Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A Visit Into The Heritage Building

Ottawa City Hall always participates in Doors Open. The property includes a provincial courthouse, but the city's operations are run out of the modern wing and this building, called the Heritage Building. Constructed from 1874-75, it started its life as the Ottawa Normal School, a teacher college, and is in the late Victorian style. Numerous offices are inside, including the mayor's office. This view looks from the southwest on Elgin, with the Canadian Human Rights Monument in the foreground. The area you see in front of the building has been designated Nelson Mandela Square.

These days, the first floor hosts the Ottawa Sports Hall Of Fame in the area beyond the lobby entrance, with a wealth of photographs of local athletes down through time adorning the walls, and display cases with athletic gear from various sports.

Heading upstairs, the path led to the exterior reception area outside the mayor's office and an adjoining conference room. This seal of the city, done in a three dimensional way, is mounted on the brick.

Inside the conference room, I photographed this set of flags- Canada, Ontario, Ottawa, and the flag for the Franco-Ontarian community.

The city of Ottawa has over time amassed a sizeable collection of art, much of it in the Ottawa Art Gallery (I will have to take you into its new quarters at some point down the line), but some of it dispersed in city offices like this one. Part of that collection comes from the Firestone family, who were particularly drawn to the works of the Group of Seven and willed their art to the city. This painting here in the conference room is one of those. Lawren Harris painted Algoma Country in 1923, an oil painting of the area in northern Ontario north of Sault St. Marie.

Here we have another Group of Seven oil painting, this one in the mayor's office, also from the Firestone collection. A.Y. Jackson painted Autumn, Muskoka #2 in 1937.

Another item here in the mayor's office was this map, showing how big the city actually is- the cities of Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver combined still come up short in total land area compared to Ottawa. Mind you, much of Ottawa is technically rural, with eight hundred thousand people mostly in the city sectors, surrounded by greenbelt and farmland to the edges of the former region of Ottawa-Carleton, a legacy of amalgamation.

Here we have the mayor's desk, with views out onto Elgin Street. A comfortable spot to work from. Our mayor, Jim Watson, is an affable fellow, running for re-election in October, with no serious competion in the field.

One of the bookshelves has a series of photographs of people (and one panda) the mayor has greeted over the years. There's more than what you see here, but I photographed one section. They include musicians like Bono, Paul McCartney, and Paul Anka, and world figures like President Obama and the Duchess of Cambridge. Good lord, I miss Obama.


  1. I love the paintings of all the Group of Seven, anyone of which I would be very happy to have hanging on my walls.

  2. Hey...Bono! Does he know everyone?

  3. i enjoy the old uniforms ... so fancy compared to this day and age ones. ( ;

  4. I miss him too!

    The seal of the city is beautiful!

  5. @Linda: so do I.

    @Rosemary: they were wonderful artists.

    @Tom: true!

    @Sandi: just a few!

    @Beth: that's true.

    @Marie: it is indeed.

  6. I enjoyed the tour, and yes, I miss Obama too. Especially these days.

  7. Such a pretty building and the mayor's office looks very comfortable.

  8. Please know that we completely with your last sentence. Glad that the beautiful older part of the City headquarters has been saved and put to such good use . Fun that the Mayor's office is made available during Doors Open -- from what you say, people are pleased with the job he's doing -- sounds like 'open door' may also a good metaphor for how he does business

  9. We like our city halls to be special. Ottawa's city hall certainly has many special features. the group of Seven is one of my favorites.

  10. Love the mayor's desk!
    The seal of the city is very impressive.
    Nice photos

  11. @DJan: the better part of the world misses him.

    @Sharon: yes, it's quite an office.

    @Sally: it's a good use of the building. I don't know how accessible the Heritage Building is most of the time- usually when I come through City Hall, it's the newer section where a lot of the day to day work is done, and that area is unlocked through the day.

    @Red: the city's art collection is quite extensive, and that portion from the Group forms the core of it. I've toured the new space for the city art gallery first some weeks back. I think before too long I'll have to go back.

    @Maywyn: thank you!

  12. There is a lot going on in that building!

  13. I like that three dimensional seal on the brick wall.

  14. Beautiful building and the mayor's office is pretty nice.

  15. YOU miss Obama? Phew! Try to imagine him as your supposed leader! Your sympathy (especially as a Canadian) is appreciated these days.
    What an interesting city hall you have. The sports exhibits look interesting and I'm not even much of a fan. And I always love seeing Group of Seven works.

  16. Wonderful historical building and photos!

    Happy Day to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  17. That is a very impressive architecture, William.

  18. @RedPat: there is!

    @Jan: so do I.

    @Bill: I agree.

    @Kay: there's a lot of sporting history in this city.

    @Carol: thank you!

    @Beatrice: yes it is.

  19. Flags behind the chairs are always impressive.

  20. The Heritage Building is a wonderful tribute to bygone architecture, they really knew their stuff! I'm glad you approve of your present mayor William, there have been a couple of doosies right? I think the whole world misses Obama... a lot! 😀

  21. I'd say your mayor has a view! And so nice that he is affable and well liked. Not all can say that.

  22. Such a beautiful looking building.

    All the best Jan

  23. @Lady Fi: it is.

    @Francisco: thanks!

    @Klara: I agree.

    @Grace: Watson was mayor of Ottawa before amalgamation of the entire city. He spent time in provincial politics as a member of provincial parliament and cabinet minister, and then came back to run for mayor again. The guy in between was a guy named Larry O'Brien, a man who was totally unfit for office. At least O'Brien seems to have taken a hint and not bothered to mount a comeback. And as unfit for office as he was, he didn't embarrass people in the way that the Fords did in Toronto, or Trump does every single day for America.

    @Jeanie: it's a good space for an office.

    @Jan: that it is.