Former Monastery of the Precious Blood - Ottawa, Ontario
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
N 45° 23.753 W 075° 40.968
18T E 446556 N 5027156
Quick Description: The former Monastery of the Precious Blood is located in Ottawa, Ontario.
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date Posted: 1/10/2012 7:21:56 AM
Waymark Code: WMDFQY
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member Hard Oiler
Views: 11

Long Description:
"The Sisters of the Precious Blood, a contemplative order of nuns founded in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, came to Ottawa in 1887. In 1898, they purchased the MacKay estate on Echo Drive, which included a large stone house.

The house was demolished and in 1914 work began on a new convent designed by Alphonse Contant. However, construction came to a halt in 1916 due to a steel shortage during the First World War. In 1917, work again stopped when the architect refused to spend any more money on the project and absconded with the funds. The building stood unfinished for four years. After receiving generous donations of materials and labour from the community, the Sisters moved into the monastery in 1923. Because of the financial problems, however, the building was austere and some parts, such as the chapel, were not finished to the Sisters’ satisfaction until the 1960s.

The Monastery of the Precious Blood is a large, four-storey, pale yellow brick structure with a hip roof. A modified mansard roof with dormers forms an attic storey on the north façade. The building was originally laid out with a central courtyard (now a glassed atrium) bounded on three sides by four-storey wings. A two storey wing on the front, north façade features an attractive frontispiece. It is topped by a monumental pediment and a two-storey, round-headed arch that contains double front doors located on each end of the four-storey wings.

Smooth stone string courses separate the stories of the front façade, but they are not continued around the corners to the east and west facades. On the east façade, the former chapel, now a meeting hall, is lit by large two-storey windows partially filled with stained glass. The west façade repeats the simple rectangular windows with stone lintels found elsewhere on the building, while the south façade features an open three-storey gallery overlooking a lawn. There is also a large central belfry.

The former monastery creates a monumental impression, despite its austere exterior. Stylistically, the building is a very simple, classically proportioned structure, similar to convents and monasteries built throughout Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Public mass was regularly celebrated in the chapel, providing a link between the religious community and its neighbours. By the early 1990s, the Ottawa community of this order had dwindled, prompting the Sisters to sell the property and move the remaining members to the mother house in St. Hyacinthe.

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons purchased this building in 1991 for its national headquarters. The college carried out extensive renovations, to plans by the architectural firm of Murray & Murray, to transform the structure into a modern office building. In 1999, a new building of complementary brick design was built west of the older structure. The original grounds between the building and the rear fence, and the open treed lawn to the north, contribute significantly to the property’s character."

Reference: (visit link)
Link to Property in The Ontario Properties Database: [Web Link]

Building or Property Type: Religious Building

County or Regional Municipality: Ottawa-Carleton

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