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Carleton County Court House

2, Daly Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1978/11/15

A stern, Italianate-style structure, built of grey Gloucester limestone from 1870-1871; City of Ottawa 2005
Carleton County Courthouse/Arts Court, 2 Daly Ave
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Other Name(s)

Carleton County Court House
Arts Court

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1870/01/01 to 1871/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/01/04

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Constructed in 1870-71, the Carleton County Courthouse is located in downtown Ottawa at the corner of Daly Avenue and Nicholas Street. Long the seat of county government, the Carleton County Courthouse has a three-storey centre block, with symmetrical two-storey wings and is rich in architectural and historical detail. The structure has maintained an important place within the community first as the centre of county government and now as a locus of Ottawa's artistic community as home to the Ottawa Arts Court.

The Carleton County Courthouse has been recognized for its heritage value by the City of Ottawa, By-law number 381-78.

Heritage Value

The Carleton County Courthouse, an excellent example of Italianate architecture, with its two wings flanking a pedimented pavilion, is typical of courthouses constructed in mid-19th century central Canada. The building was designed by architect and engineer Robert Surtees in 1870 after fire destroyed the original wooden building which housed the courthouse.

In spite of later additions in 1955 and 1964, the Carleton County Courthouse retains much of its original character. It is a formal classically-inspired building, expressive of government and the administration of justice. Certain elements of its design are reminiscent of Greek and Roman temples, as the pillars and pediment reveal. The surrounding grounds and fence provide an appropriate setting for a building of this nature.

In 1985, the site and heritage building was entrusted to the Ottawa Arts Court Foundation, which inaugurated the Ottawa Arts Court as the community's municipal arts centre in 1988. Presently, the Ottawa Arts Court offers gallery and theatre space, and is the home of more than 30 local arts and cultural organizations.

Sources: City of Ottawa By-law 381-78; City of Ottawa File PD071 -OHD4300/DALY 00002; Ottawa: A Guide to Heritage Structures. (City of Ottawa, 2000).

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that define the Carleton County Courthouse's heritage value include its:
- construction of grey Gloucester limestone in broken courses with smooth stone quoins, stringcourses and window surrounds
- three-storey centre block with symmetrical two-storey wings and a central front portico.
- high foundations, along with tall Italianate windows
- massive stone cut wall surmounted by attractive cast iron cresting featuring a fleur-de-lis design which surrounds the building
- location in Ottawa's judicial district, close to the Registry Office and the Gaol




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Security and Law

Function - Category and Type


Public Art or Furnishings


Courthouse and/or Registry Office

Architect / Designer

Robert Surtees



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

File OHD4300/DALY 00002 Records Office Ottawa City Hall, 4th Floor 110 Laurier Avenue West Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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