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Seismology Survey Building

Lieu historique national du Canada de la Ferme-Expérimentale-Centrale / Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site of Canada, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1994/01/20

Corner view of the Seismology Survey Building, 1993.; Department of Public Works / Ministère des Travaux publics, 1993.
Corner view
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Other Name(s)

Seismology Survey Building
Building No. 7
Bâtiment no 7

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1913/01/01 to 1914/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/04/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Situated at the Observatory Campus on the Central Experimental Farm (CEF) Seismology Survey Building, also known as Building No. 7, is a rectangular three-storey brick, steel and concrete structure with a flat roof. It is distinguished by a symmetrical façade composed of a stone base, brick wall, metal cornice, shaped parapet and classical details characteristic of the stripped down Edwardian Classical style. Stone lintels, sills, stringcourses and entrance surrounds, enliven the composition. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

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

Historical Value
The Seismology Survey Building is associated with the establishment of the Geodetic Survey of Canada and with the history of seismological research and development. Its construction reflected the expansion of the federal role in pure and applied research to enhance the country’s scientific and economic development. The construction of this building, and of adjacent government office buildings, also encouraged local city growth.

Architectural Value
The Seismology Survey Building is valued for its aesthetic design. It is a good example of the stripped Edwardian Classical style used for mid-sized governmental lab and office buildings of this era. The symmetrical façade and selective use of classical detail are characteristic of this style. The building’s layout comprised of a central corridor plan, exhibits good functional design. Good craftsmanship and materials are demonstrated in the smooth brick masonry walls with corner quoins, sandstone lintels, sills, stringcourses and entrance surrounds.

Environmental Value
The Seismology Survey Building reinforces the present character of its landscaped setting established around the Dominion Observatory at the Central Experimental Farm. The building is familiar within the immediate area.

Sources: Jacqueline Hucker, Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 92-040; Seismology Survey Building, Building 7, Central Experimental Farm. Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 92-040.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Seismology Survey Building should be respected.

Its good aesthetic and functional design, good materials and craftsmanship, for
-the three-storey massing, which consists of a flat-roofed rectangular structure with a two storey extension;
-the roof line with its distinctive metal cornice and shaped parapet;
-the elongated vertical proportions, symmetrically organized façades and varied, repetitive window rhythms;
-the use of materials to create a classical tripartite division of base, body and cornice, with rough limestone at the base, smooth brick masonry for the body, and copper defining the cornice;
-the brick walls with corner quoins, accentuated by red sandstone lintels, sills, stringcourses and entrance surrounds;
-the interior central corridor plan;
-the interior materials such as terrazzo flooring, marble stairs and woodwork.

The manner in which the Seismology Survey Building reinforces the present character of its landscaped setting at the CEF and is familiar, as evidenced by:
-its scale, massing, roof profile and materials, which are compatible with the present informal layout of adjacent buildings set in their mature treed landscape;
-its visibility, from Carling Avenue, due to its scale, location, and the prominent, large satellite dish on its roof;
-its role as a component of the historic complex of early government buildings established around the Dominion Observatory at the CEF, which makes it familiar within the immediate area.




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)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Health and Research
Research Facility

Architect / Designer

Department of Public Works, Chief Architect’s Branch



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




Related Places

Aerial view of research centre and fields

Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site of Canada

The Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site of Canada, located in urban Ottawa, Ontario, is comprised of various structures and buildings embedded within a large rural…


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