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Ottawa Hospital looks for ways to salvage heritage at Sir John Carling site

David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen
March 5, 2018

Unless The Ottawa Hospital can build a new Civic campus around the old cafeteria at the Sir John Carling Building, the historic structure the government saved when it dynamited the rest of the old office tower is doomed, under the terms of the hospital’s new lease.

The federal government is letting the hospital use the property that used to hold Agriculture Canada’s headquarters, just northwest of Dow’s Lake, to build a new hospital and replace the century-old Civic building a few blocks west on Carling Avenue. They signed a lease for the land 10 days ago and, after a week of delay, released almost all the terms late Friday.

Who cares about a government cafeteria, right? Well, this one’s unusual. Hidden away in the trees on the bluff, the “west annex” to the Sir John Carling Building opened in 1967, in an era when we built government stuff really nicely.

Like the rest of the razed complex, the cafeteria building was designed by Hart Massey, a prominent architect and son of Vincent Massey the governor general. The cafeteria was a huge open space without supports breaking it up, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the grounds — “vast expanses of glass,” in the words of a heritage study the government finished last December.

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