Embassy of Russia in Ottawa
|Embassy of the Russian Federation in Ottawa
Посольство Российской Федерации в Оттаве
Ambassade de la Fédération de Russie à Ottawa
The Embassy of Russia in Canada is the Russian embassy in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, It is located at 285 Charlotte, at the eastern terminus of Laurier Avenue. To the south it looks out on Strathcona Park while to the east it looks out on the Rideau River. Russia also maintains consulates in Toronto and Montreal.
History of the building
The site was originally given to the Soviet Union in 1942. It contained a large manor that had formerly belonged to J. Fred Booth, son of lumber baron J.R. Booth. This manor had been the site of the marriage of Fred Booth's daughter Lois to Prince Erik of Denmark, son of Prince Valdemar of Denmark. The building was expropriated by the government during the Second World War for use by the navy, but was instead handed over to the Soviets to house their growing legation. It was in this building that Igor Gouzenko worked and from where he removed documents before defecting in 1945.
On January 1, 1956 a fire broke out on the third floor of the embassy. Embassy employees tried to put it out themselves and did not call the fire department. They were unsuccessful and neighbours soon noticed smoke billowing from the building. When the fire department arrived the Soviets would not let them in, insisting they fight the fire from the sidewalk outside. Mayor Charlotte Whitton arrived at the blaze and demanded the fire department be let in, and threatened to have the embassy staff arrested. The dispute between the mayor and the ambassador was mediated by cabinet minister Paul Martin, who had also come to the scene. Eventually, the fire fighters were allowed in, but only after the Soviets had removed large numbers of sensitive documents and equipment. It was too late, however, and the building was gutted.
The remains of the manor were demolished and the current stark Soviet style building was erected in its place. The Canadian security service, in cooperation with MI5, infiltrated the construction site in an attempt to bug the building in an operation that was known as Operation Dew Worm. They concentrated on the northwest corner of the building, the logical site for a communications centre. The Soviets, however, built their communications centre in a sealed chamber elsewhere in the building and the bugs proved useless.
With the fall of the Soviet Union the building became the Russian embassy. The massive bust of Lenin was removed from the lobby and soon after the building's exterior was modified to make it less imposing.
Soviet Ambassadors to Canada
- Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev - Soviet ambassador to Canada in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Russian Ambassadors to Canada
Since 2003, the Russian ambassador to Canada is Dr. Georgiy Mamedov.