top of page
City of Ottawa

Major activities as an employee of the City:

Numerous individual structure heritage designation reports.

Britannia Area Heritage Character Study editor - Britannia is in the west end of pre-1990s amalgamation Ottawa. It is rose to prominence as a cottage area in the late-19th century, and a day recreation destination in the early 1900s (promoted by Ottawa’s streetcar company), with it's Ottawa River location, offering a bay, beach, rapids and boating opportunities. The early cottages are now mixed with more recent architecture.

The Central Area West Heritage Conservation District Study and Plan staff team was initially conceived as one of the largest heritage districts in Ottawa, incorporating what is considered downtown Ottawa. The initial parameters bounded west-north-east-south, i.e., Bronson, Sparks and Elgin streets, and the Queensway (Hwy 417) which included significant Modern architecture of the 3rd quarter of the 20th century. Ultimately, 3 precincts were the focus of attention, the areas defined by: Sparks and Bank streets, and the Elgin Street/Rideau Canal precinct. It features many late-19th and early-20th century structures (institutional, residential, commercial and religious).

As a non-staff member:

As a long-time member of the Local Architectural Conservation Authority Committee (appointed by City Council)--now Heritage Committee, activities included several heritage designation reports for various structures and periods, e.g., All Saints' Sandy Hill Anglican Church (1899), image on the right. It was founded and funded by Sir Henry Newell Bate, one of Ottawa’s most important businessmen of the time and the first Chairman of the Ottawa Improvement Commission (predecessor to the National Capital Commission, a federal authority which now controls ca. 25% of the land area of the National Capital Area). In 1934 the family also funded the adjoining Bate Hall which in addition to its role as a parish hall and Sunday school, also served as a community recreational centre. The designation report reacquainted the community and historians with the state funeral of Sir Robert Borden, Prime Minister of Canada, as well as the royal wedding of Lois Booth, a scion a lumber-baron family to Prince Eric of Denmark.  This was followed up in programming for the 1999 City of Ottawa Heritage Day Event with E. Tumak as organizer. With aid of the heritage report and designation, the complex was acquired by a local charitable community group as a facility for community events and weddings. As parishioners we worked on and funded the restoration of the main door in honour of my spouse's mother, stripping the pine so it could be faux painted as oak, in keeping with the original finish.

Articles on Ottawa Heritage by Edgar Tumak

Stellar Heritage: The Way to the Stars, Canada’s Stellar Heritage and the former Dominion Observatory in Ottawa, Heritage: the magazine of the Heritage Canada Foundation.

A focus on the former Dominion Observatory (1902-04), located on the Central Experimental Farm, when the Heritage Canada Foundation temporarily moved to the location.  The article also reviewed earlier observatories, such as the Québec Observatory of 1850 and indigenous Prairie astronomical observation sites known as North American Medicine Wheels, in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Protecting Our Recent Architectural Heritage? Requiem for the Former Ottawa Police Station. Bulletin: Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada.

An early expression of support for 1950s architecture in Canada.  The structure (1954-57), was designed by Peter Dickinson, one of the leading architects in Canada during the 1950s. I also composed the heritage designation report. Unfortunately, it was demolished shortly thereafter by another component of the arts community. Nothing was salvaged and everything went to landfill.


These heritage designation reports cover the broader history, architectural analysis--including biographies of the architect, engineer and/or builder, and environmental context.  They feature a variety of structural types, such as former residences, churches that evolved over time, and municipal industrial architecture.  Analysis included interior designation (with the owner's request), discovery of architects of local and even national importance, ascertaining changes that even long-time residents did not know of, and being cognisant of assisting with heritage grants.

Town of Gananoque - associated images on right of text

Blinkbonnie, 50 Main Street
Blinkbonnie traes its core to 1843 but was greatly remodeled and expanded in 1902-07, by Charles Macdonald—a member of the leading family in Gananoque’s early history, and a significant Canadian and U.S. civil engineer.  The early-20th century form, in a grand Colonial Revival style, was designed Frank T. Lent—an American architect, and also Gananoque’s most significant architect. For the last three-quarters of the 20th century it was a prestigious guest house/hotel catering to the Thousand Islands tourism industry. The report was commissioned to generate support for it's preservation. No longer present are the commodious porches and elaborate landscaping.

Christ Church Anglican Church, 30 Church Street
Constructed in 1857-58, with the tower and spire added in 1880 to the original design (attributed to the first rector, Rev. John Carroll), it is a leading example of the early Gothic Revival style in Gananoque.  Its form reflects the liturgical design principles of the mid-19th century Ecclesiological movement that transformed church construction in Britain and its colonies.  The walls are of local sandstone.  A distinctive feature is the near complete use of triangular-topped windows.  Only the most sacred window, above the altar, features the traditional, but more complicated, curved-pointed arch.  The designation was requested by the congregation.

Sleepy Hollow Bed and Breakfast
95 King Street West
Designated both on the exterior and the principal rooms of the interior (at the request of the owners), it was constructed in 1905, as the mansion for the prominent Gananoque manufacturer and Ontario provincial politician, Frederick J. Skinner.  The building illustrates the domestic architecture of a wealthy industrialists at a highpoint in the mechanisation and growth of the municipality.  It was designed by architect Frank T. Lent in the Queen Anne Revival Style.  The building is in an excellent state of preservation with few alterations to the original design. The building later became a guest house and B/B to the Thousand Islands tourism industry. 

Click for report

St. Andrew`s Presbyterian Church
175 Stone Street S. 
The designation of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church was requested by the congregation, and to their surprise they learned that the original church and tower of 1851-55, were built to a design of nationally significant Kingston-based architect William Coverdale.  Further, it was learnt that not only does the existing larger complex date from 1871-87, but that a middle section of the side elevation was built as late as 1955 in integrated style and materials (notably sandstone and granite detailing. The designation covers all of the exterior, the 1897 bell, and all the 19th and early 20th century church windows.   

Click for newspaper article


Gananoque Swing Bridge

Water Street 
The bridge of 1893, was submitted for designation by its owner, the municipality. It was constructed with municipal support by the Thousand Island Railway, a subsidiary of the Deseronto based Rathbun Co., to give direct rail access to industry on the east side of the Gananoque River.  The rotating bridge maintains clear passage for water craft between the St. Lawrence and Gananoque rivers.  The construction of the structure is attributed to the Leeds Bridge and Iron Works Ltd., of Gananoque, and was designed by engineer Willis Chipman, an engineer of national significance.

Click for newspaper article

Gananoque Waterworks Pump House

110  Kate Street
Constructed 1903-05, with an adjoining 1925-26 addition, it was submitted for designation by its owner, the municipality. It was the town’s first initiative in municipal waterworks, and stands as a major development in the provision of core municipal utility services. The original section was designed by engineer Willis Chipman, and is not only as a leading example of industrial architecture in Gananoque, but also as an example of the Renaissance revival style with Flemish influences. The sandstone building is in an excellent state of preservation and there have been very few alterations to the original exterior design.





bottom of page