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Marshall Building

14 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1989/01/19

General view of the Marshall Building, showing the front façade, 1988.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, M. Phemister, 1988.
Front façade
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1881/01/01 to 1882/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/04/03

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Marshall Building is an elegant structure located on Metcalfe Street, in the core of the Ottawa’s historic business district. The four-storey building is a commercial office block of red brick and terracotta in the Italianate-Romanesque Style. The building’s highly ornamented principal façade features multi-coloured brick and a decorative cornice. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Marshall Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value:
The Marshall Building is a good example of late-nineteenth century speculative construction. Although not owned by a bank nor designed to be a bank, it is associated with the banking industry and the development of ‘Upper Town’ as the commercial and financial centre of Ottawa. This is due to its location on Banker's Row and its several early banking tenants - first the Union Bank of Lower Canada then Molson's Bank - and later ownership by the Bank of Montreal.

Architectural Value:
The Marshall Building is valued for its very good aesthetics. An example of a late nineteenth century commercial building which frequently explored Italianate or Romanesque Revival styles because of their suitability and adaptability for mercantile activities. Good functional design is evidenced in the load-bearing masonry walls. Very good materials and craftsmanship are seen in the high quality exterior brickwork, terracotta and sheet metal.

Environmental Value:
The Marshall Building reinforces the historic character of Ottawa’s central financial district and is a familiar landmark to local residents, people working in the vicinity and pedestrians.

Sources: Martha Phemister, The Marshall Building (former Molson’s Bank Chambers), 14 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Buildings Review Office, Report 88-047; Marshall Building, 14 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 88-047.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Marshall Building should be respected.

Its very good aesthetics, functional design, and very good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the four-storey massing;
-the construction consisting of load bearing masonry walls, enclosing a frame of cast-iron columns and timber beams;
-the principal elevation with wide monumental arches, entry portals, rounded arches and gables;
-the Gothic Revival details including flower motifs and decorative plaques;
-the Italianate multi-coloured brick voussoirs, label mouldings and keystones.

The manner in which the Marshall Building reinforces the character of the historic financial centre of Ottawa and is a familiar local landmark as evidenced by:
-its scale, design and materials that maintain a visual and physical relationship between the surrounding buildings and the Metcalfe Street streetscape;
-its highly decorative main façade that makes it familiar to visitors, passing pedestrians, and local residents.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building

Architect / Designer

William Hodgson



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




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