Description of Historic Place
The Union Bank Building, situated on Wellington Street opposite the Parliamentary Precinct in Ottawa, is a sturdy, modestly scaled stone structure. Richly ornamented, it has a three storey, Romanesque Revival façade characterized by round headed arches, and a turreted roofline with central pediment and robust sculptural decoration. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Union Bank Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Union Bank Building is associated with Wellington Street’s late 19th century status as Bankers’ Row. The building’s south side was then lined with richly ornamented banks, clubs and financial institutions in the Second empire and Richardsonian Romanesque style. The Union Bank Building remains as a link to Wellington Street’s commercial past.
The Union Bank Building is a good example of the Romanesque Revival style with its large voussoired arches and robust treatment. This functional structure exhibits good craftsmanship evident in the sculptural details on the upper storeys, and the high quality masonry and materials including the New Brunswick yellow sandstone.
The Union Bank Building maintains an unchanged relationship to its site and reinforces the present character of Ottawa’s central business district and is familiar to people working in the vicinity, to local residents and pedestrians.
Union Bank Building, 128 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 85-026; Union Bank Building, 128 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 85-026.
The character-defining elements of the Union Bank Building should be respected.
Its Romanesque Revival style, good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the three-storey massing of the symmetrical, tripartite façade;
-the combined smooth and rock faced exterior masonry with fine mortar joints;
-the Romanesque arches on the first floor containing windows and an offset entrance;
-the upper storeys detailed with low-relief sculptural plant motifs, and culminating in a lively roofline with central pediment, abbreviated corner turrets and stone chimney;
-the entrance vestibule lined with marble wainscot panels, and the rich woodwork of the ground floor banking offices and staircase.
The manner in which the Union Bank Building maintains an unchanged relationship to its site, reinforces the present character of the Parliamentary precinct in downtown Ottawa, and is a familiar landmark, as evidenced by:
-its relationship to Wellington Street and the other buildings which express the commercial past of the area;
-its Romanesque design and materials that maintain a visual and physical relationship between the surrounding buildings and the streetscape of Wellington Street in central Ottawa;
-its location on a busy thoroughfare opposite the Parliamentary Precinct that make it familiar to visitors, passing pedestrians, and local residents.