The City received a site plan control application for an addition to the rear of the Château Laurier in December 2016. Planning staff requested comments from the public and interest groups through three formal circulations (winter 2017, winter 2018 and winter 2019). Council approved the demolition of the parking garage in January 2018. Council conditionally approved the application to alter the heritage building in spring 2018.
Circulation 1 (February 14 to March 15, 2017)
This As We Heard It Report [PDF 475 KB] summarizes the completed feedback form submissions. City planning staff have read all of the public comments received and have updated the Frequently Asked Questions in response.
The City also convened a group of heritage professionals to provide expert advice on the design of the addition. The Heritage Working Group met three times between February and April 2017, and offered design feedback directly to the architect and design team. Staff from the City and the National Capital Commission, and the property owner were also present at the meetings of the Heritage Working Group.
City staff and NCC staff also provided feedback on the original design and subsequent iterations throughout the spring, summer and fall of 2017. Key discussion points included:
- Height and massing
- Roof expression
- Window patterns
- Stone or glass exterior cladding
- Addition to appear as a standalone building beside the iconic architecture of the hotel
- Public realm interface and how the building connects to the adjacent Rideau Canal terraces, Major’s Hill Park and Mackenzie Avenue
Parking garage demolition (2018)
On January 31, 2018, City Council approved an application to demolish the garage of the Château Laurier. The garage was structurally unsound and the applicant planned to demolish the upper four storeys, leaving a surface parking lot for guests.
Circulation 2 (February 9 to March 9, 2018)
In response to these comments, Larco submitted a revised proposal in February 2018. City staff held a community meeting on February 28, 2018, and approximately 80 people attended. You may watch the presentation on Rogers TV.
As before, City planning staff read all of the comments (emails, comment sheets, telephone calls) and summarized the completed feedback form submissions. Staff identified a variety of themes:
- No change should be permitted
- An addition should match the existing hotel’s architecture
- The proposed design lacks compatibility
- The design should be bolder.
- The addition is too high and obscures views to the existing building
- The addition will alter sight lines along Mackenzie Avenue.
- Glass is not an appropriate exterior material
- The architecture is undesirable
The property is within a Design Priority Area and the Site Plan Control application was subject to the Urban Design Review Panel (UDRP) process. The architect and the Larco team presented their proposal to the UDRP at a formal review meeting on March 1, 2018, which was open to the public, and at a focused design review session on April 10 with City staff and three panel members. The March 1 recommendations and both sessions informed the changes within the May 2018 revised proposal.
Heritage permit application approved with conditions (June 2018)
In May 2018, Larco Investments submitted a proposal for a seven-storey, 164-room addition at the rear of the existing Château Laurier. City staff supported this design and wrote a report with recommendations to the Built Heritage Sub-Committee (BHSC).
On June 27, 2018, City Council gave conditional approval to the application to alter the Chateau Laurier at 1 Rideau Street, a property designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act.
The Built Heritage Sub-Committee had recommended approval of the addition’s massing and location and the proposed landscaping, but indicated that more work was required to make the addition more visually compatible with the existing hotel.
The sub-committee directed staff to work with the applicant to visually and physically break up the massing of the addition as seen from the north. There was also direction to increase the amount of limestone used and to ensure that all façades draw inspiration from the window patterns and architectural elements of the historic hotel.
Through this decision, Council did not require that the addition be changed to a Château-style building nor that exact architectural elements be copied from the existing hotel.
Circulation 3 (February 25 to March 18, 2019)
To address the conditions of the heritage permit issued in June 2018, Larco Investments altered the exterior design of the proposed addition and submitted new plans in February 2019.
The architect and the Larco team presented their proposal to the UDRP on March 1, 2019, and the UDRP provided their recommendations, which informed the changes made in the spring 2019 version.
Spring 2019 design (for Site Plan Approval)
City staff wrote a Site Plan Control report to the Planning Committee (PC) recommending approval. On June 13, 2019, Planning Committee approved the site plan control application.