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541 Acacia Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/07/11

General view of Stornoway, showing the front façade, 1986.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, M. Trépanier, 1986.
Front façade
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1913/01/01 to 1914/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/04/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Stornoway sits on wooded grounds in the residential area of Rockcliffe Park in Ottawa. It is a two-and-a-half storey, hip and gable roofed building with dormers, a projecting two-storey wing and an enclosed, flat-roofed, one-storey verandah. A classically-inspired entrance porch is centrally located on the main façade. The walls are clad in stucco with a narrow stringcourse and regularly arranged windows. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Stornoway is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.

Historical Value
Stornoway is a good example of a building that is directly associated with the housing of leaders of the Opposition Party in Parliament and reflects both the changing nature and the continuity of tradition in Rockcliffe Park in the nation’s capital. The house dates from the first major pre-First World War building push in Rockcliffe Park; it was expanded in the 1920s when many of the area’s finest houses were built. It became an official government residence when other large Rockcliffe Park houses were being purchased as official residences for foreign diplomats. At one point, the house accommodated Crown Princess Juliana of the Netherlands before being purchased in 1950, by a trust to serve as the residence for the leader of the opposition. Stornoway has been owned by the Government of Canada since 1970 and has housed leaders of the Opposition such as George Drew, Lester B. Pearson, John G. Diefenbaker, Robert L. Stanfield, C. Joseph Clark, Pierre E. Trudeau and John Turner.

Architectural Value
Stornoway is valued for its good aesthetic qualities and functional design. Built with classical references in its proportions and details at the entrance porch and at the enclosed verandah, it was designed to serve as a comfortable home with commodious rooms well-suited for both its private and public functions. Ottawa architect Allan Keefer designed the house in 1913 and was later commissioned, in 1923, to design a projecting two-storey addition.

Environmental Value
Stornoway maintains an unchanged relationship to its site and reinforces the residential character of its prestigious neighbourhood setting. It is a familiar building in the area.

Sources: Robert Hunter, Stornoway, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 85-069; Stornoway, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 85-069.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Stornoway should be respected.

Its good aesthetic and functional design and good materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the two-and-a-half storey massing with a hipped side gable roof and hipped dormers, a flat roofed one-storey verandah and a projecting two storey wing;
-the wood construction clad in stucco;
-the narrow raised stucco stringcourse that demarcates the two storeys and provides a strong horizontal emphasis;
-the symmetrical arrangement of windows, including the narrow vertical windows and the tall round headed window;
-the square, flat-roofed and classically inspired porch with a cornice, pilasters, a rectangular transom and sidelights;
-the simple decorative elements such as the bracketed wooden window shades above the ground floor windows on the front façade and the small wrought iron rail;
-the paired Tuscan columns and wooden trellis-work of the verandah on the southern façade.

The manner in which Stornoway maintains an unchanged relationship to its site, reinforces the residential character of its prestigious neighbourhood setting and is a familiar building in the area, as evidenced by:
-its ongoing relationship to its large, treed grounds;
-its overall scale, design and materials, which harmonize with its surrounding neighbourhood residences in Rockcliffe Park;
-its familiarity within the area owing to its role as an official residence.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1923/01/01 to 1923/01/01
1983/01/01 to 1983/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

Allan Keefer



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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