Old Ottawa bread factory, home to arts collective, in line for heritage designation

The old Standard Bread Company factory at 951 Gladstone Ave., current home of Enriched Bread Artists collective. City of Ottawa

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Heritage designation will help guide the restoration of the historic building as part of its integration into new mixed-use development site. Read more.

GLOBAL NEWS, By Beatrice Britneff

Members of the city’s built heritage subcommittee voted unanimously on Tuesday in favour of pursuing heritage designation for the former Standard Bread Company factory in Hintonburg and current home to Ottawa’s largest arts studio cooperative.

The property at 951 Gladstone Ave., just west of the O-Train tracks, is a three-storey building with a four-storey tower, purpose-built in 1924 for the bread company founded by Cecil Morrison and Dick Lamothe.

Linda Hoad of the Hintonburg Community Association – the group that first requested the heritage designation back in 2010 – described the industrial property as “a very important building in the community.”

The art studios it has housed for nearly 30 years are “one of the reasons that Hintonburg declared itself an arts district years ago,” Hoad told the subcommittee as she urged them to support the heritage application.

The bakery was converted to an artist’s co-op in 1992 and has been home to the Enriched Bread Artists collective since, according to a staff report about the property.

The Hintonburg Community Association asked the city to hold the heritage application mid-2010 “pending redevelopment plans for the site,” planning staff said.

The revived push for designation comes as the property owner, Trinity Development Group, is applying to build a mixed-use development with three high rises, between 30 and 40 storeys tall, connected to the future Gladstone light-rail station.

That proposed development plan “includes the retention and adaptive reuse of the Standard Bread Company Bakery” and the subcommittee heard the owner might remove the white paint from the red brick façade and restore the building’s parapet.

Staff support protecting the building under the Ontario Heritage Act because it’s a “good example of an early 20th century industrial building” and its design reflects its former use as a factory. In their report, planning staff highlighted the  “large flared mushroom columns [that] provide large open spaces in the interior.”

The building itself was designed by Sydney Comber, an architect known for his design of bakeries and dairy production facilities across Canada, providing added value, staff argued.

Trinity “does not object” to the heritage designation request for the old factory, according to planning staff.

Jeff Leiper, the councillor for the area, told Global News he “fully supports designating the building” but reserved further comment until he had combed through the details of the report. The community he represents has “been vocal for years” in favour of giving the property heritage status, the councillor added.

While the designation would be good news, Hoad said the community association remains “very concerned” that the artists currently using the space will be “forced to leave” as a result of the proposed development, which has yet to be considered by the city’s planning committee.

Hoad said the association plans to work with the city and the developer to retain the “affordable space” for artists – without whom, she argued, the building might have been subject to demolition or demolition by neglect.

“We owe those artists,” she said.

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