each featured apartment building includes information about its builder, architect, design and construction, with interesting insights into the economic and social context from which they emerged.

From Walk-Up to High-Rise also provides readers with maps locating each of the subject apartment buildings in their neighbourhood, as well as a list of references.

Hear Carolyn Quinn talking about the book and some of its featured buildings on CBC RADIO.



The book is available here on our website for $20, which includes FREE SHIPPING within Canada.

If you’d like to send the book as a gift, enter the recipient’s name and address in the "Shipping Information" during Checkout. (Free shipping still applies.)

You can also purchase the book by sending a cheque for $20 to Heritage Ottawa, 2 Daly Avenue, K1N 6E2. Please include your name, mailing address and phone number.

From Walk-Up to High-Rise is also available at Perfect Books on Elgin Street, Black Squirrel Books on Bank Street, and Books on Beechwood.


FROM WALK-UP TO HIGH-RISE: Ottawa’s Historic Apartment Buildings, edited by Carolyn Quinn. ISBN: 978-0-9682295-3-8; 80 pages with extensive colour photographs. Published by Heritage Ottawa, 2017.