Built Heritage Committee


Meeting #:
Champlain Room, 110 Laurier Avenue West, and by electronic participation
  • Chair: Councillor Rawlson King, 
  • Vice-Chair: Councillor Stéphanie Plante, 
  • Councillor Clarke Kelly, 
  • Councillor Jeff Leiper, 
  • Councillor Ariel Troster, 
  • Member Vaibhavi Dhote, 
  • Member Christine Legault, 
  • Member James Maddigan, 
  • and Member Carolyn Quinn 

Mélanie Blais, Committee Coordinator
(613) 580-2424, ext. 27005, [email protected]

Notices and meeting information are attached to the agenda and minutes, including: availability of simultaneous interpretation and accessibility accommodations; in camera meeting procedures; information items not subject to discussion; personal information disclaimer for correspondents and public speakers; notices regarding minutes; and hybrid participation details.

Accessible formats and communication supports are available, upon request.

Except where otherwise indicated, reports requiring Council consideration will be presented to Council on May 29, 2024 in Built Heritage Committee Report 14A.

The deadline to register by phone to speak, or submit written comments or visual presentations is 4 pm on May 13, and the deadline to register by email to speak is 8:30 am on May 14.

This motion was referred to the Built Heritage Committee by Ottawa City Council on May 1, 2024. A report will be submitted to Ottawa City Council on May 15, 2024.

  • WHEREAS there is evidence that the former Catholic graveyard located at Macdonald Gardens Park, located near Rideau and Cobourg Streets contains the remains of victims of the Great Irish Famine 1845-1851. They were among the thousands of Famine refugees who arrived in Bytown in the summer of 1847, malnourished and often suffering from typhus; and  

    WHEREAS the Irish Famine refugees were met with heroic compassion in Ottawa by, among others, Sister Bruyère and the Sisters of Charity, the Oblate fathers, Dr Van Cortlandt, other clergy and women volunteers; and

    WHEREAS, of the 106,812 Irish Famine refugees who made the voyage to Canada in the summer of 1847, one fifth died either on passage or on Canadian soil. Yet the vast majority of them survived and prospered, testament to the resilience of the human spirit when offered compassion, hope and opportunity; and

    WHEREAS the Irish of Bytown-Ottawa helped shape this city. Countless Irish who came to Bytown throughout the 19th century to build the Rideau Canal, work in the lumber industry, and farm the Ottawa and Gatineau Valleys; and

    WHEREAS Canadians and Indigenous people provided compassionate care to Irish immigrants, the exemplary efforts of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations will be recognized as part of the National Famine Way project in Ireland, which commemorates the journey undertaken by 1,490 famine emigrants who walked from Strokestown, County Roscommon, to ships in Dublin Port during the Irish Famine of the 1840s; and

    WHEREAS an ambitious plan has emerged in partnership with the National Famine Museum in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon, Ireland, to extend the commemoration of the Irish Famine Emigrant Way to Canada; and

    WHEREAS the symbol marking the Famine Way in Ireland is a pair of bronze shoes that signifies the hopeful journey and flight from famine; and 

    WHEREAS a number of these bronze shoes will arrive from Ireland aboard the ship Celtic Explorer on May 9, 2024 in Newfoundland. From there, they will be shipped to various locations across Canada where monuments will be erected at Grosse-Ile, Quebec City, Montreal and Toronto, with other communities actively considering doing so as well; and

    WHEREAS the installation of the monuments will take place throughout the summer of 2024 across Eastern and Central Canada; and

    WHEREAS the Ambassador of Ireland to Canada, Eammon McKee, is an avid historian of the Irish in Canada and enthusiastic supporter of this project; and

    WHEREAS the entire cost of shipping, production and installation of the Bronze Shoes memorial in Macdonald Gardens Park will be covered by the fundraising efforts of the Bytown Famine Monument Committee,

    WHEREAS Macdonald Gardens Park is a park cherished by the residents of Lowertown. Frederick Gage Todd, a noted Canadian landscape architect, is recognized for designing some of the country's best urban parks, including Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg (1904-06), Bowring Park in St. John's, Newfoundland (1912-14), and National Battlefields Parks (Plains of Abraham) in Québec City,

    WHEREAS the Macdonald Gardens Park is designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act and installation of such a monument will require a heritage permit; and

    WHEREAS public consultation on the Park’s proposed Heritage Conservation Plan is imminent; and

    WHEREAS it would be beneficial to provide residents, including those of Lowertown, of the city, and of the Irish diaspora in Ottawa to have the opportunity to express their views on an installation of a memorial; and.

