Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ottawa Bell

The Ottawa Bell can be found in the foyer of the City of Ottawa Archives building on Tallwood Drive west of Woodroffe Avenue. In my opinion the bell is not well displayed. It looks like it has been moved to its current location from a place where it was treated better. A City of Ottawa coat or arms and a descriptive panel accompany the bell.

Up in Smoke: The 1931 City Hall Fire

In the mid 1870s, the City of Ottawa
embarked on a plan to build a new
City Hall. Located on the east side of
Elgin Street between Albert and
Queen, the original building was
inadequate for the needs of a growing
city. Donated by Nicholas Sparks to
the City in 1849, the market building
was Ottawa's first City Hall and also
housed the police and fire

Local architects Horsey & Shard were
hired in 1874 to design Ottawa's second
City Hall next to the existing one. The
ornate building was designed in the Second
Empire French and Italian Style and had
one tall taower and three small ones. The
building was constructed using local
Gloucester Blue Limestone and Ohio

Opened in 1877, the new building
held the offices of the Mayor, City
Clerk, City Engineer, City
Chamberlain, City Treasurer,
Waterworks Commission, Board of
Public School Trustees, Board of
Separate School Trustees as well
as the council chambers. A room 13' x 8'
housed the archives and other records
of the Board of Works.

On March 31, 1931 City Hall was destroyed by fire.
In total, 125 firefighters responded to the alarm.
Seven firemen were injured falling through four
floors and ending up in the smouldering debris of the
basement. Much of the archives were lost but many
paintings, furniture and documents were saved
including a pastel portrait of Queen Victoria.

The land would remain vacant until the development
of the National Arts Centre, a federal centenary project.

City Hall scrambled for new space, leasing three
floors in the Transportaion Building at Rideau
and Sussex, eventually taking over the entire
building. The journey for a new permanent City
Hall would continue for 27 years.
Relics salvaged from the debris including the
cornerstone, time capsule, bell, flag and carved
Device of Arms have found a new home at the
City of Ottawa Archives.