Description of Historic Place
The City Registry Office is a single-storey pale salmon-gold brick structure with classical temple massing. Together with the former Carleton County Courthouse and County Gaol located across the street, the property formed the judicial district of 19th century Ottawa.
It is recognized by City of Ottawa By-law 269-78.
This structure compliments the Carleton County Registry Office built nearby in 1871. Located across the street from the 19th century former Carleton County Courthouse and County Gaol, the City Registry Office shares common architectural features with these buildings and is an integral part of 19th century judicial district of Ottawa.
Registry offices had a three-fold purpose: to register land instruments such as deeds, mortgages, certificates and lot plans; to safely store such instruments; and, to provide search and copy services to the public. The architect of the City Registry Office, recorded only as “Mr. Hudson,” most likely followed printed specifications that were prepared in 1867 by Kivas Tully, Provincial Architect and Engineer for Ontario.
Erected in 1874, the property is architecturally similar to other Registry Offices built across Ontario. The classical temple massing, along with salmon-gold brick, round-headed windows and door arches with rusticated quoins, and “very direct and pleasing proportions,” establish a strong sense of official space in this modest structure, giving the building an endearing and pleasant quality. In the interior, three barrel vaults divide the space for public, administrative and storage functions.
After the City of Ottawa built a new registry office on Elgin Street in 1909, the property went through a series of uses and tenants, many significant to Ottawa's history and development. Beginning in 1917, it was home to the Women's Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa followed by the Bytown and Ottawa Historical Museum from 1926 to 1954. The property was then used by the Tourist and Convention Bureau until 1966, and a series of tenants thereafter. It has been vacant since 1982.
Source: City of Ottawa By-law 269-78, City of Ottawa Heritage Summary Sheet, 1977. FHBRO Building Report 84-40. Ottawa: A Guide to Heritage Structures, 2000
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value include the:
- round-headed window and door arches,
- front door and window arches with rusticated quoins
- salmon-gold brick and the stone foundation
- semi-circular name stone resting on a wide entablature which features a repeating quatrefoil vents in the front pediment
- corbelled cornice on the façade pediment, the plain metal cornice trims on the side walls, and the returned eaves on the rear side
- barrel-vaulted interior ceiling