Monday, September 1, 2014

City Daily Photo Theme Day: Rust And Ruin

The first of each month is a theme day for photobloggers from around the world taking part in City Daily Photo. For the first of September, the theme is Rust And Ruin. You can find other examples of the theme at this link. 

In the middle of August I showed you a take from the front of Somerset House here in Ottawa. Today I have the other shots I took of the place, knowing it would be ideal for the theme. It is something of a ruin, and I'm sure there's rust in there.

Several years ago there was work going on in the interior for restorations. A machine not unlike a bulldozer was being used, and a slight boo-boo ensued. The slight boo-boo being the machine hitting a support beam, causing a partial collapse inside the old hotel. The worker was saved by being inside the machine, though by contrast, had he not been using the machine, nothing would have happened in the first place.

For weeks on end afterwards, the intersection of Bank and Somerset, one of the busiest in the city, was shut down to traffic while the damage was assessed. The city and the developer got into disputes. Part of the back of the building was demolished, then reinforced with scaffolding. The disputes brought in the lawyers. And years went by. 

This view from the back shows some of the real damage of the partial demolition. The interior has been walled off, but that hasn't stopped graffiti taggers. In fact, looking at some of the remaining windows, you can see graffiti tags, so someone's been inside.

Supposedly there's been a settlement between the city and the developer to get things back up and running and get the restorations back underway. Just a few days ago though, the mayor expressed frustration at the lack of work being done. Hopefully Somerset House does rise again from the ruins. The structure itself, particularly at the front, deserves a second chance. 


  1. Pity about the building and all the delay. I can pretty much guarantee the renovation is now going to be very expensive. Good one for Theme Day.

  2. Good photo essay on the city's rust and renewal.

    ALOHA from Honolulu

  3. Oi, what an ongoing story, all because of one worker's mistake.

  4. Good subject for your theme. When you read about things like this, though, which I'm sure happen the world over, it does make you wonder that we haven't anything better to do!

  5. Non so bad at first sight, but looking at the rest of the photos you are clearly right about this building...

  6. That a rather a story about the building. Not a smooth restoration helas.

  7. Hope there is a settlement and that the building gets restored to its full potential.


  8. Like the phoenix it will rise again.

  9. I can easily see the possibilities.

  10. A very interesting story. Hope it will finally have a happy ending!
    And good choice for this theme day.

  11. That was a very expensive BOO BOO! But I agree with you that the building deserves a second chance.

  12. wow. sad for the collapse and worse that it's been tied up for so many years, waiting.

  13. Those disputes are common here and, in the meantime, we have such visual polution for years and years!

  14. What a sad story about this building. I hope it gets going again so the building can have a second life.

  15. @Oakland: I find myself wondering how much has been spent on legal fees.

    @Cloudia: thank you!

    @Dina: I wonder if that worker still has a job with his company.

    @Mike: you do wonder....

    @VP: it's going to need a whole lot of work.

    @Marianne: it certainly won't be.

    @Greensboro: I hope so.

    @Birdman: with luck!

  16. @Revrunner: the potential is there.

    @Halcyon: thank you.

    @EG: It does,

    @Tex: and time goes on. There's less and less time now for serious construction work to get done before winter sets in.

    @Luis: thank you.

    @Linda: thanks!

    @Jose: and right now it is visual pollution.

    @Sharon: I hope so too.

  17. And now the developer must not only fix up the building but get rid of all that graffiti too.
    Reminds me of an old hotel in my home town of Quincy, IL. The building looked a lot like this one. It was left abandoned for years until a guy went in looking for things to steal and lit a fire so he could see and ended up burning the whole place down.

  18. hopefully work will be underway soon

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  20. Nice series, William, perfect for this theme day!

  21. Sometimes the 'supposedly' renovations can take a very long time, some never happen at all :) Hope this isn't the case here William.

  22. A perfect example of ruin! Let's hope it won't be demolition by neglect.

  23. Great shota, but what a tragical story for this old buildings.

  24. It's a shame buildings are allowed to go like this....

  25. So here you are.
    And I've been here as well :-) .

  26. @Judy: I keep thinking it'll end up burning down someday.

    @Mo: I hope so.

    @Karl: thank you!

    @Grace: I'd like to see the place restored within the next couple of years, but I'm starting to doubt it.

    @RedPat: I'll believe it's happening when there are actually sounds of work being done inside.

    @Jan: it's like watching the building die of a thousand cuts, seeing nothing get done.

    @Norma: it is.

    @Marleen: I hope so.

    @Stephanie: hello!

    @Ciel: definitely a lot of both.

  27. I hope it does get a second chance. Those graffiti taggers are very daring aren't they?

  28. It's terrible to see nice building going to wrack and ruin.

  29. What a shame! We had a similar situation here, except that during renovations, the entire old building collapsed so there was no chance to save it. Hope you have better luck!

  30. Like everyone else here I hope it can be brought back. It's a lovely old building. Thanks for stopping by. I can sympathize with you over your sore throat. I've had acute bronchitis over the last month and these popsicles I made have been a constant source of relief. Hope your sore throats don't return.

  31. What a wild, weird seems like every time our developers and politicians get in the middle of something it becomes a huge muddle, too!

  32. @Lois: it seems that at least once, one tagger was quite daring.

    @Jennifer: it is.

    @Cheryl: I hope that doesn't happen here.

    @Denise: this is the longest I've ever had problems like this. My voice sounds like Clint Eastwood.

    @Lowell: this is definitely a muddle.

  33. Such ruins for a beautiful building, real pity.

  34. It is really a very good election for the Theme Day, the best election!

  35. Yup, some ruins here. I hope it gets fixed up.

  36. There are ruins there alright. I do hope they get a move on with the restoration. It's a terrible to have this go on for years.
    I forgot all about the theme Day. WAH!!

  37. A very interesting piece of architecture, hope that the restoration comes to fruition!

  38. The first photo doesn't look too much like a ruin but the subsequent ones do! Of course the blue sky is a little deceptive. There is an old Renault factory in Paris currently being renovated in the same sort of way. I love the brick and white trim on Somerset House.

  39. @Wilf: I keep hoping someone will finally move forward on this. It's gone on way too long.

    @Murcia: thank you.

    @Jack: I hope so too.

    @Randy: I do think so.

    @Linda: it certainly was.

    @MB: it's been a dismay to see it last this long.

    @Carraol: I hope it comes soon!

    @Blois: Yes, at the back it's in real trouble. The building itself though still feels worth saving.

  40. Disputes like this can rumble on for years - many big business owners just prevaricate about restoration until the whole thing collapses and then they're free to do want they want. Great shame.

  41. I like the murals and graffiti! But it is dangerous leaving them in ruins. When we house hunted there were many places left unrepaired, so sad.

    1. This one is a disgrace. Mostly because of the owner, who should be thrown off a cliff.