Description of Historic Place
The Official Guest Residence at Seven Rideau Gate, is a handsome stone building located near the entrance to the Governor-General’s residence. The two-storey, stone structure has a metal clad, hipped roof with wide bracketed eaves, and regular, symmetrically placed windows which give it a formal aspect in keeping with its role. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Official Guest Residence is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Official Guest Residence is associated with the early development of Ottawa. Until the government expropriated it in 1966, the building belonged to five successive business families in Ottawa. The trend in the mid-19th century for the elite to move away from the city centre led to the development of the villas in and around Rockcliffe Park, which became the most fashionable area in Ottawa. The purchase of Earnscliffe for the British High Commission in 1930, the construction of the French Embassy in 1936-1939, 5 Rideau Gate into the South African Embassy in 1944, the conversion of 24 Sussex Drive into the prime minister’s official residence in 1949, and finally with the purchase of Seven Rideau Gate in 1966, have together created an enclave of official residences and embassies at the east end of what is now the ceremonial route.
The Official Guest Residence is valued for its good aesthetics and is, in its present form after extensive changes, an example of the domestic architecture built for wealthy owners from the 1920s until the 1950s. This detached stone house has an unembellished principal façade, which classes the house as Georgian Revival, a style popular in the late 1920s and 1930s. Good craftsmanship can be seen in the quality of the evenly coursed stonework.
The Official Guest Residence reinforces the character of the exclusive residential area next to official government residences. It is also known to visitors, local inhabitants and to those using Sussex Drive.
Sources: Sally Coutts, Seven Rideau Gate, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 85-068; Seven Rideau Gate, Seven Rideau Gate, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 85-068.
The following character-defining elements of the Official Guest Residence should be respected.
Its good aesthetics, functional design, and craftsmanship, for example:
-the two-storey massing;
-the truncated hipped roof clad in metal, and the widely projecting bracketed eaves;
-the evenly coursed, cut stone exterior walls, and the symmetrically placed chimneys;
-the regular, symmetrically placed, shuttered windows;
-the restrained, unembellished principal façade with classically inspired entrance.
The manner in which the Official Guest Residence is compatible with the formal character of the setting that contains official and governmental buildings, and is a familiar landmark as evidenced by:
-its scale, design and materials that maintain a visual and physical relationship with the other official residences in the exclusive neighbourhood;
-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 landmark.