With all of the beautiful and interesting heritage properties that stand in Ottawa’s Sandy Hill neighbourhood, it’s somewhat interesting that the apartments above are (a) the first buildings that I really remember loving in the neighbourhood, and (b) still among my favourite. In a setting filled with delightful institutional architecture and numerous Victwardian houses, for some, it would be a wonder that a small handful of 1930s apartments are what have stuck in my mind.
As I recently wrote in a recent story about Le Versailles apartments on Henderson (1964), I find the midcentury apartments in Sandy Hill to be “just slightly a cut above” those in the remainder of the city. Although it may lack the flourish of Le Versailles, Constantine Zourdoumis’ Albany Apartments at 305 Nelson is a tidy example of the style.
Since moving to Ottawa in 2000, I have spent more time exploring the city on foot than I can recount and Sandy Hill has always been one of my favourites. As you can probably expect from me on this blog, it’s less so the grand homes that define the neighbourhood (though they are lovely), but rather the most interesting mix of apartment styles that grace the area. The midcentury apartment designs, to my eye, have often been just slightly a cut above the remainder of the city, including in my own home turf of Centretown. Among them are Pat Gillin’s Chanteclair and Sans Souci, the Bachelor, the Summit, and my favourite, Réal St-Amour’s own Le Versailles (pictured above).
If you’ve run into me lately, you were doubtlessly entreated to some words about apartment buildings in Ottawa. I can’t help it, the topic has been rolling around in my mind for a decade or so.