Description of Historic Place
The Ottawa Electric Railway Company Steam Plant is situated on Victoria Island in the Ottawa River. The stepped massing of the Steam Plant is composed of a flat-roofed one-and two-storey block constructed of solid red brick. The building’s industrial character is accentuated by its tall multi-paned windows and simple masonry details, such as the stone sills, arched openings and the narrow corbelled cornice. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Ottawa Electric Railway Company (OER) Steam Plant is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The OER Steam Plant is closely associated with early 20th-century hydro-electric generation in Canada. The OER Steam Plant, which supplied auxiliary electric power for Ottawa’s streetcar system, is also closely associated with the industrial diversification of the area around the Chaudière Falls as well as the development of electric streetcar infrastructures.
The OER Steam Plant is valued for its good aesthetic design and also as the only extant example of a thermal electric generator at the Chaudière Falls. A good example of this industrial type, its two-tiered form and its fenestration pattern are characteristic of hydro-electric power generating facilities constructed during the early 20th century. The building’s simple and utilitarian masonry work, such as stone sills and arched openings are evidence of its good craftsmanship.
The OER Steam Plant reinforces the industrial character of its setting at the Chaudière Falls at Victoria Island and is a familiar building within the immediate area.
Sources: Edgar Tumak, Ottawa Electric Railway Company Steam Plant, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 90-294; Ottawa Electric Railway Company Steam Plant, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 90-294.
The following character-defining elements of the Ottawa Electric Railway Company (OER) Steam Plant should be respected.
The good aesthetic and functional design and good craftsmanship and materials, as for example:
-the stepped massing, which is composed of a one-storey and two-storey block with a small addition to the west;
-the two-tiered form and its fenestration pattern which are characteristic of hydro-electric power generating facilities constructed during the early 20th century;
-the plain brickwork with stone sills, segmetally-arched and flat-arched openings and a narrow corbelled cornice;
-the multi-pane pivot-operation sash windows;
-the interior planning with large unencumbered spaces.
The manner in which the OER Steam Plant reinforces the industrial character of its setting at the Chaudière Falls on Victoria Island and is a familiar landmark in the immediate area, as for example;
-its scale, massing, design and materials, which contribute to the varied silhouette of industrial buildings and to the landscape of dramatic geological formations and natural and manmade water courses that together characterize Victoria Island and the Chaudière Falls region as a whole;
-its familiarity to the local community, due to its location at one end of the Chaudière crossing, and its role as part of a group of heritage industrial buildings that remain on the island.