The Rich Architecture of Ottawa. This is Lin by the way. I could not bring myself to leave here and have a lot of great pictures and stories I hope you enjoy. Here are some for starters.
Over its 220 years Ottawa has been home to a variety of architectural styles in its government, religious and residential buildings. The most popular architectural attractions among tourists today were build after 1916, due to the fact that a large portion of Ottawa was lost in the fire of 1900, and then again in the fire of 1916 when most of the Parliament buildings were destroyed.
Today’s Parliament Hill is a popular tourist attraction, and features beautiful examples of gothic revival architecture – copper topped turrets, granite stonework , gargoyles, grotesques, friezes etc. Peace Tower, also known as the Tower of Victory and Peace, is one of the most popular tourist attractions on Parliament Hill (my office is just a few blocks from here). With free elevator rides to the top, it was the city’s highest structure until 1965, when laws limiting new construction to 149 feet were lifted. Up until then the city wanted Peace Tower to dominate the skyline. Today, even with the laws lifted, few buildings in Ottawa stand taller than Peace Tower.
The Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica is another popular destination for tourists interested in the architectural history of Ottawa. One of the largest and oldest Roman Catholic churches in Canada, the Cathedral features both neo-classical and neo-gothic architecture. The lower section of the Cathedral features neo-classical design, but in 1844 the Oblate Fathers took over stewardship of the parish, and Father Pierre-Adrien Telmon was appointed to finish the construction. It was Father Telmon who decided to change the Cathedral’s design to neo-gothic, leading to the upper portions of the Cathedral featuring a different style than the lower portions. The Cathedral features beautiful examples of both styles, including twin gothic spires, copper covered steeples, rich paintings, hand carved wooden sculptures and stained glass. Services are held in French and English, and guided tours are available at this National Historic Site of Canada.
Near both Parliament Hill and the Cathedral is the Château Laurier. This historic railway hotel was built in the French renaissance style with neo-gothic accents. Featuring conical turrets, carved gables and a steep, copper covered roof , the château opened in June of 1912 and has remained in operation ever since. Château Laurier was the vision of American born railroad magnate Charles Melville Hays, president of the Grand Trunk Railway. Hays hired Canadian architectural firm Ross and Macfarlane to design and build Château Laurier; the final cost of the château was over $2 million, which translates to nearly $50 million today. Sadly, Hays never got to see his hotel opened. After helping the women in his party onto lifeboats, including his wife and daughter, Hays, along with his son-in-law, perished when the ship they were on eventually sank – the RMS Titanic.
An excellent tutorial on the history of Ottawa Architecture can be found here.
To take a step back from the spectacular to the more mundane, Ottawa has a huge collection of smaller office spaces, including the one I am in. I think it is so cool that there is such a variety of shapes and styles, each with its own pros, cons, and character.
I am so proud of our office space that I can’t help but share a couple pics and stories! This is our building. We had another space north of town, but that was too far outside the city limits where city water and sewer was not even available. In fact they had a well and three septic systems serving the 6-office building. This was adequate but the septic would back up from time to time. We complained but the landlord was very new to owning and had no idea what to do. I called Carla but she was no help and suggested I call Bob. Called him and as luck would have it, he was good friends with a guy who owns a septic pumping and repair service in Richmond, Va. I put him in touch with the landlord and he was able to provide him with enough knowledge to enable him to ask the right questions and find a good septic service here in Ottawa.
Anyway, we moved here from there after a year and have never been happier. We have only 4 employees so did not heed a very big space, and money was definitely a concern, so we would up getting this perfect space.
It is very open, but big enough were we are each afforded enough privacy to talk on the phone and get our work done. It has three separate small offices and this open space, perfect for us. Sorry I just had to show you this. It is my pride and joy!