October 11, 2018
Vito Pilieci, Ottawa Citizen
The National Capital Commission is asking for public input on how to best preserve the Congrégation des Servantes de Jésus-Marie convent in Gatineau.
The federal agency bought the property at 210 rue Laurier and the surrounding land for $7.8 million in 2016.
It’s launching an online survey to gather ideas for the use of the buildings on the property, which it believes could enhance Jacques-Cartier Park as a recreational and natural public space.
The site has been home to a cloistered community of nuns since 1902. The Congrégation des Servantes de Jésus-Marie was originally established in Masson in 1894, the congregation was relocated to Aylmer in 1898, and finally to Hull in 1902 as it continued to grow.
The convent was built in 1911 but is not considered a heritage site. The chapel dates back to 1926. The 2.15-acre riverfront site was the last piece of private land in Jacques-Cartier Park.
Pope John Paul II performed a private mass in the convent’s chapel during his visit to Canada in 1984.
The NCC wants to showcase the convent’s history and preserve features that convey its heritage. It wants to to blend the property and surrounding lands into neighbouring Jacques-Cartier Park in a manner that allows visitors to move freely around the monastery and enhance public access to the Ottawa River riverfront.