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Commercial Building

457-459 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1988/10/06

Exterior photo; (Margaret Coleman, Canadian Parks Service, 1988.)
Exterior photo
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Other Name(s)

Commercial Building
Commercial Building (457-59 Sussex Drive)
Édifice commercial

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/03/10

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Commercial Building is located in downtown Ottawa on Sussex Drive. It is a three-storey stone structure with a gable roof and dormer windows to the rear. The principal façade features six bays with regularly placed windows. Simple detailing includes a stringcourse between the first floor and second floors. The ground floor exterior cladding has a finer finish, regularly spaced doors and large shop windows. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Commercial Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value:
The Commercial Building is a very good example of a building associated with Ottawa’s early development and also with the development of Sussex Drive as a primary commercial and symbolic corridor in the city. The building is one of the earlier masonry structures in Lower Town, Ottawa. It was built during a phase of development that transformed the pioneer community into a permanent and prospering nineteenth-century urban centre. The National Capital Commission bought the Commercial Building in 1961.

Architectural Value:
The Commercial Building is valued for its very good aesthetics is representative of nineteenth-century vernacular commercial architecture in Lower Town, Ottawa. Good functional design is seen in the building’s configuration with the ground floor used for retail space and mixed commercial use for the upper floors that include the Canadian Ski Museum. Good craftsmanship is evidenced in the ashlar masonry.

Environmental Value:
The Commercial Building reinforces the commercial / institutional character of its setting and is a familiar city landmark to local residents.
Margaret Coleman, The Commercial Building, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 88-008; he Commercial Building, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 88-008.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the the Commercial Building should be respected.

Its very good aesthetics, good functional design, and good craftsmanship, for example:
-the three-storey massing of the gable-roofed structure;
-the exterior walls of roughly dressed masonry;
-the stringcourse dividing the ground floor from the upper floors, the sash windows, stone sills and the flat arches;
-the regularly bays and the placement of door and window openings, and the large retail windows on the ground floor.

The manner in which the Commercial Building is compatible with the commercial / institutional character of its setting, and is a familiar city landmark as evidenced by:
-its scale, design and materials that maintain a visual and physical relationship with the surrounding block of buildings and complement the streetscape;
-its familiarity to visitors, passing pedestrians, and local residents owing to its location on Sussex Drive and to its commercial premises on the ground floor.




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



Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building

Architect / Designer

King Arnoldi



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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