Description of Historic Place
The Stable Building is part of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) “N” Division complex, located at the foot of St. Laurent Boulevard in Ottawa. The long, two-storey building is a simply proportioned, flat roofed structure, clad in brick veneer and flanked by two low wings. Its front façade features a stepped roofline and central double doors. The stone door surround is decorated with two carved horse heads and the initials ‘RCMP’. Directly above, just below the roofline, is the RCMP crest carved in stone. The side doors have a weather vane featuring a silhouette of a mounted RCMP officer. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Stable Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Stable Building is associated with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. From its inception in 1873, the RCMP relied on the highly skilled riders of the force to carry out police business across the prairies. It is also intimately associated with the famous Musical Ride, performed across Canada and to the rest of the world. The Musical Ride is a display of precision horsemanship, including patterns such as “The Bridal Arch” and “The Dome”, set to music and consisting of thirty-three horses and their riders. The Stable Building also illustrates the concentration of government activities in the nation’s capital in the early years of the twentieth century, given the decision to move the RCMP Headquarters from Regina, Saskatchewan to Ottawa, Ontario in 1920.
The Stable Building is valued for its good aesthetic design. Designed in two component parts, its front façade provides no indication of the building’s function as a stable and appears similar to many office buildings of the 1930s with its stepped roofline, central double doors and window arrangement. In contrast, the functional nature of the building is indicated by the low wings that contain the horses’ stalls, its window arrangement and the side doors, which were designed to meet the needs of the horses and their riders. Further evidence of its good functional design is the interior steel frame that supports the large roof over the open arena space. Good craftsmanship is demonstrated in the building’s brick veneer cladding with plain decorative brickwork and the stone trim with carved details.
The Stable Building reinforces the character of its RCMP complex setting in Ottawa. It is a well-known building as a destination for visitors and residents, who are welcome to witness the dress rehearsals of the Musical Ride, and to enjoy the grounds which are adjacent to the Rockcliffe Parkway and city park lands.
Sources: Sally Coutts, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Stable “N” Division, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 84-052; Stable Building, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 84-052.
The following character-defining elements of the Stable Building should be respected.
Its good aesthetic, functional design, materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the stepped massing and simple proportions of the flat-roofed structure;
- the front façade with its stepped roofline and central double doors;
- the two, low wings that contain the horses’ stalls and continue the stepped effect;
- the balanced, recessed window arrangement of the front façade that follows the stepped roofline, including the three long narrow windows located immediately above the door, and the windows grouped in pairs separated by raised brick sections and divided by brick piers;
- the window arrangement of the wings, grouped in threes and divided by small pilasters capped in stone;
- the brick veneer cladding;
- the decorative brickwork and stone trim, including the stone door surround, carved with two horses’ heads and the initials RCMP, as well as the carved stone version of the RCMP crest;
- the RCMP weather vane that tops the parapet above each side door;
- the interior steel frame that supports the large roof over the open space of the central arena.
The manner in which the Stable Building reinforces the character of its RCMP complex setting in Ottawa and is well-known within the area, as evidenced by:
- its scale, design and materials which harmonize with the grouping of buildings that make up the large complex;
- its known role as the home for the horses of the Musical Ride and its accessibility to the public, which makes it a favourite destination for visitors and residents of Ottawa.