La Salle Academy, named after the founder of the Christian Brotherhood, was a leading educational institution in Ottawa for decades as a non-denominational French language school. Providing education at both primary and secondary levels, it welcomed students from the Irish and French Catholics, as well as Protestants.
Although the Academy faced challenges and even opposition from public school officials, in part because of its bilingualism, support from the community and leaders such as Bishop J.E. Gigues ensured its survival and success until after the Second World War.
In 1948 the building became home of the Canadian Repertory Theatre, Ottawa’s first professional theatre company. Directed by Amelia Hall, the first woman to perform at the Stratford Festival Theatre, and Sam Payne, some of Canada’s most famous actors, including Christopher Plummer and William Shatner, performed here before it closed in 1956.