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Ottawa Central Library

Ottawa Central Library Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments

Project update (July 2018)

Further updates pending submission of Site Plan application.

Development of an inclusive, dynamic Central Library enabling creation and learning is a strategic priority for both Ottawa Public Library and the City of Ottawa. Following extensive planning and public consultation, the City of Ottawa will be building a new Ottawa Central Library to replace the Ottawa Public Library’s Main branch.

The Ottawa Central Library is being pursued as a joint facility with Library and Archives Canada (LAC), pending Government of Canada approval. The library’s location at 557 Wellington Street (corner of Albert Street and Commissioner Street) was selected through a site selection process and approved by City Council in February 2017. Council approved the Project, the partnership with LAC, the funding and the implementation plan on June 13, 2018.

City Council approved the Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment applications on July 11, 2018. The approvals showed a mixed-use development concept at 557 and 584 Wellington Street and 550 Albert Street, including a library at 557 Wellington Street.

As part of the design process, the Ottawa Central Library will continue to engage the public and will bring forward a Site Plan application as well as applications to the City’s Urban Design Review Panel and the NCC’s Federal Land Use Design and Transaction Approvals. For more information, please visit: ottawacentrallibrary.ca

Development proposal overview

On February 8, 2017, Ottawa City Council approved 557 Wellington Street as the site for the new Ottawa Central Library. 

The City of Ottawa’s Corporate Real Estate Office and the National Capital Commission  submitted Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment applications to the Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department for review. The applications are to permit mixed-use development generally in line with:

  •  The Escarpment Area District Plan at 557 and 584 Wellington Street and 550 Albert Street;
  • The Central Area, as designated in the Official Plan, as the central place in the region for employment and shopping while also allowing residential, cultural and entertainment uses; and
  • Transit Oriented Development objectives for mixed use development centred at rapid transit stations.

A library is a permitted use under the mixed-use designation.  

The applications include a concept of mixed-use buildings with heights up to 83 metres, including a 40-metre-tall library. 

REVISED Planning Rationale and Design Brief, see pages 23 to 26 for concept plans.

Application details

Official Plan Amendment

The Official Plan Amendment changed the policies  associated with the Lebreton Flats character area of the Central Area Secondary Plan. The amendment redesignated 557 and 584 Wellington Street and 550 Albert Street from residential to mixed-use and increased the maximum building heights from six and eight storeys to a built form that will allow a maximum height of 83 metres (25 storeys) at 584 Wellington Street and 40 metres at 557 Wellington Street. 

For detailed information about the amendment, please read the Council approved amendments and staff report from July 11, 2018.

Official Plan Amendment location map [PDF 1.457 MB]

Learn more about the Official Plan amendment process. 

Zoning By-law Amendment

The zoning by-law amendment application amended Zoning By-law 2008-250 to:

  • Permit a range of residential, commercial and institutional uses at 557, 584 and part of 587 Wellington Street
  • Increase the maximum building height from 20 metres to 40 metres at 557 Wellington Street and
  • Increase the maximum building height from 20, 25 and 33 metres to 83 metres at 584 and part of 587 Wellington Street

The zoning by-law amendment does not apply to 550 Albert Street.  

Zoning by-law amendment location map [ PDF 1.417 MB ]

Learn more about the zoning by-law amendment process. 

Future planning applications 

Before the development can proceed, the applicant must submit a Site Plan Control application to the City for approval. The public will be notified when an application is submitted and will have an opportunity to comment on aspects of the site like the building massing and design, public realm and landscaping, and pedestrian amenity spaces. 

For more information, please contact the file lead:

Andrew McCreight, Planner II
Development Review – Central
Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development
Email: andrew.mccreight@ottawa.ca
Tel.: 613-580-2424, ext. 22568
Fax: 613-560-6006