Happy Fourth of July to my American readers! I have a post for the occasion up at my writer's blog, so go and have a look!
The Connaught Building is one I've featured before in the blog, but always the exterior. It's been a regular fixture in Doors Open for years. Designed by architect David Ewart, who also designed the building now housing the Global Centre for Pluralism that I showed you earlier in the series, as well as the Royal Canadian Mint and the Museum of Nature, it looks very much like a castle. Opened in 1915, it was named for the Duke of Connaught, a son of Queen Victoria and a governor general of Canada from 1911-16. It is in modified Norman style, with elements of Tudor and Gothic along the way. First used as a customs examining warehouse by Canada Customs, it has been extensively renovated, and today is the national headquarters for the Canada Revenue Agency, which has thousands of employees across the country. It is a designated National Heritage Site.
Doors Open allowed for members of the public to go inside on a guided tour with a member of the staff. Lions flanked the entrance lobby.
The staff guide took us up to the top floor conference room, which has a view across to Parliament Hill, which can be glimpsed in the window.
He also explained that the building has a ghostly reputation. Mr. Ewart had himself a mistress, it seems, and he promised her that when this building was complete, he would leave his wife for her. He didn't, and she took her own life. Unexplained occurrences have happened here since. Staffers working alone in the evening hear someone at their door, but no one is in the hall when they open it. Cold spots can be felt. Motion activated lights come on when no one is in that particular part of a floor. And people have caught sight of the fleeting glimpse of a woman's dress turning a corner in hallways before they can get a look at who's wearing it. And there's the matter of a cubicle on one floor that is no longer used, as misfortune such as deathly illness has come on everyone who has previously been assigned there. If the ghost makes any spot in the building her home, it must be that cubicle.
I came back a few days later for some more exterior shots of the building.