View of Sussex Drive looking Northeast, c. 1870. The George Street Barrack is located at centre-right. Library and Archives Canada No. 3209529
Located at the eastern corner of the ByWard market, the former Geological Survey of Canada building is among Ottawa’s most visible National Historic Sites. From humble beginnings in 1863 as Skead’s hotel, the building has had a storied history as a tavern, military barracks, and home to significant cultural institutions
“Opening of the Canadian Academy of Arts at Ottawa. His Excellency Declaring the Exhibition
Open” by L. Dumont. Canadian Illustrated News, 20 March 1880. Library and Archives Canada
From 1864 to 1871, the building was leased to the crown for the George Street military barracks. In 1875, it became the Clarendon House Hotel. In March 1880 the building hosted the first exhibit of the Canadian Academy of the Arts. Featuring over 400 paintings, drawings, and sculptures, many of these works helped build the National Gallery of Canada’s collections.The Geological Museum at the corner of George and Sussex, c. 1885-1895.
Photo by William James Topley. Library and Archives Canada No. 3319182.
In 1881, the Geological Society moved into the building where it stayed until 1916. Sometimes open to viewing by the public, the objects owned by the Society eventually formed the core of those in the Canadian Museum of Nature and the Canadian Museum of History.