Description of Historic Place
The Maintenance Building is a modest building with a picturesque roof and walls of rough cut, irregularly coursed limestone. It stands in Major’s Hill Park, in site of Parliament Hill and the Ottawa River. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Maintenance Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Maintenance Building, erected as a potting house, is closely associated with the city beautification phase of the development of Ottawa’s first municipal park. The construction of the potting house accompanied turn-of-the-century renovations to an existing greenhouse, and the construction of a new conservatory, a two-storey summerhouse, and new fountains and walkways. These were built in accordance with plans developed by Public Works to enhance the attractiveness of the park. The building currently serves as a maintenance shed.
The Maintenance Building is valued for its very good aesthetic qualities. Its character resides primarily in the picturesque domestic forms and in the detailing which delineates these forms. The decision to use stone for the exterior walls and brick for interior partitions was made to ensure the cool temperatures and shaded conditions required for successful potting. The stone walls, built up in irregularly coursed, rough-cut limestone with corner quoins, and the basement and upper walls, which are separated by a plain dressed canted stone band, are indicative of the building’s very good quality craftsmanship.
The Maintenance Building is compatible with the picturesque character of its municipal park setting and is familiar to residents and those who visit the park.
Sources: Marilyn E. Armstrong-Reynolds, The Former Potting House (now Maintenance Building), Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 87-128; Maintenance Building (former Potting House), Major’s Hill Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 87-128.
The character-defining elements of the Maintenance Building should be respected.
Its very good aesthetic design, functional design and very good materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the modest, domestically scaled massing, the hip and cross gable roof, offset chimney and the attached one-storey garage;
- the stone walls, built up in irregularly coursed rough-cut limestone, and the basement and upper walls separated by a plain dressed canted stone band;
- the stone quoins at the corners, window jambs, lintels and sills, the rough-cut voussoirs and the stone front porch with iron railing;
- the two-over-two wood sash, the semi-elliptical window, and the front door;
- the brick interior partitions.
The manner in which the Maintenance Building reinforces the picturesque character of its municipal park setting and is familiar within the immediate area, as evidenced by:
- its picturesque domestic forms and elements of its design, which harmonize with its landscaped surroundings of Ottawa’s, Major’s Hill Park;
- its visibility, given its location in a park highly frequented by visitors and residents of the nation’s capital.