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City hall heritage experts recommend approving the controversial Château Laurier addition

June 11, 2018
Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen

City heritage planners support the Château Laurier’s proposed design for its glassy seven-storey addition, despite hearing strong opposition from the volunteer advocacy group concerned with preserving the integrity of Ottawa’s historic sites.

In one of Ottawa’s most controversial development files in the past two years, the city’s experts have decided they can get behind the proposed design for an addition to a capital landmark.

City staff published their recommendations in a report Monday evening ahead of a built-heritage subcommittee meeting, which is scheduled for next Monday. Ultimately, it’s a political decision, since city council will have the final say on the design in potentially one if its final major votes before the summer legislative break and the fall municipal election.

“The proposed addition respects and is deferential to the historic Château Laurier hotel, allowing it, as one of Canada’s most important Château style railway hotels, to continue to be viewed and appreciated as a landmark building within the cultural heritage landscape,” staff say in the report.

Larco Investments wants to expand the hotel with more long-stay rooms and meeting spaces. The addition will be built at the back of the hotel where there was a parking structure, but it needs approval from city hall because the property is protected by provincial heritage law.

Heritage Ottawa called the latest concept “the most disgraceful act of heritage vandalism of our generation.”

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