Various images of the DCA teams architectural favourites in Ottawa-- Arts Court, Iona Mansion, First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, 24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa Jail Hostel, and the National War Memorial

Valentine’s day is all about celebrating the things we love. We here at Architects DCA all share a common love for Ottawa architecture. With such an architecturally diverse city, it is hard to choose just one. We asked some of the team here what their favourite buildings around the city were and why they love them so much; here’s what they said.

Miranda Paquette

Our chief operating officer Miranda Paquette has quite a few favourite Ottawa structures but today we feature her appreciation for the institutional architecture of the Arts Court Theatre at 2 Daly Avenue. Originally meant to enforce the hierarchy of power, the building has been translated into a space for art and culture.

Sheldon Defilippi

Sheldon DeFilippi has a lot of favourite buildings around Ottawa as well and choosing just one wasn’t an option. Sheldon’s first choice is the Iona Mansion. This building was designed by one of Ottawa’s most influential architects – Werner E.Noffke, who also designed several prominent buildings like the Post Office at Sparks and Elgin, the Medical Arts Building on Metcalfe, Blackburn Building on Sparks/ Metcalfe in addition to several other commercial and civic/ religious buildings around Ottawa 

Like many buildings in the Glebe today, the Iona Mansions is now a multipurpose structure. With residential units on the top 2 storeys, and 3 commercial units on the ground floor. The materials used and the architectural style of the Iona Mansions truly set it apart from other buildings in the area.

Sheldon’s other favourite building in the city is the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa. Located on 30 Cleary Ave this building was designed by James B. Craig and constructed in 1967 the year of Canada’s Centennial.

First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa

This Mid-Century Modernism is a stunning church with excellent acoustics. It occupies a large site beside a new LRT station at Sherbourne and can be viewed occasionally peeking through the trees from the Sir John A. McDonald Parkway.

Toon Dreessen

One of the favourites from our president Toon Dreessen is 24 Sussex Drive, the official residence of the Prime Minister of Canada. Construction of the building took place in 1866 and was completed in 1868. The main architect for the project was Joseph Merrill Currier.

The residence on 24 Sussex is a large limestone-clad structure. The property and home are maintained by the National Capital Commission; the NCC has the responsibility of furnishing public rooms of the house with items from the Crown Collection. These range from Canadian paintings to other antiques such as instruments and furniture.

24 Sussex is a great example of the challenges faced by Canadian architecture; years of neglect and deferred maintenance, combined with lack of political leadership to value our built environment has resulted in its current condition. This helps speak to a need for a strong national policy on architecture for Canada.

Another one from Toon is the Carleton County Gaol or the Nicholas street Gaol or Ottawa Jail, but currently, the Ottawa Jail Hostel, located at 75 Nicholas Street downtown. The jail was built in 1862 and designed by Henry Horsey. It stayed operational until 1972. The last of its kind, the building has remained largely untouched. It is cherished by Toon because it was the basis of his research thesis on semiotics.

Another fav of Toon’s is the National War Memorial, located in downtown Ottawa on Wellington street. When the decision to erect a monument in recognition of those who served during the first world war was made, an international design competition was announced.

National War Memorial

The monument was designed by Vernon March of Farnborough, Kent, England. It took several years for the monument to be completed, and it was unveiled in 1939. For Toon, the memorial reminds him of the sacrifice men and women have made while protecting our country, but also makes him think of hope and love for the future.

In conclusion, we encourage everyone to explore their own city and discover some of the incredible architecture that may surround you every day. We are sure you will find one that you love as much as we love the ones featured here.