Ottawa Heritage Awards Recognize Outstanding Preservation Efforts

Photos: City of Ottawa / D. Jones  / Parsons Corp. (Minto Bridges)

Saturday, February 23, 2019


Excellence in preservation of Ottawa's architectural heritage was recognized at last week's 2019 Ottawa Heritage Awards, held at the University of Ottawa's Alex Trebek Alumni Hall.

The biennial awards ceremony, formerly known as the Architectural Conservation Awards, is hosted by the City of Ottawa and includes categories for Restoration, Adaptive Re-use, and Additions to heritage buildings. Winners are chosen by an independant jury of heritage experts which this year included Julie Dompierre, Danielle Jones and Mary MacDonald.

“The beautifully preserved properties honoured by the Ottawa Heritage Awards encourage us to further invest in the preservation of our city’s architectural heritage" said Mayor Jim Watson. "By recognizing these incredible achievements in restoration and conservation, we celebrate our history and acknowledge its impact on how we build our future.”

This year's winning projects are:

Awards of Excellence

1. The Senate of Canada Building, 2 Rideau Street (Adaptive Re-use, Government)

This stunning transformation of the Government Conference Centre returns key heritage features of the former Union Station building to their original Beaux-Arts splendour, while introducing contemporary and reversible updates appropriate to the building’s new use. Revelation and restoration of the original vaulted ceiling and multi-paned windows creates a dramatic counterpoint to the enclosed committee rooms and Senate Chamber. Design of the newly completed east facade respects the historic structure while evidencing that with sensitive consideration, heritage buildings can be successfully updated with modern elements.

2. Flora Hall Brewing, 37 Flora Street (Adaptive Re-use, Non-Government)

The transformation of this derelict industrial heritage building to a vibrant gathering place is an excellent example of adaptive reuse.  Retention of the building’s original massing and fenestration, combined with restoration of original architectural elements including the roof truss structure, glass block windows and wood plank floors, blends cohesively with new interior elements custom-fabricated with respect for the original structure’s industrial roots. The building retains its original character, demonstrating that with vision, heritage buildings can be successfully restored and repurposed for imaginative new uses.

3. Centre Block Ventilation Towers (Restoration, Government)

This well-considered restoration involved considerable technical analysis in its successful determination of how best to resolve significant structural stability issues in a heritage sensitive manner. Engineering solutions and extensive masonry work were balanced by retention of original materials and minimal intervention wherever possible.  Traditional cleaning methods were carefully controlled to retain an appropriate degree of exterior patina, resulting in a nearly imperceptible restoration of these important architectural elements with heritage character intact.

4. National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin Street (Addition, Government)

The glass curtain wall additions create inviting new public spaces and improve connectivity between the National Arts Centre and its urban environment, while maintaining a respect for the building’s original Brutalist facade. Contemporary elements including perforated bronze fins, wood-coffered ceilings and marble floor tiles express triangular geometries characteristic of the original heritage structure, enhancing cohesion between old and new. Dramatic new views of Parliament Hill and Confederation Square from new spaces on the second level further enhance the NAC’s connection to its dramatic site.

5. Minto Bridges, Rideau River south of Sussex Drive (Restoration, Other, Government)

The outstanding restoration of the Minto Bridges combined engineering and other technical  considerations with sensitive attention to detail, preserving this beloved historic landmark with heritage character intact.

Awards of Merit

1. Dairy Building at Rideau Hall (Adaptive Re-use, Government)

Preservation, restoration, and reuse of original materials to the maximum extent possible, selective replication of elements based on historic evidence, and sensitive attention to detail— along with a return to historic colours based on original evidence—all demonstrate respect for the continued integrity of this building’s original 1895 design as a Dairy Building for the Rideau Hall estate. Thanks to this well-considered project, a distinctive heritage structure lives on to serve a delightful new purpose while becoming accessible to the public as a winter pavilion, sited next to the Rideau Hall skating rink.

2. The Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards, 7 Bayview Road (Adaptive Re-use, Government)

The transformation of this 1940s “industrial modern” building to a technology hub for 21st century entrepreneurs celebrates Ottawa’s legacy of innovation.  Preservation of the original structure and key heritage elements including the “City of Ottawa Workshops” name on the front facade, select multi-paned windows, and wooden service bay doors evidence the building’s industrial roots while integrating with contemporary elements of the rejuvenated interior.

3. Canada's Four Corners Building, 93 Sparks Street at Metcalfe (Restoration, Government)

Considerable challenges resulting from delayed maintenance were addressed in the restoration of this historic facade. Preservation and restoration of original elements of the building, completed in 1871 in the Second Empire style, combined with replacements in kind, preserves a valuable element of the streetscape’s history and heritage character, providing a tangible reminder of its historic origins of Sparks Street as a commercial district.

4. Churchill Seniors Centre, 342 Richmond Road (Restoration, Government)

Meticulous attention to detail was demonstrated in the restoration of this 1986 stone structure, originally the Nepean Town Hall. Repointing of exterior stone walls with appropriate lime-based mortar, replacement of 21 hand-carved stone window sills, and extensive replacement of damaged or deteriorated stone showcase heritage masonry at its finest.  This project preserves a local heritage structure which continues to make a valued contribution to the community.

5. National War Memorial, Confederation Square, Wellington and Elgin Streets (Other, Rehabilitation)

Since its unveiling in 1939, the National War Memorial has come to symbolize the sacrifice of all Canadians who have served Canada in times of war. This project included restoration of granite stone work of the monument's Cenotaph, cleaning and rehabilitation of all bronze elements including the sculpted figures atop the monument, and structural reinforcement of the podium. Detailed heritage preservation and restoration work, performed in balance with structural and accessibility upgrades, restores this highly significant memorial to its original splendour, securing the future use of its site for all.

Community Heritage Award

The Community Heritage Award recognizes an individual or group which has demonstrated a positive impact on heritage conservation in Ottawa. This year's award was presented to the Lowertown Community Association Heritage Committee. Longtime heritage activists and former co-chairs Liz MacKenzie and Nancy Miller-Chenier accepted the award, along with new incoming chair Andrew Waldron.

The awards ceremony also recognized recently designated properties and two new Heritage Conservation Districts:

  • Macdonald Gardens Park, 99 Cobourg Street
  • Ottawa Rowing Club, 8-10 Lady Grey Drive
  •  Cobble Cottage, 420 Kenwood Avenue
  • Russell Avenue-Range Road Heritage Conservation District
  • Besserer-Wurtemburg Heritage Conservation District

Councillor Glen Gower, Chair of the Built Heritage Sub-Committee, commented that "These awards underline the need to actively and continuously protect and enhance Ottawa’s historic buildings and structures."

Congratulations to all the winners and participants!

CLICK HERE for a list of the winning architects, suppliers and contributors for each Award of Excellence and Award of Merit.

CLICK HERE for photos of the winning entries and more information on the City of Ottawa website.