Former Geological Survey of Canada Building

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Former Geological Survey of Canada Building
Side limestone facade of building
The George Street facade of the building in 2010
Location of Former Geological Survey of Canada Building within Ottawa
Location of Former Geological Survey of Canada Building within Ottawa
Location within Ottawa
Former names Old Mines Building, Clarendon Hotel
Alternative names Ancien édifice de la Commission géologique du Canada
General information
Address 541 Sussex Drive
Town or city Ottawa, Ontario
Country Canada
Coordinates 45°25′35″N 75°41′38″W / 45.426514°N 75.693933°W / 45.426514; -75.693933
Completed 1863
Renovated 1879, 1881, 1917
Owner The Queen in Right of Canada
Landlord Government of Canada
Official name Former Geological Survey of Canada Building National Historic Site
Designated 1955

The Former Geological Survey of Canada Building (French: Ancien édifice de la Commission géologique du Canada) is a three-storey, stone building located at the intersection of Sussex Drive and George Street in the Byward Market area of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is named for its former occupant, the Geological Survey of Canada. The building was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1955 as it is one of the oldest remaining buildings in Ottawa, and over the years it has served as home to various public and cultural institutions.[1]

History[edit]

The Sussex Drive facade

The oldest part of the building was constructed in 1863 by James Skead, a local businessman, and was occupied by the Clarendon Hotel upon completion. After a short stint being leased to the Crown for use as military barracks from 1864 to 1871, the building was returned to a hotel use in 1874. The federal government purchased the property in 1879 and has owned it ever since.

Upon its purchase by the government in 1879, the building hosted the inaugural exhibit of the Canadian Academy of Arts, with the works from this exhibit later forming the initial collection of the National Gallery of Canada. Later that year, the building was retrofited to serve as the offices and museum of what was then called the Geological and Natural History Survey of Canada. The museum and its collections, which attracted 9,549 visitors in its first year, would later become the genesis of Canada’s national museums.[1][2]

The Sussex Drive section was rebuilt in 1881 on its original footprint. The Geological Survey of Canada remained in the building until 1911 when it moved to the Victoria Memorial Museum. The building was renovated again, this time to accommodate the federal Department of Mines, and a new laboratory was added to the George Street wing in 1917.[1]

References[edit]

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