Home / Accueil

First Avenue Public School

73, First Avenue, Ottawa, City of, Ontario, K1S, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1999/01/01

elevation of First Avenue Public School; RHI 2006
First Avenue Public School
view of First Avenue Public School; RHI 2006
First Avenue Public School
No Image

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/10/16

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

First Avenue Public School, located between Bank Street and O'Connor Street at 73 First Avenue, is a three-storey, flat-roofed, red brick structure. The building was completed in 1898 and reflects design elements associated with late 19th century urban school architecture and the Richardsonian Romanesque style. The building is situated in the heart of the Glebe neighbourhood and is still an elementary school.

First Avenue Public School is recognized by the City of Ottawa for its heritage value in By-law 49-99.

Heritage Value

The First Avenue Public School is associated with architects E.L Horwood and W.B. Garvock and with Ottawa's late nineteenth century growth and development. First Avenue Public School was built in 1898 and designed by E.L. Horwood, who also designed several other public schools during this time period. In addition, he designed the Carnegie Library, the Traflagar Building, a number of schools in southern Ontario, most notably the Hamilton Central School, and he designed additions to Lisgar Collegiate in Ottawa. E.L. Horwood served briefly as Chief Dominion Architect during the First World War.

Additions were made to First Avenue Public School in 1907, by architect W.B. Garvock, who designed a number of schools in the Ottawa area, during the early 20th century, including Crichton Street Public School, Hopewell Public School, Connaught Public School, and Devonshire Public Schools.

The First Avenue Public School building reflects a time when Ottawa's population was growing very rapidly, as evidenced by the Ottawa Public School Board constructing seven elementary schools, during the 1890s. First Avenue Public School remains one of the three surviving schools built during this period.

An important hallmark in the development of the Glebe neighbourhood, in the late nineteenth century, the construction of a third floor and gymnasium, in 1907, demonstrates the rapid expansion of the Glebe. The school is a visual reminder of early twentieth century growth and prosperity in the City, when schools were a source of considerable civic pride and served as symbols of Ottawa's prosperity.

First Avenue Public School's design continues to be compatible with the late 19th and early 20th century character of the surrounding neighbourhood. The building stands as a prominent landmark in the Glebe neighbourhood.

First Avenue Public School is a good example of late 19th century urban school architecture and also features elements associated with the Richardsonian Romanesque style. This variation of the Romanesque revival style was popular in North America in the closing decades of the 19th century.

Sources: City of Ottawa Bylaw 49-99; Ottawa: A Guide to Heritage Structures, City of Ottawa (2000); City of Ottawa File PD071-OHD4300/FIRS 00073.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of the First Avenue Public School include its:
- rusticated, rough-cut stone foundation
- brick coursing above and below the stone stringcourse
- windows, sills and heavy stone lintels
- three-storey frontispiece on the south façade with a centrally placed round-arch entrance and recessed door
- elaborate terracotta imposts and brick vouissors on the entrance
- terra cotta keystone with a carved date on the south façade
- symmetrical composition of the façade
- elaborate metal cornice
- proximity to residential dwellings which reflect late 19th and early 20th century architectural styles
- relative massive scale in comparison to surrounding residential dwellings reflecting its prominence and landmark status




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type



Primary or Secondary School

Architect / Designer

E.L. Horwood



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Ottawa 110 Laurier Avenue West Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places