Description of Historic Place
The New Edinburgh Heritage Conservation District is located east of Ottawa's downtown along the Rideau River, bounded by Sussex, MacKay, Dufferin and Stanley. Initial plans for New Edinburgh were conceived in 1832, but the bulk of development occurred from the 1870s until 1914. Aided by the growth of milling operations at the adjacent Rideau Falls, New Edinburgh quickly took root as a thriving community. Today, New Edinburgh displays a variety of architectural styles and building types that form streetscapes of diversity and visual appeal.
The New Edinburgh Heritage Conservation District as been recognized under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act by the City of Ottawa Bylaw 2001-44.
The heritage value of New Edinburgh lies in its historical associations with the development and evolution of Ottawa. It is also valuable in terms of its unique architectural character.
Thomas McKay initially conceived plans for the village of New Edinburgh, located near the Rideau Falls, in 1832. Aided by the growth of his milling operations at the adjacent Rideau Falls, New Edinburgh quickly took root as a thriving community complete with local employment and a commercial sector selling a wide range of goods and services. Further stimulus for growth came in the latter half of the nineteenth century with the introduction of an efficient public transit system and the choice of nearby Rideau Hall for the residence of the Governor General. New Edinburgh was officially incorporated as a village in 1867. Today, New Edinburgh remains a residential community, home predominantly to government and business workers.
New Edinburgh possesses a rich diversity of architectural styles and building types. Houses of varying ages and styles successfully coexist, creating streetscapes with strong visual appeal. Examples from each period of New Edinburgh's development still exist. The most common residential building type is single family, but there are also examples of double residences, two- to five-row houses, and small-scale apartment buildings. Houses constructed during the early part of New Edinburgh's initial settlement were generally wood or stone, reflective of the skills and building practices of the early settlers. Until the mid-1800s, homeowners favoured the use of stone or brick over wood, which denoted a lesser status. But with the mills located close by, lumber became the material of choice.
In the latter half of the 1800s, one-and-one-half storey, front-gabled, wood-sheathed single-family dwellings were erected en masse on narrow lots in the southern section of the community. These houses can almost be called “New Edinburgh vernacular” as there are so many of them. Architecturally, the houses bear witness to the availability of decorative wood elements produced by machines at the nearby sawmills. The mills offered a variety of decorative bargeboards, brackets, turned balustrades and other design elements. By the latter half of this period, builders introduced flat-roof construction to New Edinburgh. Flat-roof construction is seen in numerous row houses and Italianate-inspired single and double residences in the community.
From the early-to-mid 1900s, continued population growth in the area required new approaches to residential land use, resulting in the replacement of many smaller residences by duplexes, or the conversion of single-family homes into double residences. The simplified and formal composition of the Edwardian style is evident in construction dating from this period. Where homes of the previous period had incorporated curvilinear elements, Edwardian styles employed rectilinear features such as square posts and balusters. Rectangular openings with simple lintels and sills replaced the arched windows and hooded mouldings of the Victorian period.
Today, New Edinburgh displays a variety of architectural styles and building types that form streetscapes of diversity and visual appeal. Examples from each period of New Edinburgh's development remain, helping to provide a clear understanding of the neighbourhood's evolution and significance.
Source: New Edinburgh Heritage Conservation District Study
City of Ottawa
Key elements that contribute to the heritage value of the New Edinburgh Heritage Conservation district include:
-intact streetscapes of low scale, residential development
-the diverse, visually appealing streetscapes containing buildings built in a variety of architectural styles and expressions
-the large amount of one and one-and-a-half-storey front gabled single family homes which dominate the neighbourhood
-the decorative wood bargeboards, brackets, turned balustrades and other design elements on many buildings that were made at the local mills and bear witness to the importance of the local mills to the community
-its development and character as a village separate from the city of Ottawa until its annexation in 1887.
-the neighbourhoods' associations with the federal government, particularly the Governor General whose residence is located at Rideau Hall
-its associations with early milling operations and other industrial activities in Ottawa in the nineteenth century