CBC Ottawa Broadcast Centre
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Coordinates: The CBC Ottawa Broadcast Centre is located on Sparks Street in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and is home to the head office of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the CBC's various English and French language operations in the National Capital Region. The building was opened in 2004, and contains approximately 37,700 square metres (270,000 square feet) of office space.
Previously, the CBC operated out of various buildings throughout the city. The radio division occupied the sixth floor of the Château Laurier hotel, while the television division operated out of a building in the Westboro neighbourhood. The CBC's Parliamentary Bureau operated out of the National Press Building on Wellington Street and the Booth Building on Sparks Street. The CBC head office previously occupied the Edward Drake Building in Ottawa south, but budgetary cutbacks in the 1980s and 1990s led to the sale of that building and to a drastic downsizing of the head office staff. Prior to the opening of the Broadcast Centre, the remaining head office staff shared space with the television operations in the Westboro building.
The Ottawa Broadcast Centre was built by and is owned by Morguard Investments. Not all of it is leased by the CBC, with the top floors occupied by the House of Commons administration (Information Services). It is located at 181 Queen Street, between Bank Street and O'Connor Street. The rear of the building backs out on the Sparks Street pedestrian mall. The site had been vacant for several years and had previously been home to a Woolworths department store.
Several of the studios and the newsroom are located at ground level on Sparks Street, allowing the public to observe from outside through 4 metre high (more than 12 feet) windows. Eight different CBC news services, consisting of 200 editorial staff in the National Capital Region, operate in both English and French out of the main newsroom to produce content for radio, television and the internet.
The main design feature of the Broadcast Centre is that it appears as a typical multi-storey office building on the Queen Street frontage, whereas the Sparks Street frontage is consistent with the low-rise development on the pedestrian mall. Given the significant terracing of the building's Sparks Street façade above the fourth floor and the grade differential between Queen Street and Sparks Street, the building is 12 storeys on Queen Street, but appears to be only four storeys in height from ground level on Sparks Street.
Although the built-form treatment on Sparks Street has been widely acclaimed, the building has been criticized for the lack of a public entrance on Sparks Street. Visitors and non-CBC employees working on the building's upper floors must access the building from Queen Street, thus directing pedestrians away from the pedestrian mall. A pathway linking the Queen Street lobby to Sparks Street was cut from the original design to make room for a larger newsroom.