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Union Bank Building

128 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1985/01/08

Main façade of the Union Bank Building showing the three-storey massing of the symmetrical, tripartite façade, 2011.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, M. Therrien, 2011.
Front façade
Detail view of the Union Bank Building showing the Romanesque arches on the first floor containing windows and an offset entrance, 2011.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, M. Therrien, 2011.
Detail
No Image

Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1887/01/01 to 1888/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/01/23

Statement of Significance

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.

Heritage Value

The Union Bank Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value:
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.

Architectural Value:
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.

Environmental Value:
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.

Sources:
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.

Character-Defining Elements

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.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date

1985/01/08

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Commerce / Commercial Services
Bank or Stock Exchange

Architect / Designer

F. J. Alexander

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate Documentation Centre 3rd Floor, room 366 30 Victoria Street Gatineau, Québec J8X 0B3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

2467

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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