Description of Historic Place
Situated at Victoria Island in the Ottawa River and close to Chaudière Falls, the large Bronson Company Office is composed of a one-and-a-half storey, gable-roofed brick building of residential appearance and a one-storey, flat-roofed stone building. The gable-roofed section is distinguished by its arched wood windows, moulded cornice and prominent chimney. The attached flat-roofed section is distinguished by its coursed rubble masonry construction and features flat-arched windows. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Bronson Company Office is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Bronson Company Office is directly associated with both the forest products industry and the development of hydroelectricity in Ottawa. The Bronson family was one of the most prominent forest products and utility magnate dynasties in the Ottawa Valley. As the administrative focus of the families’ wide-ranging domain, the Bronson Company Office was an integral component of the highly diverse industrial operations at the Chaudière Falls. The building is also specifically associated with E.H. Bronson, whose activities as an industrialist and a provincial politician included forest conservation, diversification of the Chaudière industrial infrastructure, and attempts to create a private utilities monopoly in Ottawa. The building is also closely associated with the industrial development of the Chaudière Falls area.
The Bronson Company Office is valued for its good aesthetic design. The scale and form of the structure is characteristic of late 19th century residential architecture. Features such as a gabled roof, prominent chimney, moulded cornice, and arched wood windows contribute to the building’s domestic character. Its very good functional design is evidenced in the solid brick construction and other materials and elements that make it a fire-resistant building, such as the brick vaults, heavy steel doors and the diagonally-laid metal roof tiles. Further evidence of the building’s very good craftsmanship is seen in the masonry detailing around the windows and chimney and in the masonry construction of the attached addition.
The Bronson Company Office is compatible with the industrial character of its setting on Victoria Island and is a familiar building within the immediate area.
Edgar Tumak, Two Buildings, Bronson Company Office, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 90-225; Bronson Company Office, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 90-225.
The character-defining elements of the Bronson Company Office should be respected.
The good aesthetic and very good functional design and very good craftsmanship and materials, as for example;
-the one-and-a-half storey massing which consists of an L-shaped, gable-roofed structure with an adjacent stone warehouse and office annex, attached to the building by a small, enclosed connecting link;
-the solid brick construction of the superstructure erected on a coursed masonry foundation;
-the prominent chimney, moulded cornice and wood windows with segmental and semicircular heads;
-the masonry detailing including the stone sills, window hood moulds and voussoirs, and the elaborate corbelled chimney cap;
-the masonry detailing of the addition such as the voussoired flat-arches;
-the fire-resistant materials and elements such as the brick vaults, which dictate the floor plan on both levels, the heavy steel doors to the vaults and the diagonally-laid metal roof tiles;
-the interior elements, including the oak window and door surrounds, mantelpieces and high ceilings.
The manner in which the Bronson Company Office is compatible with 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;
-its familiarity to members and guests of the Ottawa-Hull Naval Association, as the location for their clubhouse.