Committee moves to designate seven Britannia Village properties

A graphic with Ottawa City Hall is in the background. A vertical grey stripe and a horizontal brown stripe are in the foreground with "Built Heritage Committee update" in the centre.

The Built Heritage Committee today supported designating seven properties in Britannia Village(link is external), including the Britannia Yacht Club. These properties all have connections to Britannia’s history as a summer resort and meet at least four of the nine criteria for heritage designation.

The six houses are representative examples of the vernacular cottage style found throughout Britannia. They are each associated with early occupants or owners that have ties to the creation of the Britannia Yacht Club, the development of the area into a suburb and the expansion the Ottawa Electric Railway to Britannia.

The Committee moved to designate the Andrew W. Fleck Memorial at 195 George Street(link is external). The building meets six of the nine criteria for designation and is a rare and early example of a purpose-built daycare inspired by the arts and crafts movement. It was originally the Ottawa Day Nursery, established in 1911. Helen Gertrude Fleck served as president of the nursery’s management committee during its founding year and again from 1932 to 1937. She purchased the lot and financed construction of the building, dedicating it to her spouse, Andrew W. Fleck, a prominent businessman and philanthropist who died in 1924. The building also has connections to the development of early childhood education, social reform, migration to urban centres, and the role of women in the workforce.

The Committee approved designating two properties on Rideau Street(link is external), both of which meet five of the nine criteria. The property at 41 Rideau has design value as an early Ottawa example of a steel-frame skyscraper in the Chicago style. It was associated with Robert and Russell Blackburn, who were well-established developers and entrepreneurs in Ottawa. The building complements the many nationally significant buildings associated with the federal government that surround Confederation Square and supports the commercial character of Sussex Drive and Rideau Street. The property at 73 Rideau Street has direct associations with Freiman’s department store and the Freiman family. Throughout the store’s 71-year history at this location, Freiman’s became the largest and most iconic department store in Ottawa.

The Committee also supported removing an additional 979 properties from the City’s Municipal Heritage Register(link is external). This is the third of four planned reports that will remove the majority of the 4,600 non-designated properties listed on the register. The register provides protection from demolition for listed properties, all of which are considered to have cultural heritage value. The City is removing properties in phases to ensure Ottawa’s register complies with the Ontario Heritage Act.

The report approved today recommends removing listed properties within wards 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18. Once removed, these properties can be re-added at any time, for a two-year period. The Act was recently changed such that any properties still on the register at the end of 2024 would be automatically removed and could not be re-listed or designated as heritage properties for a period of five years. Removing them in advance will provide the City with more flexibility to protect these properties in the coming years.

Items from today’s meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, April 17.

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