Commercial Block, Bank between Fifth and Fourth, east side



The building  shown in these photos was originally built in stage as several separate structures for separate businesses in the block between Fifth and Fourth Avenues between 1896 and 1909. The photos here were taken in 1974, and were profiled in a 1998 25th Anniversary edition of the Glebe Report.


 Now this appears as one continuous facade that fronts the more recent Fifth Avenue Court (and interior courtyard and addition at the back).


The main change was the removal of the building right at the corner of fifth avenue.


James. B. Hunter’s View from Top of Hunter Building, ca. 1938

As an addendum to the post the other day about Deputy Minister of Public Works, James Hunter, I thought it would be fun to show you what he would have seen from his seventh floor office in the late 1930s.  The photos are part of a larger, remarkable collection of photos created by Public Works in 1938 of downtown Ottawa.

The first image looks east along Queen Street, with its streetcar tracks and its still very low-rise streetscape.  Most of the structures here are gone, replaced by larger towers.  The Blackburn building, located off to the upper left of the image at Sparks and Metcalfe, is still standing.  Notice the ads for Birks and Murphy Gamble.

Next image swings around to look North, and here we can see a number of buildings that are still recognizable, including the Bryson-Graham department store (now Yesterdays) on the right and the Bank of Montreal centre-left.

Now we look west along Queen Street towards the intersection with Bank Street.  Most of the structures seen here, especially on the northwest and southwest side of the intersection are gone, such as the Capitol Theatre.  Some buildings that are still standing include the building on the right side (northeast corner of Bank and Queen) that has the Laura Secord store on the ground floor, and the Bank of Canada (the white building in the far right corner) and the spire of St. Andrew’s Church just behind it.  The spire of Christ Church Cathedral is just off in the distance.

Although there is now rooftop view looking south from the Hunter Building, this is what the streetscape looking south would have looked like, from just north of the O’Connor/Albert Intersection.  The only building still standing, it seems, is the Bell Telephone Company Building, on the right side of the image.

James B. Hunter on linden Terrace

imageOne of the most important figures in the development of Ottawa’s federal building landscape once lived in the Glebe.  James B. Hunter was born in Waterdown, Ontario in 1876 and came to Ottawa in 1900, first as private secretary to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries  James Sutheland, then in 1902 joined the highly influential Department of Public Works.  In six years, he rose through the ranks to become Deputy Minister of  the department in 1908.

Described in a 1938 Ottawa Citizen article as a man with few hobbies except motoring in his car,  and was considered a kindly man with few enemies.  His friends called him Jimmie, and he belonged to Ottawa Country Club, The Rideau Club, and, despite playing no gold, the Rivermead Golf Club.  He was the man who was known to say “It can be done” and was responsible for numerous public building projects across the country, including numerous post office buildings.

One of the more substantial projects he oversaw was the 1917-18 construction of the Hunter Building, which was to be one of the most massive buildings in downtown ottawa until the 1950s.  The building’s footprint covered one city block, bounded by Bank, Queen, O’Connor, and Albert. His office would be on the 7th floor of this building from 1919-41. Under Hunter’s watch, which would last for over thirty years until his death in 1942,there would be no less than five architects: David Ewart, Edgar Horwood, Richard C. Wright (the architect responsible for the “modern” design of the Hunter Building), Thomas W. Fuller, and Charles D. Sutherland. Some of the more important buildings in Ottawa constructed during his tenure include the Cereal Building at the Experimental Farm, a major addition to the Dominion Archives Building, the reconstruction of the Parliament Buildings, the Confederation Building, the Ore Building on Booth Street, and the Dept. of Justice building on Wellington. In the early years of his life in Ottawa, Hunter lived at 552 Maclaren Street, but then in 1931 he commissioned Glebe builder William D.  Hopper to construct a house at 7 Linden Terrace, a beautiful arts and crafts/Tudor revival design, with a distinctive swoosh of a roofline that descends almost to the ground across half of the front facade.


It is just a few houses in from the Rideau Canal Driveway, and near Patterson Creek park.  Designed by the Ottawa Improvement Commission along with Clemow ans Monkland Avenues, Linden Terrace had become a premier place to live:


Hunter would live here with his wife until his death in 1942 and she would live on here until 1972.


Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank and Fourth


Some of you might remember what the Bank of Nova Scotia used to look like when it stood at the southwest  corner of Bank Street and Fourth Avenue.  The bank building was as built in 1913 by the Bank of Ottawa, and operated as such until until the bank merged with the Bank of Nova Scotia in 1919.  The architect would have likely been John M. Lyle, who designed bank branches in a modest Beaux Arts style for the Bank of Ottawa between 1911-13.

Here’s another shot of it, ca. 1940s,image

This is showing the massive columns on the bank street facade, as well a sign hanging out over the sidewalk.  Also, here is an interior shot, with all the beautiful detailing.


The branch operated in this spot until 1970, and then it was demolished, and a new branch building was constructed slightly further south and a parking lot was built on the corner, as you can see in this current view.image

1922-1956 Aerial Photos of the Glebe

The following is one of the earliest air photos of the Ottawa area.


And this is roughly what the a glebe looked like from the air at that time, if we zoom in a bit. You’ll notice that a large chunk of the western end of the neighbourhood remains undeveloped, except for the large building just at the edge of the photo, which is the newly built Glebe Collegiate:


There are also air photos showing sections of the Glebe, from about 1928.  The following shows in the top centre left corner the work of the ottawa improvement commission along Patterson creek, Linden Terrace, Monkland, and Clemow through Central Park almost to Bank Street while the bottom left half shows the southeastern Glebe including First Avenue School , the Rideau Canoe Club building,  and parts of Lansdowne Park with the entrance gates at the Driveway and Fifth Avenue.


And finally, here is what the central east side of the Glebe looked like in 1956…you’ll note of course the dark line (trees) following Monkland and Clemow Avenue…fruits of the OIC’s planting efforts some fifty years before.  (Next post will look at air photos from the late 195so to the present.)