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419-423 Sussex Drive

419-423 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1983/07/12

Corner view of the 419-423 Sussex Drive, showing the main façade, 1983.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, E. Moxley, 1983.
Main façade
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Other Name(s)

419-423 Sussex Drive
Robinson Fashion House
Maison de la mode Robinson
Superior Upholstery
Superior Upholstery

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/04/24

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The 419-423 Sussex Drive located in downtown Ottawa, also known as the Superior Upholstery or Robinson Fashion House, is a handsome, three-storey commercial building with Italianate detailing. Constructed in brick it is seven bays wide and features large round-headed windows above and large shop windows at street level. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The 419-423 Sussex Drive is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value:
The 419-423 Sussex Drive is a good example of a building associated with the commercial development of Ottawa in the late 19th century. After a brief initial period as a hotel, commercial tenants occupied the building’s ground floor. The building suffered a serious fire in 1920 which resulted in the removal of the fourth storey and cornice. The National Council Commission used the remaining portion of the building for commercial purposes until its expropriation in 1963. The Commission maintained the commercial tenancy and undertook a rehabilitation of the street façade.

Architectural Value:
The 419-423 Sussex Drive is valued for its good aesthetics. This now truncated, three-storey commercial structure is a stylistically harmonious, if unassuming, component of the contemporary Sussex Drive streetscape. Good functional design is evidenced in the ground floor configuration that accommodates commercial activity. Very good craftsmanship is seen in the brickwork and the stone arcading. The building is one of two surviving structures on the block that marked the northern extremity of the Sussex Drive commercial district.

Environmental Value:
The 419-423 Sussex Drive reinforces the historic/commercial character of its streetscape setting in downtown Ottawa. It is a familiar local landmark to local residents, and pedestrians.

Sources: Ivan J. Saunders, 419 23 Sussex Drive, 425- 431 Sussex Drive, and 7 Murrat Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Buildings Review Office, Reports 83-018, 19, 20; The Superior Upholstery Building, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 83-018.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the 419-423 Sussex Drive should be respected.

Its good aesthetic design, functional design and quality craftsmanship, for example:
-the three-storey massing of the symmetrical façade;
-the exterior walls of red brick with yellow brick and stone detailing;
-the division of the façade into decorative piers and belting in contrasting yellow brick, stone arcading and large round-headed shop windows on the ground floor;
-the segmentally-arched windows with hooded stone voussoirs on the second storey;
-the interior spatial arrangement of the principal interior spaces.

The manner in which the 419-423 Sussex Drive reinforces the historic and commercial character of its streetscape setting in Ottawa and is a familiar landmark as evidenced by:
-its scale, design and materials that maintain a visual and physical relationship with the adjacent commercial buildings and complement the Sussex Drive streetscape;
-its familiarity to visitors due to its size and location near the National Gallery of Canada and Notre Dame Basilica.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date

1983/07/12

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

2331

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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