Carleton surprised by Heritage Register listing

Carleton has been blindsided by the City of Ottawa’s announcement that Dunton Tower, Paterson Hall and the Architecture Building might be added to Ottawa’s Heritage Register at an upcoming council meeting.

According to the City’s website, the register is part of the Ontario Heritage Act, which aims to identify buildings in Ontario which are of historical and cultural significance. The website says Ottawa holds approximately 3,500 designated heritage properties on the Act’s list.

The tallest building on campus, Dunton Tower honours the memory of Carleton’s longest serving president, A. Davidson Dunton, who presided over the university from 1958 to 1972, Carleton’s website states. An Ottawa Citizen article says the tower was built around 1970 and is a “landmark building” for campus and the community and calls the brick corners of the building “unique” for the city.

Paterson Hall is named after Norman Paterson, one of Canada’s longest serving senators who donated to Carleton’s international affairs program. According to the Ottawa Citizen, it was built around 1958 and is one of the oldest buildings on campus.

The article notes that the Architecture Building was built between 1969 and 1971 and is a strong example of brutalist architecture, designed by Jeff Stinson and Carmen Corneil, two renowned architects. According to the Ottawa Citizen, it was inspired by 1920s Toronto terminal warehouse.

While being on the Heritage Register does not restrict building owners from making changes to their properties, it does require the provision of 60 days notice if building demolition is planned. According to the Ottawa Citizen, the risk of being added to the Register is that if notice of demolition is received, city council members could motion to designate a building as a heritage property, which would restrict a building owners’ ability to demolish.

Sally Coutts, the Heritage Services co-ordinator for the City of Ottawa said the notification period allows for discussion surrounding the heritage value of a property facing demolition.

“In that time, we can ask them to do a little more research, or we do a little more research, and determine whether or not the building has designation under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, and protection—because buildings on the register are not protected—and if that’s the case then we would notify the owner and initiate the designation,” Coutts said. “If not, the 60 days runs out, and they are issued a demolition permit.”

According to the Act, a notice of designation would mean that any building permits, such as those required to erect or demolish a building, would be void, thereby protecting buildings from further development. As a result, the potential designation of Carleton’s buildings as heritage properties could impede the university’s plans for further development.

According to Coutts, a sufficient notice period was provided to Carleton by city council that buildings were being considered for the Heritage Register.

“We do have a process of notification that we undertake for every time we’re adding a batch of buildings to the register, and we followed that process,” Coutts said.

Darryl Boyce, the vice-president of Facilities Management and Planning at Carleton, explained in an email that it is hard to say what being on the Register might mean for Carleton. According to him, the direction given by council was unclear.

“There were mixed answers from the City on the impact of being on the registry [sic],” Boyce said.

According to Boyce, the City will vote on whether or not Carleton’s selected buildings will be added to the Heritage Register on Sept. 12.


Photo by Meagan Casalino