When I wrote about Metcalfe Court and its replacement, Metcalfe Place, a couple of years ago, I did not have such easy access to the Ottawa Citizen. In what is a happy little accident, the above was published in the July 14, 1983 edition of the paper, which I was browsing due to that being my second birthday. Leonard Koffman was likely the architect.1”Centretown: Condo Approved,” Ottawa Citizen, June 16, 1983, 27.
Though an award-winning project, the Highlands condominium on St. Laurent seems unremarkable – at least in style – to most. Indeed, in spite my own enthusiasm for this brown brick beauty, I’ve more often than not found that most seats on the bandwagon go unfilled. The same cannot be said for the people who have lived in the Highlands, however. Be it the case that they are current residents or past residents, all of those I have spoken to have shared fond memories related to it. To be certain, while tastes change, Irving Grossman’s early 1970s design has stood on its own.
Metcalfe street was once more akin to the Montreal’s Golden Square Mile than to the mixed-use neighbourhood that it is today. After having been subdivided, the Colonel By Estate’s lots were quickly purchased by local merchants and politicians who constructed large homes, some of which, like the Booth House or Birkett’s Castle, were quite ornate and continued to be appreciated today.
The Somerset Court condominium, located on Somerset Street West just off Elgin, recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. Designed by architect Barry Hobin, it was a joint project of Robert McElligott’s Timberlay Developments and Toronto’s Citicom, which was probably best known until the late 1970s for its parking lot business. Since Robert Smythe tackled the ins and outs of the condominium’s development in a 2012 URBSite article, I will discuss it only briefly. Instead, I focus on Timberlay, Citicom, and the brief partnership they enjoyed during the middle years of the 1980s.