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Old Ottawa bread factory, home to arts collective, in line for heritage designation

Members of the city’s built heritage subcommittee voted unanimously on Tuesday in favour of pursuing heritage designation for the former site of the Standard Bread Company in Hintonburg and current home to Ottawa’s largest arts studio cooperative.

The property at 951 Gladstone Ave., just west of the O-Train tracks, is a three-storey building with a four-storey tower, purpose-built in 1924 for the bread company founded by Cecil Morrison and Dick Lamothe.

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Linda Hoad of the Hintonburg Community Association – the group that first requested the designation back in 2010 – described the industrial property as “a very important building in the community.”

The art studios it has housed for nearly 30 years are “one of the reasons that Hintonburg declared itself an arts district years ago,” Hoad told the subcommittee as she urged them to support the heritage application.

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“It is a part of Ottawa’s social history,” she said.

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The bakery was converted to an artist’s co-op in 1992 and has been home to the Enriched Bread Artists collective since, according to a staff report about the property.

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The Hintonburg Community Association asked the city to hold the heritage application mid-2010 “pending redevelopment plans for the site,” planning staff said.

The revived push for designation comes as the property owner, Trinity Development Group, is applying to build a mixed-use development with three high rises, between 30 and 40 storeys tall, connected to the future Gladstone light-rail station.

A rendering of a proposed mixed-use development at 145 Loretta Ave. and 951 Gladstone Ave. in Hintonburg. The application by Trinity Development Group proposes to retain and rehabilitate the old Standard Bread Company building, according to City of Ottawa staff.
A rendering of a proposed mixed-use development at 145 Loretta Ave. and 951 Gladstone Ave. in Hintonburg. The application by Trinity Development Group proposes to retain and rehabilitate the old Standard Bread Company building, according to City of Ottawa staff. Trinity Development Group / Hobin Architecture

That proposed development plan “includes the retention and adaptive reuse of the Standard Bread Company Bakery” and the subcommittee heard the owner might remove the white paint from the red brick façade and restore the building’s parapet.

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Staff support protecting the building under the Ontario Heritage Act because it’s a “good example of an early 20th century industrial building” and its design reflects its former use as a factory. In their report, planning staff highlighted the  “large flared mushroom columns [that] provide large open spaces in the interior.”

The building itself was designed by Sydney Comber, an architect known for his design of bakeries and dairy production facilities across Canada, providing added value, staff argued.

Trinity “does not object” to the heritage designation request for the old factory, according to planning staff.

An image of the former Standard Bread Company factory at 951 Gladstone Ave., taken in 2010 before the parapet was removed due to storm damage.
An image of the former Standard Bread Company factory at 951 Gladstone Ave., taken in 2010 before the parapet was removed due to storm damage. City of Ottawa

Jeff Leiper, the councillor for the area, told Global News he “fully supports designating the building” but reserved further comment until he had combed through the details of the report. The community he represents has “been vocal for years” in favour of heritage designation for the property, the councillor added.

While the designation would be good news, Hoad said the community association remains “very concerned” that the artists currently using the space will be “forced to leave” as a result of the proposed development, which has yet to be considered by the city’s planning committee.

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Hoad said the association plans to work with the city and the developer to retain the “affordable space” for artists – without whom, she argued, the building might have been subject to demolition or demolition by neglect.

“We owe those artists,” she said.

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Committee chair Coun. Glen Gower said the city “doesn’t have a direct hand” on that issue but based on Tuesday’s discussion at city hall, he thinks the building “still has the potential to be a really interesting urban space.”

“I think if you look at other interesting, former industrial uses, they tend to attract that kind of interesting business, whether it’s artists or whether it’s a creative company,” Gower said. “So I hope we see the same thing.”

READ MORE: Ottawa’s old, industrial Booth Street Complex on track for heritage status

The heritage designation application will go to planning committee for approval in January and, after that, Ottawa city council. Gower said he’s pleased to see the file move forward and saluted the participation of the property owner and the community association in the process.

“There’s so much renewal happening around that Preston Street corridor … I just had a fear that development pressures would make this one of these battles that we would have to fight on to save this building,” Gower said.

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Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club also on track for heritage designation

The built heritage subcommittee also voted unanimously Tuesday to go after heritage designation for the Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club on Cameron Avenue in Old Ottawa South.

The property owner came forward with the request for heritage status “in order to improve their chance of receiving a grant” from the federal department of heritage, planning staff said. The owner is hoping to score about $500,000 towards restoration plans for the property, according to staff.

An image of the Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club at 176 Cameron St. in Old Ottawa South.
An image of the Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club at 176 Cameron St. in Old Ottawa South. City of Ottawa
An undated image of the north façade of the Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club at 176 Cameron Ave. in Old Ottawa South.
An undated image of the north façade of the Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club at 176 Cameron Ave. in Old Ottawa South. City of Ottawa Archives

The sports clubhouse was built around 1923 and it’s been used as one since. Staff support pursuing heritage designation because it “reflects an era when tennis and lawn bowling were becoming popular sports for the middle class in Canada” and because “it is a landmark that also defines the character of this part of the early 20th century neighbourhood in Old Ottawa South.”

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Area councillor Shawn Menard also said he supports the heritage designation.

The application will now be expedited to council for approval on Wednesday to allow the property owner to finish their application for the federal grant, Gower said.

Vars set to get first designated heritage building

The rural Ottawa community of Vars is also on track to get its first designated heritage building after Tuesday’s meeting.

Members of the subcommittee voted unanimously in favour of protecting a former Traders Bank of Canada building at 1824 Farwel Street in the east-end community, once a “prosperous” railway village in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The old brick-clad bank was built in 1910 by the Traders Bank of Canada and later operated as a Royal Bank of Canada branch. It was converted into a residence in the 1950s, according to planning staff.

The property is “one of the few remaining former commercial buildings in Vars,” staff said in their report. The building’s owner came to the city to request the designation this summer after the property was added to the municipality’s updated heritage register, staff told the subcommittee.

In an email, Cumberland Coun. Stephen Blais said he hasn’t received any negative feedback from the community on the proposal and he discuss it with staff next week. The file will go to council for approval at the end of January.

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Coun. Rick Chiarelli was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

An image of the former Traders Banks of Canada building at 1824 Farwel Street in Vars, a community in Ottawa’s rural east end.
An image of the former Traders Banks of Canada building at 1824 Farwel Street in Vars, a community in Ottawa’s rural east end. City of Ottawa
An image of the former Traders Banks of Canada building at 1824 Farwel Street in Vars, a community in Ottawa’s rural east end.
An image of the former Traders Banks of Canada building at 1824 Farwel Street in Vars, a community in Ottawa’s rural east end. City of Ottawa
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