Architectural Mutilation on Queen Street

Although I prefer ultra modern architecture, I do have an appreciation for historical buildings. I particularly like the ones that have been beautifully and intelligently modernized, keeping some key design elements of the structure that give the building its unique personality. A good example of that would be the CheBanca, an Italian bank in Milan designed by Crea International. As you can see below, although the interior is very modern, the exterior was kept intact. There's a harmonious marriage between the old and the new.

Back in Ottawa, I was shocked when I discovered the following "update" on Queen. It looks like a large concrete wall was poured right in front of two buildings, leaving a few wholes for some small doors. Next to the "GOODLife fitness" sign, you can still see the left over from the previous signage. Talk about laziness and lack of care and consideration for the architecture! I wonder what possessed the decision maker in this project to do such a thing. It looks like a bunker! It's definitely one of the ugliest jobs I've seen so far on a building.

It's too bad really. The building on the left has great large windows with such great potential. Those buildings could have been so much more: residential lofts, offices lofts, boutique for a local fashion designer... What a shame.


  1. I believe it looks like a bunker because it was formerly a fur store....and needed to be bunker like. Exceedingly ugly though regardless of the reasons for its devolution.

  2. The Green Papaya used to be the Mayflower II, the city's best downtown pub, and probably as close as you'll get to a real urban watering hole like you see in NYC etc. There's still a cool dead-end alley in use beside it.

  3. I loved the Mayflower Pub, it's too bad it closed...it was there for so long too. Very neat building for a pub and i loved the little train that they had displayed on the 3rd floor.
    That's just so tacky you can see the original sign underneath...I agree, it just reeks of laziness! And it also gives the nearby buildings a bit of a dumpy look too.

  4. Anonymous had it wrong... This used to be the back (the front being on Sparks Street) of the old Marks & Spencer store; this had been three buildings which were effectively mashed together in the 50s or 60s to accomodate the one bigger store. The smaller door towards the right had been its freight door, the larger set of doors were the Queen Street entrance, and there were two or three sets of doors on Sparks Street when it had been... well, Sparks Street instead of the half-vacant alleyway it now seems to be.

  5. I'm gaining myself but before it was Mark's & Spencer's, it was Metropolitan the pre-cursor of the dollar store. The entrance was on Sparks with an addition egress on Queen Street. Before Good Life took over the building, it sat vacant and looked to be on its last legs.

    Where the CBC building is now use to be F.W. Woolworths. On Sparks Street, next to what is now Hallmark's, was Dover Hardware, which too was renovated and left to sit empty, thanks to the NCC.

    Ottawa use to have numerous stores on Sparks Street before the NCC decided to cut the street in half, charging twice the rent as the city and having twice the budget to renovate at will.


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