    WHEREAS the Built Heritage Committee is the Committee responsible for advising and assisting Council on matters relating to Parts IV and V of the Ontario Heritage Act.

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the following Motion be referred to the Built Heritage Committee meeting on May 14, 2024 for review and recommendation to Council on May 15, 2024:

    BE IT RESOLVED that Ottawa will participate in the Bronze Shoes project by facilitating the erection of an Irish Famine Grave Monument within Macdonald Gardens Park or other location as deemed appropriate as a restoration of the memory of those victims of the Great Irish Famine whose remains lie in Ottawa, and as a space to contemplate humanity’s capacity for compassion and resilience; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, staff be directed to work with the Bytown Famine Monument Committee to resolve details such as installation location, installation details, required permits, and maintenance and liability requirements; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, while careful to preserve the heritage attributes and facility of Macdonald gardens Park for the citizens of Ottawa at the proposed site, the memorial will serve a number of purposes:

    • To thank Canada for its response to the Irish humanitarian disaster and to recognize the particularly heroic efforts of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Wendat First Nations and other first responders who received the unprecedented waves of famine refugees suffering from an unknown disease of often-fatal effect, even at the cost of their own lives.
    • To remember the victims of the Great Irish Famine who arrived in Bytown and to recall the great humanitarian disaster that reached Canadian shores.
    • To celebrate the resilience of the human spirit in the face of disaster; that though twenty thousand Irish died, ninety thousand survived and prospered with the gift of hope and a new beginning in Canada.
    • To enrich the public experience of the existing city park by introducing a sobering reminder of the original purpose of the site as a resting place through innovative design. 
    • To create a space for contemplation on ground hallowed by the city’s history and the remains who lie there.
    • To create an inspirational symbol of the power of compassion, hope and opportunity to transform the lives of all those who arrive on a stranger’s shore.
  • Amendment:

    WHEREAS, on May 1, 2024, a motion was referred by Ottawa City Council to the Built Heritage Committee to review a proposal to commemorate victims of the Irish Famine with a monument and directed the Committee to make a recommendation to Ottawa City Council on May 15, 2024; and
    WHEREAS the Committee has determined that the Macdonald Gardens Park is the appropriate location for the proposed monument;
    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the May 1, 2024 motion be amended to delete the following words “or other location as deemed appropriate” and “installation location.”

File No. ACS2024-PDB-RHU-0044 – Somerset (Ward 14)

The statutory 90-day timeline for consideration of this application under the Ontario Heritage Act will expire on June 26, 2024.

  • Report recommendations

    That the Built Heritage Committee recommend that Council:

    1. Approve the application to demolish the building at 267 O’Connor Street conditional upon: 
      1. The applicant constructing a Privately Owned Public Space in accordance with the requirements attached in Document 6. 
    2. Delegate the authority to the General Manager, Planning, Development and Building Services Department to negotiate and execute a Development Agreement with the applicant for the design and construction of a temporary Privately Owned Public Space. 
    3. Delegate the authority for minor design changes to the Program Manager, Heritage Planning, Planning, Development and Building Services.
    4. Approve the issuance of the heritage permit with a three-year expiry date from the date of the Development Agreement registration unless otherwise extended by Council.

File No. ACS2024-PDB-RHU-0043 - Somerset (Ward 14)

This report will be submitted to Ottawa City Council on May 15, 2024. The statutory 90-day timeline for consideration of this application under the Ontario Heritage Act will expire on May 25, 2024.

  • Report recommendations

    That the Built Heritage Committee recommend that Council:

    1. Not withdraw the Notice of Intention to Designate the former W.C. Edwards and Company building, 290 City Centre Avenue and proceed with the designation process under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act.
    2. Suspend the notice required under Subsections 29(3) and 34(1) of the Procedure By-law to consider this report at its meeting on May 15, 2024 in order decide this matter within the legislated timeline.

Next Meeting

June 11, 2024.