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History of the Heritage Building

Constructed in 1931-1932 to house the United States Chancery, 100 Wellington Street was transferred to the Canadian Government when the U.S. Embassy moved to new quarters in 1999. The building received the highest classified heritage designation under the Canadian Federal Heritage Buildings Policy.

Executed in the neo-Beaux-arts style, it is one of the most refined examples of its type in Canada and an important late work of U.S. architect Cass Gilbert. The building features a simple rectilinear form, classically designed elevations of pale limestone wrapping around the principal symmetrical entrance and side elevations, a flat roof, and a set-back penthouse. The front and side elevations and principal internal spaces are particularly distinguished for their highly refined proportions, classical composition, high.quality details and clean lines. Externally and internally, the design employs a simple palette of high.quality materials expressing the importance and prestige appropriate to its use.

Historically, the building was the first permanent home of the U.S. Legation in Canada and the first foreign mission in Ottawa. It was thus a benchmark in Canada's gradual assumption of sovereignty over its own foreign affairs, which had been handled through Great Britain prior to the passage of the Statute of Westminster in 1930. Occupying a prominent site opposite the Queen's Gate, the building respects and harmoniously reinforces the highly visible Wellington Street edge of Parliament Hill and is one of the area's distinguished landmark features.

Source: adapted from “Heritage Character Statement - United States Chancery (United States Embassy),” Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Number 84-27, 1998.07.20 Revised.

Photo of 100 Wellington Street


100 Wellington Street



Montage of Interior of Heritage Building




Panoramic view of Parliament Hill


Panoramic view of Parliament Hill from the rooftop of 100 Wellington Street

(photo: Library and Archives Canada)



Presentation drawing by John T. Cronin


Presentation drawing by John T. Cronin for architect Cass Gilbert and exhibited in 1929

Credit: Canadian Centre for Architecture, DR 1983:0802



Photo of 100 Wellington Street under construction, January 30, 1932

 

100 Wellington Street under construction,
January 30, 1932

Credit: Cass Gilbert Collection, 1897-1936, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution



Photo of 100 Wellington Street under construction, March 1932
 

100 Wellington Street under construction,
March 1932

Credit: Cass Gilbert Collection, 1897-1936, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution



Photo of 100 Wellington Street under construction, May 1, 1932
 

100 Wellington Street under construction,
May 1, 1932

Credit: Cass Gilbert Collection, 1897-1936, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution


Photo of Approved plaster models of detailed stonework, April 7, 1932 Photo of Approved plaster models of detailed stonework, April 7, 1932

Approved plaster models of detailed stonework, April 7, 1932

Credit: Cass Gilbert Collection, 1897-1936, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution


Photo of Approved plaster models of detailed stonework, April 7, 1932

 

Approved plaster models of detailed stonework,
April 7, 1932

Credit: Cass Gilbert Collection, 1897-1936, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution



Photo of 100 Wellington Street as the United States Legation, 1933

 

100 Wellington Street as the United States Legation, 1933

Library and Archives Canada, PA-167947



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