August 2016– A sunny Sunday in the summer in Ottawa means one thing, Sunday Bike day on the Ottawa Parkway. Our summer this year has been packed with adventures away from home- but this particular day, Jim and I hopped on our bicycles and headed along the bicycle path: down to the Parkway, along the Ottawa River, to the War Museum, by the Chaudiere Falls, behind Parliament Hill, and then to the Locks, connecting the Ottawa River, to the Canal. I snapped this photo of the Chateau Laurier, just as we were heading up the steep hill, adjacent to the locks on the Canal.
The Chateau Laurier was commissioned by the Grand Trunk Railway, at the same time as the downtown train station across the street. The hotel was built between the years 1903-1912. Many of us that have worked on renovations to either the hotel, or the old train station have heard stories of the early 1900 and the building of the two buildings, across the street from each other, and connected by a tunnel. The train station, known as the Government Conference Centre is presently under renovations to be used as swing space as the Senate prepares to move out of the Centre Block during the long awaited renovations to the Centre Block, Parliament Hill.
The hotel too, is slated for renovations, with a new addition proposed where the hotel garage now sits. There has been controversy the last several months over the proposed addition. In my opinion, Architects are creative, and problem solvers. I may be biased to that opinion, but given a chance I am hopeful that a building addition will take only cues from all the surroundings and in 100 years bicyclist will photograph and take a moment to ponder as they climb the steep hill adjacent to the canal with the hotel in the background.