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New Proposals For The Former U.S. Embassy Building

Posted by on Thursday, December 29th, 2016 at 4:22pm.

There are many up and coming neighbourhoods in Ottawa, as well as beautifully developed ones and ones that still have a lot of potential. But of course, one of the best areas of all is Parliament Hill. If you look directly across the street from the Parliament Buildings you will see the old U.S. embassy, a prime piece of real estate that has sat empty for 20 years.  

The embassy’s construction began in 1931. At the time, Canada’s foreign policy was still run out of the United Kingdom, but change was underway. The building symbolized Canada’s independence and the importance of the Canadian- U.S. relationship.

Because it’s sat empty for so long, the buildings value is difficult to determine, however other buildings in the area, such as the Lord Elgin Hotel and Bank of Canada, are valued between 50-130 million dollars.

Roughly twelve years ago, the former U.S. embassy was rumoured to become a national portrait gallery, a proposal which the Prime Minister at the time struck down.  Skip ahead to today and many more proposals for the building are underway. According to Ekos Research Associates, the top 3 choices are:

  1.        A "Canada House" venue that would give visitors a "taste of the country's diversity achievements" while also showcasing "the best of the provinces and territories."
  2.        A gallery that would host "artwork of national significance."
  3.        An Indigenous cultural facility that would highlight the "culture, achievements and the prominent role" of Canada's Aboriginal peoples.

Other options included a museum, a tourist information centre, and an interpretive centre for Parliament. 

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