Protest The Redesigned Chateau Laurier


The citizens of Ottawa simply cannot allow the brutalist architecture of Larco at the Chateau Laurier to go forward.

Residents of this city must pressure Larco, the National Capital Commission, the mayor, their councillors, their MPs and MPPs and the prime minister himself to stop such a horrible example of architecture despoil the elegant and much-loved Parliamentary district.

Look below to what happens to one of the most beautiful views in the national capital.

It looks like a cheap bunker, a low-rent apartment, right beside one of the greatest symbols of our country and our democracy.

Look below how the National Gallery of Canada, a modern building, pays homage to the spires of Parliament Hill and the Chateau in a contempory style. It bridges the gap between today and the architecture of the Parliamentary district.

For many years in Ottawa, your agent had hoped that the brilliant architecture of the Parliament district would start to seep into the Everywhere North America style of suburban Ottawa. Instead, what I feared would happen has happened.

The back end of the new Chateau has all the charm of a walk-up in Barrhaven. If we can’t build the suburbs better, at least don’t destroy the last beautiful area of Ottawa that speaks loudly to our nation.

Has the development community in our city become so strong, that having turned the rest of Ottawa into Topeka, Kansas, it must now do that to our precious Parliamentary district?

Look above to the view of the National War Memorial. Did hundreds of thousands of Canadians die for that?

Will the next structure be a McDonald’s? How do we celebrate this? A round of Big Macs with special sauce?

Above, is this what we leave our ancestors as the contribution of our generation to the Parliamentary district at Major’s Hill Park? On a good day, this would be a step up from the OC Transpo bus garage. Or perhaps just another nondescript office building in Anywhere Ottawa. It’s an outrage.

Surely even an unimaginative pack of politicians as Mayor Jim Watson and his council Bobbleheads can see this is a travesty. If they can’t, and that’s possible, perhaps Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will consider it as he walks around the Parliament Buildings.

The best part of this new addition is the way the architect tries to hide it behind the Chateau and a number of trees, which will be leafless in winter and spring. Then it will hide in plain sight.

If our generation can do but little for the Parliamentary district, surely we can stop ourselves from ruining it.

It’s time to protest. The Bulldog has done its part.

Now it’s up to you. Just how much do you care about your Ottawa and our country?


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12 thoughts on “Protest The Redesigned Chateau Laurier

  1. I agree with you about it having all the charm of a Barrhaven walk-up – however lets be clear: there is nothing brutalist about this proposed addition. It may be ugly, but it isn’t brutalist and in fact lacks one of the key defining elements of brutalism – raw concrete.

  2. It is important to keep in mind one of the key elements behind this design. The construction costs for what is essentially a steel frame and glass, cubic rectangle structure will be significantly lower than the costs associated with replicating the iconic Chateau Laurier in design and materials.

  3. I’m amazed the owners of the Chateau Laurier are okay with this. It’s simply awful and clearly driven by cost considerations above all else. Are they trying to make the property less valuable on purpose thinking they’ll pay less in property taxes? Can’t make sense of it.

    The only thing more amazing was seeing the architect present this as good design with a straight face.

    1. K.A. The current owner of the Chateau Laurier is Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, an American firm. I doubt if they care about the architectural structure, the heritage implications, or any other concerns Ottawans may have. I believe, as you say, they are more driven by the almighty buck.

  4. Ken, Ron, other commenters, et al. In the last two weeks articles have been written about the impact the new high-rise plan will have on existing neighbourhoods. This is a perfect example of what city residents will be dealing with henceforth.

    I agree that Ken has done his part in bringing the future of Ottawa’s optics to light and that protesting is a way to express our displeasure. Ken, I assume the Larco you mention is located at 200-104 Centrepointe Drive in Nepean. The pictures above are in line with the homes that appear on their website.

    However, they’re not the root of the problem, are they? The problem emanates from 111 Laurier Avenue. Who’s got a plan? Let’s get started. I’m in.

  5. Vancouver? Seriously? Oh well, I guess we can take comfort In the fact it’s a Canadian company rather than an American one we’re paying to make our beautiful city ugly. In the story of The King with No Clothes, it took one little boy to say “He’s naked” to bring down the facade. I think we need to take a simple approach here as well; “It’s ugly”.

    Ken. I don’t think many people in Ottawa know about this project to the extent Bulldog participants do, although I could be wrong. If you can get one of your reporter friends to attend these meetings and put some photos on the front page of the Ottawa Sun, I think you might get more people to speak out.

    1- Built Heritage Sub-Committee: June 18, 2018, 9:30 am, Champlain Room, Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West
    2 – Planning Committee (PC): June 26, 2018, 9:30 a.m, Champlain Room, 110 Laurier Avenue West
    3 – City Council: June 27, 2018, 10 a.m, Council Chambers, 110 Laurier Avenue West

    1. Sisco: Maybe we should march our bulldogs down Laurier Avenue.

      Taking great care we don’t disturb the bike lane.



  6. I have no doubt that all are aware that The Chateau Laurier was designated as a National Historic Site in 1981. Fairmont did not purchase it until 1999, at which time they would have been well aware of the designation and the laws, rules, regulations that were involved with development/changes/extensions. None of the aforementioned are respected in this design proposal and it is totally unacceptable.

  7. Good points, Anne Marie. It will be interesting to see how the representatives from Larco react. Ditto regarding the people from city hall who will be attending on behalf of Ottawa’s citizenry. Will the local representatives listen to the concerns of those in attendance or skate around them so they can give the project the old rubber stamp. Hopefully the room will be packed.


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