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Ottawa committee to consider extensive restorations for historic Lansdowne pavilion

The historic Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne, once known as the “Cattle Castle,” requires rehabilitation work because of the poor condition of the roof.

The city’s built heritage committee will consider Tuesday a report for an application to alter the Aberdeen Pavilion. Included in the work are repairs to the roof, which has been leaking water for years.

“Of particular concern is the poor condition of the roof, with significant water entry through the metal roofing panels, lack of any waterproofing membranes, and subsequently, accelerated deterioration of the wood board decking visible on the building interior,” a report to the committee reads.

The Aberdeen Pavilion was built in 1893 and served as the central exhibition hall for the Central Canada Exhibition until it closed in 1987, according to the city. Council passed a resolution on July 2, 1992 to invest in the building’s restoration and reopen it for the public.

The work needed on the roof includes removing all crickets and flashings and adding a waterproofing membrane.

“The new waterproofing membrane and roofing system will provide improved durability and resistance to water entry,” the report says.

The roof isn’t the only issue that needs to be addressed – the wood double doors located on each entry of the pavilion need to be removed, and work is required on the concrete floor slab.

“It’s really important because the building does require remediation and we also need to be proactive in terms of its maintenance,” said built heritage committee chair Coun. Rawlson King in an interview.

“The heritage permit that we have that will be before heritage committee will be dealing with that, and improvements to the roof, improvements to the doors, improvements to the windows, the roof leaking.”

The roof of the Aberdeen Pavilion in Lansdowne. A report to the city’s built heritage committee says the roof requires “extensive renovations.” (Leah Larocque/CTV News Ottawa)

There isn’t a price tag yet for the work, but the city says work is expected to begin in January 2025 and take about two years to complete. King says he hopes the process moves forward quickly to avoid costs rising.

“As you know, with projects often, costs change due to changes in labor costs, material,” he said.

“With most heritage properties that were built in the previous century, it’s going to require specialists. It might require special labor, it might require special material. And so it’s important for us to make this type of investment because it is a generational asset for the city of Ottawa and it deserves preservation.”

The city declined an interview but in a statement said, “The project is currently in the design phase, and construction is set to take place in 2025 and is expected to be completed by late 2026. An updated project budget will be brought forward for consideration during the City’s budget process in Fall 2024.”

The city adds the construction will be coordinated with other activities at Lansdowne, including Lansdowne 2.0, to ensure the site’s safety.

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