Description of Historic Place
Located in a fashionable retail area of the market area in downtown Ottawa, the Office Building, located at 17-19 York Street, is a large stone and brick building. The influence of the Italianate style is evidenced in the handsome principal façade. The main features of the five-bay building include a ground floor of rusticated stone, arched openings at each storey, and a heavy and elaborate cornice at roof level. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Office Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Office Building is a very good example of a building associated with the commercial development of Ottawa in the late 19th and early 20th century, and also illustrates the stable and healthy Canadian economy of the period. The owner, Joseph Grant, was a wholesale grocer with a flourishing business at the turn of the century. Grant’s large and attractive building reflected his prosperity and also demonstrated the development of consumer demand in Canada. The building now serves as office space while the ground floor is used for fashion retail stores.
The Office Building is valued for its very good aesthetics. The Italianate style is evident in the principal façade. Good functional design is evidenced in the structure’s adaptive reuse from its initial warehouse role through to its current combination of office and retail space. Very good craftsmanship is evidenced in the stonework of the ground floor exterior and in the brickwork.
The Office Building reinforces the historic/commercial character of the Byward Market area in Ottawa and is a familiar landmark to local residents, people working in the vicinity and pedestrians.
Sources: Joanna H. Doherty, 17 York Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Report 88-069; 17-19 York Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 88-069.
The character-defining elements of the Office Building should be respected.
Its very good aesthetic, its good functional design and very good craftsmanship, for example:
-the four-storey, flat-roofed massing and the symmetrical five-bay façade.
-the stone and brick exterior walls, the regularly placed wooden columns, and the thick warehouse plank flooring.
-the regularly placed, arched openings containing doors and windows on the ground floor.
-the heavy projecting cornice.
-the basement with brick-arched entrances to the stone walled storage rooms.
The manner in which the Office Building reinforces the historic/commercial character of the Byward Market area of Lower Town Ottawa, and is a familiar 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 and turn-of-the-century character of the market area.
-its familiarity through its ground floor retail spaces to visitors, passing pedestrians, and local residents.