LA SALLE ACADEMY

Quick facts

Story kiosk location

  • Corner of Sussex and St. Patrick

Important dates

  • (1888 – 1971) During this time, the building was used for the La Salle Academy. Yet from 1847 – 1850 the building housed the first Bishop of the diocese of Bytown, Joseph-Bruno Guigues.

Audiofile

  • No

What happened here?

  • Between 1948 and 1956 La Salle Academy was home to Ottawa’s first professional theatre company: the Canadian Repertory Theatre. One of its directors, Amelia Hall, was the first woman to perform on stage at the Stratford Festival.

Just down Sussex past the Cathedral you’ll see the prominent spire of the former La Salle Academy...

…the city’s first secondary school and one of the first bilingual schools in Ontario. It is the oldest building on Sussex.


La Salle Academy, Spring 1973 before restoration.
© La Salle Academy: New Life for a Heritage Building by Lucien Brault and John Leaning, 1976
 

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.

 

Front view of La Salle Academy after restoration. Jeangagnon ​https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:373_Sussex_Drive.jpg

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.

 


A C.R.T. production, Amelia Hall and Lynne Gorman, City of Ottawa Archives CA003781.

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.

 

 

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