Description of Historic Place
Located in downtown Ottawa, the Commercial Building is a large, three-and-a-half-storey, cut-stone and brick building with a mansard roof. Regularly spaced windows pierce the smooth stonework of the upper floors and are matched by gabled dormers in the roof. Stone piers and three large shop windows separated by doorways, distinguish the ground floor. The shorter Clarence Street elevation includes a shop window and door separated by an expanse of wall. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Commercial Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Commercial Building is associated with the commercial development of Ottawa in the mid-19th century. It is a rare survivor from the early period in the development of Sussex Drive. It may be the oldest commercial building extant on this important thoroughfare. It illustrates the large scale that speculative mixed commercial and residential buildings could achieve at this early pre-incorporation date.
The Commercial Building is valued for its very good aesthetics. It possesses the fine-cut stonework that marks the most important buildings along the east side of Sussex, including the Notre Dame Basilica and the Lasalle Academy. This element establishes an important connection with some of Ottawa’s most significant early architecture and reflects the owner’s concept of the building’s stature. The building’s good functional design is seen in the combination of commercial activity on the ground floor and residential space above. The design is notable for its scale, formal, regular openings and good craftsmanship evident in the smooth dressed stonework.
The Commercial Building reinforces the historic and commercial character of Sussex Drive in Ottawa and is a familiar landmark to local residents, people working in the vicinity and pedestrians.
Sources: Dana Johnson, 461-465 Sussex, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Buildings Review Office, Report 86-037; 461-465 Sussex, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 86-037.
The character-defining elements of the Commercial Building should be respected.
Its very good aesthetic design, its good functional design and good quality craftsmanship, for example:
- the three-and-a-half-storey massing and the symmetrical façade;
- the mansard roof with regularly placed gabled dormers set over regularly placed windows;
- the exterior walls constructed of cut-stone and brick;
- the wooden sub-cornice, which divides the ground floor from the upper floors;
- the plan of the principal elevation on Sussex Drive that has three ground floor entrances, and three shop windows;
- the shorter Clarence Street elevation that includes a shop window and a doorway;
- the interior spatial arrangement of the principal rooms that allows both commercial and residential use.
The manner in which the Commercial Building reinforces the historic and commercial character of Sussex Drive in downtown Ottawa and is a familiar landmark, as evidenced by:
- its scale, design and materials that maintain a visual and physical relationship between the surrounding buildings, including the Notre Dame Basilica and the Lasalle Academy, and the streetscape;
- its familiarity as a commercial shop to visitors, passing pedestrians, and local residents.