589 Rideau Street
Written by Bytown Museum
A hospital, seminary, barracks, veterans' housing, armoury and apartment building – is there anything Wallis House hasn't been in its lifetime? Wallis House opened in 1875 as the Carleton County Protestant General Hospital and remained a hospital until 1924 when it was merged with two other hospitals to create the Ottawa Civic Hospital.
For the following 20 years, the building served as a Catholic seminary until the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service took it over during World War II. The navy gave it the name Wallis House, after William Parry Wallis, a hero of the War of 1812. Following World War II, the building served as subsidized housing for veterans.
Over time, Wallis House became rundown and was threatened with demolition. In the 1990s, a developer purchased the building for a mere $320,000 with the promise of restoring the building and converting it into condominiums. The promise was kept.
From its very beginnings in 1826, Bytown (early Ottawa) was divided geographically, with Uppertown to the west of the Rideau Canal and Lowertown to the east. Lowertown, then ... read more