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Bate Building

109-111 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/07/25

Main elevation of the Bate Building after additions in December 1907.; Library and Archives Canada/Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, PAC, PA 42267, 1907.
Front elevation
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/05/16

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The tall Bate Building is situated on the north side of Sparks Street in the core of Ottawa’s central business district. The lower façade features classical and Palladian motifs while high arched windows with elaborate spandrels distinguish the upper floors, capped by a strongly projecting cornice. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

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

Historical Value:
The Bate Building is associated with the development of mid-19th and early 20thcentury Ottawa. Henry and Charles Bate commissioned the original building that combined retail premises and a residence. The building became the basis of a business empire headed by Henry Bate a philanthropic character involved in politics, the community, and local development. Knighted in 1910, Henry Bates became the first chairman of the Ottawa Improvement Commission.

Architectural Value:
Built in 1859, the Bate building has undergone many changes resulting in the loss of architectural integrity. Apparently the oldest standing structure on Sparks Street, its 1904 addition may be the earliest example in Ottawa of an office building that exceeds five storeys. The third storey of the lower façade was removed to accommodate the present addition. The Bate grocery store front was also later removed, further reducing the structure’s storefront profile.

Environmental Value:
The ongoing relationship of the Bate Building to its unchanged site in the commercial core reinforces Ottawa’s central business district.

Dana Johnson, Bate Building, 109-111 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 85-023; Bate Building, 109-111 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 85-023.

Character-Defining Elements

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

Its good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the vertical massing;
-the three part composition with tall, arched windows forming the centrepiece;
-the entrance on Sparks Street;
-the cut stone and brick facing;
-the elaborate spandrels and projecting cornices.

The manner in which the Bate Building, on its unchanged site in the commercial core, reinforces the central business district of Ottawa, as evidenced by:
-the building’s ongoing relationship to its streetscape and surrounding buildings;
-the building’s design and materials that maintain a visual and physical relationship to adjacent structures in the commercial core of downtown Ottawa.




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)

1904/01/01 to 1904/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer

Stent and Laver, Architects, Ottawa



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate Documentation Centre 3rd Floor, room 366 30 Victoria Street Gatineau, Québec J8X 0B3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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