Ottawa

Former convent grounds given heritage status

Ottawa city council has voted to place a heritage designation on both a former convent and its entire grounds in Ottawa's Westboro neighbourhood.

Ottawa city council has voted to place a heritage designation on both a former convent and its entire grounds in Ottawa's Westboro neighbourhood.

The convent and land on Richmond Road once belonged to Les Soeurs de la Visitation, but were recently bought by Ashcroft Homes, which wants to renovate the existing building and turn the grounds into a mixed-use complex.

Council approved the designation on Wednesday, following a recommendation in March from the city's planning and environment committee.

The developer had asked the committee to place the heritage designation only on the convent building, and has said it will challenge the decision in court.

The decision means the Ottawa Built Heritage Advisory Committee would have to be part of the review of any development plans.

Ashcroft had planned to preserve the building but also build a 12-storey highrise and a residence for seniors, as well as retail and commercial space.

The 19th-century convent was sold to Ashcroft last fall, with the few remaining sisters who still live in the building expected to move out in the coming months.

A local businessman built the original building in 1880, and an addition was built in 1919.