Address: 589 Rideau St Ottawa ON, K1N 6A1
Developer: Smallwood of Andrex Holdings
Conversion Architect: Paul Merrick and Julian Smith
Condominium Conversion: Completed in 1997
Original Architect: Robert Surtees
Original Completion Date: 1873-1875
Buildings’ Historical Significance
Wallis House was constructed between 1873-1875 when Ottawa was delegated funds to build its first modern hospital. It was originally named the ‘Carleton Protestant General Hospital’. It ceased to operate as a hospital in 1924 but subsequently served as: a seminary, barracks, veteran housing and an armoury. Interestingly, Canadian military soldiers occupied the building during the Second World War. The various institutions that had a turn in occupying Wallis House, each left their unique stamp on the building’s deep historical past. For this reason, Wallis House has been cemented as an address among the top of the list for Ottawa’s most iconic loft conversions.
Heritage Designation and Architectural Design
Wallis House (589 Rideau) was designated as a Heritage Building by the City of Ottawa in 1990. The decision to designate the structure was due to the buildings historical significance, as well as, its outstanding architectural design. Wallis House was designed by Robert Surtees, a distinguished Ottawa architect at the time. Surtees used a Queen Anne style in his design, which was typical of the time. The three story brick structure was originally designed in a t-shape and the architect’s attention to detail remains evident in the decorative exterior terra cotta.
In the late 1990’s, ‘Smallwood of Andrex Holdings’ (in partnership with Wilberfoss Inc. and Domicile) acquired the property and converted the interior of Wallis House into 46 authentic condominium lofts. The authentic lofts are truly distinctive in design and blend well with the building’s unique history. Wide hallways and high ceilings exude a feeling of spacious ambiance. The units boast: exposed brick walls, exposed duct, open raw spaces and large windows which provide an abundance of natural light. Select units include balconies and outdoor sitting areas.