World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Old City Hall (Ottawa)

Article Id: WHEBN0029163521
Reproduction Date:

Title: Old City Hall (Ottawa)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Moshe Safdie, International Style (architecture), Sussex Drive, Old City Hall, Green Island (Rideau River), Gomery Commission, Rideau Falls, Architecture of Ottawa
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Old City Hall (Ottawa)

The John G. Diefenbaker Building is a building in the New Edinburgh neighbourhood of Ottawa, Ontario. The building served as Ottawa's city hall from 1958 to 2000, and is commonly known as Old City Hall. Purchased in 2003 by the Government of Canada, it was known by its municipal address, 111 Sussex Drive, until September, 2011 when it was renamed after Canada's 13th prime minister, John Diefenbaker.[1][2]


The building is located on Green Island at the point where the Rideau River empties into the Ottawa River. The historic city hall on Elgin Street had been destroyed by a fire in 1931. For the next 27 years the city operated out of temporary offices in the Transportation Building. The International Style building was opened on August 2, 1958 by Princess Margaret as a member of the Canadian Royal Family. It is noted for being the first building in Ottawa to be fully air conditioned. It was designed by John Bland of the firm Rother, Bland and Trudeau and is considered one of the most important International Style buildings in Canada. Winning the Massey Medal for design in 1959, modifications were made by Moshe Safdie in 1992-93.

City hall expansion

In 1988 Ottawa mayor Jim Durrell initiated a controversial scheme to expand the building, quadrupling its original size. Architect Moshe Safdie was chosen for the redesign. Conflict soon broke out between Safdie and the city. Safdie demanded a higher fee and delayed the project for several months before the city acquiesced to his demand. Then a conflict broke out over a pair of eighteen story observation towers. City council voted to cut the towers to save the million dollars they cost. This infuriated Safdie who felt the towers were essential to the design. The panel that picked the design had singled out the tower as one of the highlights of the design. Eventually the city compromised and a bare scaffold was erected.

The new building caused considerable controversy in the city with some liking the design, but others seeing the $72 million structure a waste of money. The building was much larger than the city needed and for several years large sections were vacant. In 1999 offices were rented out to the Department of Foreign Affairs, which is based nearby, and this mostly filled the building.

Federal government ownership

On January 1, 2001, a new single-tier City of Ottawa was created to replace the Regional Municipality of Ottawa Carleton. It was decided that the new city would be based at the RMOC Building. This building was considerably smaller but more centrally located. In 2003 the Old City Hall was sold to the federal Public Works department. Today the building mainly houses Foreign Affairs employees. For several months it was also the site of the Gomery Inquiry hearings.

See also

Ottawa portal


Coordinates: 45°26′23.68″N 75°41′40.78″W / 45.4399111°N 75.6946611°W / 45.4399111; -75.6946611

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.