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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Image of the Past: Ottawa’s Summer Houses


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Image: Summer House
Location: Parliament Hill, Ottawa
Date of photo: Pre 1900 (exact date unknown)
Photographer/Source: Samuel J. Jarvis, Library and Archives Canada

When american landscape architect Calvert Vaux was hired in 1873 to design the public grounds around Parliament Hill, his design included the picturesque component of little pavilions known as summer houses. According to Canada’s Historic Places, “Pathways, flower beds and an ornamental summerhouse were added behind the buildings in subsequent years, although the flower beds and summerhouse are no longer present, as parking needs replaced much of the early landscape design.”

A replica of one of the summer houses built remains behind Centre Block.

Images of the various summer houses which once doted Parliament Hill and the surrounding area can be found on Library and Archives Canada.