Where in Ottawa? The answer…sort of

We’ve had no correct answers to our first Where in Ottawa contest. even after two times of asking, so it’s time to move on!

The building in question is the Former Bank of Montreal Building at the corner of O’Connor and Wellington (through to Sparks Street). This 1932 RAIC Gold Medal winning building was designed by Ernest Barott of Barott and Blackader out of Montreal in 1929. Barott is also known for designing the Aldred Building in Montreal on Place D’Armes which was designed during the same time as the Former Bank of Montreal.

While the building clearly shows influences of a variety of styles, the best characterization of the building is Modern Classicism, which is a strain of Art Deco. The exterior of the building is directly related to the interior of the building reading like a temple with the primary volume of the building, the Main Hall reading clearly on the exterior of the building; the two flanking, shorter sections serve as support spaces to the Main Hall. On the exterior of the building the base of the building is clad in Stanstead Granite, from Quebec and Queenston Limestone, from Ontario. These materials are important to the history of the building since part of the original competition brief was that the materials needed to be Canadian: most of the exterior materials are Canadian, but a number of the materials used on the interior are foreign in origin. Critical to this contest is the nine principle Emil Seiburn (New York City based artist)carved panels above a number of the openings.

The final portion of the question will not be answered today. I encourage everyone to take a look at these panels to find the Bank’s likeness within one of the scene and email us your answer. Bonus points to people who find the Montreal head office of the Bank of Montreal featured in another panel.


  1. Than you for profiling one of my favourite buildings in the city. I somehow missed your “Where in Ottawa?” post earlier….! This building is somehow, oddly, the only one I remember from my first trip to Ottawa when I was 8 years old.

  2. That’s the Old Bank of Montreal building (now gov’t offices) at Wellington and O’Conner.

  3. This building is about to be transformed into a new “200 West Block” – or multi-purpose room for Parliament Hill – to be used for grand celebrations, committees and receptions while the interior of West Block is refurbished. It’s a grand way to revive the space.

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