Union du Canada Building Lowertown Community Asociation Research

Corner of Dalhousie and York Street

The Union du Canada building continues to stand as a landmark, highly visible and strongly connected to the history and people of Lowertown and to francophones across Ontario and elsewhere. When designed by Louis J Lapierre in 1966, it was a symbol of optimism, both for the insurance company celebrating 100 years of success and for the people of Lowertown who had supported the Union from its foundation. Built as part of a modern architectural trend in Ottawa and Montreal, the Union du Canada is unique in its design and constitutes a significant piece of the area’s historic fabric.

As our guide in assessing the Union du Canada building, we relied on the Ontario Heritage Act (Reg 9/06) that outlines three key criteria for determining cultural heritage: design or physical value; historical or associative value and contextual value. Our submission is organized to provide a brief overview of these areas with more substantive details provided in appended documents.

Design or Physical Value

The craftsmanship, the quality of the materials and the overall technical and artistic achievement of this building are remarkable. When Louis J Lapierre designed the Union du Canada, he was already experimenting with some of the modern designs made possible by the availability of new materials. The building embodies modernism at its best with its emphasis on function and utility, sculptural form, honesty in materials, and the use of contemporary materials and technology.

For his work with the Union du Canada, Lapierre applied his method of working closely with the professionals involved in the organization, in this case, economists. After surveys to determine future building needs, he designed a commercial building that could be adapted to subsequent internal changes of function. In collaboration with Laure Major, a Quebec artist, he designed an exterior “climatological curtain” where four different styles…

Read the rest of the submission 13.09 Union du Canada_Lowertown Community Association Submission

Special thanks to the Lowertown Community Association for allowing us to post the submission here.