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.


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