The Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards

History, Architecture and Heritage Designation

History

Constructed from 1941 to 1947 for the City of Ottawa, City Works Building #4 was established as part of a broader building complex on Bayview Road.   During this era, this municipal works building housed key operational and storage capabilities for the City, including machinery storage and repair shops, stables, offices and stock rooms. Although City Works Yards featured many buildings during this period, most of these facilities have been demolished.

The building borders three distinct historic Ottawa communities: LeBreton Flats, Mechanicsville, and Hintonburg.   It is located at the northern edge of Mechanicsville, a neighbourhood in the Kitchissippi Ward of Ottawa.  The City initiated development of the facility in the late 19th Century as industrial activity from LeBreton Flats expanded westward. The City Works Yard is built on landfill from the former Nepean Bay.  Nepean Bay once extended as far south as Scott Street, but was filled in gradually by the National Capital Commission (NCC) from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Heritage Designation

On March 26, 2015 a motion was carried during the Built Heritage Sub-Committee Meeting of the City of Ottawa recommending that 7 Bayview Yards be designated as a heritage building.

Architecture

City Works Building #4 is a reinforced concrete construction building with brick panels that embodies modern industrial style architecture. Popular in Canada from the 1940s to the 1970s, this architecture is characterized by modular square or rectangular forms, plain unadorned surfaces, and large windows that sit within reinforced concrete or a steel frame. The former City Works Building exemplifies this style with masonry panels, flat roof and large windows.

This building is comprised of a one storey central pavilion with flanking two storey wings. The east wing of the facility is clad in red brick with large multi-pane, single glazed windows in steel frames. The east elevation of the building is defined by four large service bays with hinged wooden tongue and groove doors.  The south and east elevations feature loading docks adorned with wooden garage doors that feature rows of windows.  The south elevation also dons the landmark name ‘City of Ottawa Workshops’ on the concrete band that runs along the top of the building.

Leed Gold Certification

The Innovation Centre is pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. This independent, rating system promotes high performance building standards including sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

This facility will feature:

  • An environmentally sensitive and sound design that offers the latest in sustainable technology
  • Solar panels facilitated through strategic partnerships with the Ottawa Renewable Energy Cooperative (OREC)
  • A ‘Hidden Harvest’ orchard garden that will adorn the rooftop patio of the Innovation Centre
  • Links with city bicycle paths, helping visitors to capitalize on the Innovation Centre’s proximity to the Ottawa River and National Capital Commission park space