Two Old Ottawa East Churches, One Riverdale Avenue Residence Added to Ottawa’s Heritage Registry

John Dance

The rich heritage of Old Ottawa East got a recent boost with City Council’s addition of two churches and a “prairie style” house to the built heritage registry.

Both Church of the Ascension on Echo Drive and Calvary Baptist Church on Main Street are now heritage-listed as is the residential property at 100 Riverdale Avenue, about three blocks off of Main Street.

Church of the Ascension's design was inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement. Photo by John Dance

Church of the Ascension’s design was inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement. Photo by John Dance

Ascension was built in 1919 and is, according to the report that went to the City’s Built Heritage sub-committee, “A rare example of a vernacular church inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement.” It was designed by Allan Wilfred Horwood who was a member of the well-known Horwood family of architects who lived and worked in Ottawa and Winnipeg.

When the congregation moved from their old building at 115 Echo Drive (former Church of the Holy Trinity and now demolished), it took along items from the original, including several stained-glass windows.

Calvary Baptist Church is a representative example of a vernacular red brick church built in the early decades of the twentieth century. Photo by John Dance

Calvary Baptist Church is a representative example of a vernacular red brick church built in the early decades of the twentieth century. Photo by John Dance

Calvary Baptist Church was built nine years earlier and is, according to the staff report, “A representative example of a vernacular red brick church built in the early decades of the twentieth century. The building has a prominent location on Main Street and is associated with the growth and development of Old Ottawa East.” A onestorey addition was constructed in 1960.

The house on Riverdale Avenue, situated two flights of stairs above the roadway, is “a representative example of a residence designed in the Prairie style. Few buildings in Ottawa reflect the tenets of Prairie style, an American architectural style closely associated with Frank Lloyd Wright. The building is characterized by its horizontal lines and volumes, two storeys with singlestorey wings, wide over-hanging eaves, brick and stucco cladding, decorative wood brackets, discreet side entrances, stained glass, pattern of rectangular openings and its landscaped front yard.”

100 Riverdale is on of the few Ottawa examples of the Prairie style of Frank Lloyd Wright. Photo by John Dance

100 Riverdale is on of the few Ottawa examples of the Prairie style of Frank Lloyd Wright. Photo by John Dance

“The building is associated with the development of Old Ottawa South and East,” notes the staff report. “A depression during the 1890s stymied development in this area until the annexation by the City in 1907, and the construction of the Bank Street Bridge over the Rideau Canal in 1912 and the Pretoria Bridge in 1915. The bridges permitted the expansion of the streetcar line and spurred rapid development in the neighbourhood.”

The addition of these structures to the heritage registry means that if demolition was proposed a review of the heritage significance would have to be completed within 60 days. If the review resulted in a heritage designation then redevelopment plans would have to reflect this.

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