Description of Historic Place
The Toller House at 229 Chapel Street, is a two-and-a-half storey brick residence located within Sandy Hill, a neighbourhood east of Ottawa's downtown. Situated on a large corner lot at Chapel Street and Daly Avenue, the Toller House is surrounded by large trees that adorn this established residential neighbourhood.
The Toller House was designated for its cultural heritage value under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, by the City of Ottawa Bylaw 73-82.
Built in 1875, this Gothic Revival residence is exemplary of the affluent single family homes built in the developing neighbourhood of Sandy Hill, during the late nineteenth century.
The Toller House was designed by Henry Horsey and John Sheard, architects of the original Ottawa City Hall and other notable buildings in Ottawa. This residence is an example of the Picturesque Gothic Revival, a style popular during the mid to late nineteenth century, for affluent families. The Gothic Revival style was a Victorian reaction to the organized and symmetrical plans of the classically inspired Georgian style which was popular a generation earlier in Canada. The Toller house's large asymmetrical plan, steeply pitched roof and decoration are all features of this Victorian style. Its irregular silhouette and setback recall the picturesque tradition which was also borrowed from England and popularized during the Victorian era.
Several prominent members of the Ottawa community have been associated with the Toller House. The house was constructed for J.H. Plummer, Ottawa manager of the Bank of Commerce, which was founded a decade earlier. For a brief period, the house was occupied by Supreme Court Justice Telesphore Fournier. A few years before moving to the Toller House, as a Member of Parliament, Fournier tabled the bill that would create the Supreme Court. He was one of the first Justices appointed after the creation of the Supreme Court in 1875, the same year the Toller House was constructed.
The house was subsequently sold to Frederick Toller, comptroller of Dominion Currency. Toller and his family occupied the residence for over 30 years and the extensive grounds were the site for numerous weddings and family gatherings. The residence subsequently passed through the hands of the Honourable Louis Philippe Brodeur, former Speaker of the House of Commons and responsible for introducing legislation which created the Canadian Navy. During his residency at the Toller house, Honourable Brodeur was a Supreme Court Justice and was later appointed the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec.
The Toller house is located within Sandy Hill and was constructed during the first phase of large scale development in the area. At the time, the community was becoming a popular suburban development farea for members of the upper middle class. Its location on the corner lot, with original set back and yard intact, confirms the prominence of this particular residence within the neighbourhood.
Sources: City of Ottawa Heritage file: PD002 – OHD4300 (229 Chapel); City of Ottawa By-law 73-82.
Character defining elements that illustrate the cultural heritage value of the Toller House include its:
- large irregular plan
- steeply pitched truncated roof
- pointed and rounded windows with elaborately carved stone arches and bracketed sills
- front leaded-glass double doors with carved stone arch
- bracketed eaves
- ornate three sided bay window on the north façade
- prominent location on a corner lot with a large yard