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.

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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.

 

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