National Trust Promotes Rehabilitation of 24 Sussex Drive
Ottawa In an article published in the Ottawa Citizen, the National Trust for Canada lays out its position on the future of the Prime Minister’s residence.
“Investing in making 24 Sussex Drive a comfortable, sustainable residence that showcases Canadian design, technology and history is an ideal way for Canada to demonstrate what it values,” writes Executive Director Natalie Bull. “Despite a level of heritage significance deemed by the Government to be on par with the Parliament Buildings, 24 Sussex is a victim of ‘demolition by neglect,’ a longstanding failure to invest and maintain that was well documented by the Auditor General in 2008.”
The heritage value of this limestone landmark dating to 1868 is determined in part by the evolutionary nature of the property. The land is linked to First Nation’s history while the construction of the house is tied to the story of Canada’s lumber industry. Alterations made sixty-five years ago shaped the image which has become significant through association with Prime Ministers who have lived there. And like most historic properties, it can continue to change over time.
The National Trust believes that the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada give the building’s steward, the National Capital Commission (NCC), ample range to renew the property and meet evolving requirements.
“It is not an either/or proposition,” stresses Ms. Bull. “There are extraordinary examples right here in Canada of heritage buildings that have been rehabilitated to meet demanding new uses and ignite the imagination of even the most discerning designer.”
The National Trust offers its support and assistance, commending the NCC for taking the time to plan the future of the building, and Prime Minister Trudeau for his decision to reside at Rideau Cottage to allow for this important work to be undertaken.