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Gamman House

306, Cyr, Ottawa, Ontario, K1L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2004/08/24

Gamman House Front Elevation; 2014, web
Gamman House
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Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2014/03/28

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Gamman house is a one and a half storey building in the community of Vanier in Ottawa's east end. The house was built for Nathaniel Gamman, an early Ottawa resident, in the developing community of Janeville sometime in the 1870s. The mansard roof and Second Empire detailing set this house apart from the standard workman's residence. The building is the oldest surviving house in the working class neighbourhood that developed around Montreal Road in the late nineteenth century. The Gamman house was formally recognized under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act by the City of Ottawa in 2004 (bylaw 2004-374).

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Gamman house lies in its historical associations with the working class neighbourhood in Janeville (which became Eastview in 1893) and its unique architecture style which evokes grand Second Empire residences.

The heritage value of the Gamman house is derived from its associations with working class families of Ottawa and being the oldest surviving example of the working class neighbourhood which developed in east Ottawa around Montreal road. The Gamman house was built in the mid 1870s for Nathaniel Gamman and his wife Mary. The family lived there until Nathaniel's death in 1917. Gamman was born in 1848 in Ottawa (then Bytown), making him an early inhabitant of the city. He worked as a janitor and a labourer and served briefly as a councillor in the town of Eastivew.

The Gamman's were one of many working class families who settled in the developing communities surrounding Montreal Road. Janeville developed in the late nineteenth century as a primarily Anglophone working class community. The Gamman family's life is representative of the lives of many working class Ottawans in the latter part of the 19th century. Their modest house, constructed of wood with later additions to the rear, is typical of working class houses built during this period. The Gamman house is an excellent representation of Ottawa's working class and the houses they built to accommodate their growing families.

The heritage value of the Gamman house is also derived from its architectural style. The distinctive mansard roof sets the Gamman house apart from most other working class residences at the time. The Second Empire style was primarily used for institutional, commercial and larger residential buildings. The mansard roof creates a high-ceilinged attic storey, which greatly increases the floor space of the modest dwelling. There are modest details on the exterior, such as gabled dormers with finials, dentils, brackets, pilasters and porch details, Although there are some examples of vernacular Second Empire style residences in Lowertown in Ottawa, this style is much less common than the typical gable roofed workers' cottages.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the architectural value of the Gamman house include:
-mansard roof
-gabled dormers with finials that punctuate the roofline
-front veranda, which has been incorporated into the house and enclosed
-wood clapboard siding
-pilasters and porch details
-dentils and brackets at the roof line
-front hall and large room on the ground floor with its decorative wood and plaster details

Key elements that contribute to the historical value of the Gamman house include:
-historical connections with the Gamman family, a family who settled in the developing working class neighbourhood surrounding Montreal Road and who can represent other working class Ottawans of the late nineteenth century
-associations with the early development of Janeville in the 1870s




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type




Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Records Office Ottawa City Hall, 4th floor 110 Laurier Avenue West Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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