Why is Larco changing the hotel?
The addition is being proposed to address the growing need for long-term stay accommodations in Ottawa and to replace the old parking garage.
For a more detailed explanation, please visit Larco’s project website.
What planning approvals are required?
The applicant must submit applications to the City of Ottawa for site plan control, minor variance and a heritage permit application.
Who will approve the applications?
The Manager of the Development Review Central Branch will approve the site plan control application through delegated authority unless the ward councillor requests to withdraw this authority. If delegated authority is withdrawn, City staff will make recommendations to Planning Committee, which will make the final decision.
The Committee of Adjustment will make the final decision on the minor variance application.
City Council will make the final decision on the heritage application and only the property owner can appeal Council’s decision. City staff will make recommendations to the Built Heritage Sub-Committee, which would then be considered by Planning Committee and City Council. If the application is approved, City Council will issue a heritage permit to allow construction to proceed.
Can the application decisions be appealed?
A resident has the right to appeal the Committee of Adjustment’s decision on the minor variance application. Appeals must be filed within 20 days of the date of the Committee’s written decision and include the reasons for the appeal and the fee. Only the property owner can appeal the Manager’s decision on the site plan control application or Council’s decision on the heritage application. The Ontario Municipal Board hears appeals against development applications while the Conservation Review Board hears appeals against heritage applications.
What is the Official Plan context for the property?
The property is designated Central Area in the Official Plan. It is also within the Canal Character Area of the Central Area Secondary Plan.
In the Canal Character Area:
- The focus is on leisure, cultural, institutional, judicial and government uses within a unique historical open space environment
- Development is to be predominantly low to medium profile and respectful of the heritage character of the area
- Significant views are to be protected, particularly of the Parliament Buildings
- Vehicular impacts on the pedestrian-oriented character of the area are to be minimized
The Central Area Secondary Plan does not contain policies specific to the Château Laurier property.
Several Scenic Entry Routes surround the property. The Official Plan identifies both Wellington/Rideau Street and Mackenzie Avenue and part of Confederation Boulevard as distinctive streets [PDF 1.67 MB].
What zoning regulations apply to the property?
The Château Laurier property is zoned Mixed-Use Downtown and is within the Heritage Overlay. The maximum floor space index is 4.5.
Is there a height limit?
The Heritage Overlay requires the height of the addition’s walls and roof not to exceed those of the heritage building.
What are the required setbacks?
There are no required setbacks in the Mixed-Use Downtown zone. The Heritage Overlay provisions require an addition to a heritage building to be set in at least 60 centimetres more than the existing side wall.
Why does the proposal not meet the zoning and require a minor variance?
A minor variance is required to exempt the proposal from a provision of the Heritage Overlay, which states that, where a building subject to the heritage overlay is removed or destroyed, it must be rebuilt with the same character, scale, massing, volume and floor area, and in the same location as existed prior to its removal or destruction. Larco’s proposal is to remove the parking garage and replace it with an addition that is different from what existed.
What is the heritage status of the hotel?
The City of Ottawa designated the Château Laurier under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act in 1978 for its architectural and historical value. The designation by-law includes the following reasons for designation:
The Château Laurier at Rideau Street and Mackenzie Avenue, is recommended for designation as being of historical and architectural value. Erected 1908-1912 by the Grand Trunk Railway Company, and subsequently enlarged in keeping with the original architectural style, the hotel was built in the late Victorian French Chateau style, as designed by Montreal architects Ross and MacFarlane. This was in contrast to the initial Gothic Revival proposal. The romantic attractiveness of the Chateau Style became incorporated in a series of hotels across Canada. Sir Wilfred Laurier was the first to sign the register. From 1930-35 R.B. Bennett resided here. Over the years, the Chateau has served as a second home for many M.P.s and Senators, providing a dignified, hospitable and lively Ottawa residence.
In addition to the designation under the Ontario Heritage Act, the Historic Properties and Monuments Board of Canada has designated the Château Laurier as a National Historic Property. This designation is commemorative only and does not carry any restrictions.
How do Heritage Planners evaluate an addition to a designated heritage building?
Heritage planners use a variety of tools and international standards to evaluate additions to designated heritage buildings. These include Parks Canada’s Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada adopted by City Council in 2008. Standards 10, 11 and 12 specifically address rehabilitation projects. Standard 11 stresses that the heritage value and character-defining elements of a building should be conserved when an addition is constructed and that it be physically and visually compatible with, subordinate to and distinguishable from the historic place. Section 4.3.1 of the Guidelines for Buildings provides further direction on additions.
Why is there a heritage working group?
Sometimes, City staff will ask external heritage professionals for advice in assessing more high profile or complex development applications. Experience has shown that the input of independent experts often results in a better outcome. The City has invited professionals with backgrounds in heritage conservation, architecture and landscape architecture to be part of a heritage working group for the Château Laurier proposal, which will provide advice and offer solutions to the owner’s design team.
Who are the members of the heritage working group?
The working group includes five highly respected members of the heritage community:
Robert Allsopp, OALA, RPP, MCIP
Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals, architectural historian, former president of Heritage Ottawa
Robert Martin, OAA, MRAIC, CAHP, LEED AP
Principal, Robertson Martin Architects
Michael McClelland, OAA, CAHP, FRAIC
Principal, ERA Architects
John Zvonar, OALA