Description of Historic Place
The Residence, also known as 9 Rideau Gate, is a red brick building located on a short street near the entrance to the Governor-General’s residence. It is an integral part of a cluster of important private residences of formal aspect in an exclusive area of Ottawa. Two-and-a-half storeys high, the building’s style is predominantly Georgian Revival. It has a hipped-gable roof, regularly placed windows and an entrance under a columned portico. Tudor Revival additions include an overhanging window bay and half-timbered panels. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Residence is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Residence is associated with the development and transformation of Ottawa from a commercial centre into a government town. The Residence was constructed as a retirement home for A.C. Kains, a Canadian banker. A later occupant was G. Hamilton Southam, a journalist, diplomat, business owner and arts supporter for whom Southam Hall at the National Arts Centre is named. The building’s conversion from a private residence into a residence for government and diplomatic officials, illustrates the changing demographic pattern of the immediate residential area around Rideau Hall. Here, many houses originally built for prominent Ottawa businessmen and senior government officials in the late -19th and early 20th centuries, have been converted to official residences. The National Capital Commission uses the Residence as an official guest house.
The Residence is valued for its good aesthetics and shows the influence of the Georgian Revival style. In contrast, later additions to the structure are modelled on Tudor Revival motifs. In keeping with Georgian Revival residential architecture, the Residence is based on the ‘butterfly plan’, an uncommon configuration for the interior spaces, where three wings radiate out from a central core, that achieved modest popularity during the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Good craftsmanship can be seen in the slate roof and in the ornamental exterior woodwork.
The Residence reinforces the formal character of its official setting adjacent to the Governor-General’s residence and opposite the official residence of the Prime Minister of Canada. It is also known to visitors, local inhabitants and to those using Sussex Drive.
Sources: Leslie Maitland, 9 Rideau Gate, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 99-034; 9 Rideau Gate, Seven Rideau Gate, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 99-034.
The following character-defining elements of the Residence should be respected.
Its good aesthetics, functional design, and very good craftsmanship, for example:
-its Georgian Revival elements, including the placement of window and door openings, the sidelights and elliptical transom of the front door, the tapered columns and gabled portico of the main entrance, and the large, dentilled cornice in the end gable;
-the butterfly plan of the house;
-the slate roof, copper downspouts and exterior ornamental woodwork, all serving as expressions of the solidity that marks the best examples Georgian Revival architecture and as testaments to the quality of the building’s craftsmanship and materials.
The manner in which the Residence reinforces the formal character of the official setting that contains official residences and governmental buildings, and is a familiar landmark as evidenced by:
-the scale and domestic character style of the Residence at 9 Rideau Gate, which complement the mid-19th century properties on the street;
-its location adjacent to the Governor-General’s official residence, opposite the Prime Minister’s official residence on Sussex Drive and close to the Ottawa River, which makes it a familiar local landmark.