Earnscliffe Manor & British High Commission | Ottawa, Ontario

Client: Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the British Government

Her Majesty’s British Government is a long-standing client of MCROBIE Architects + Interior Designers, extending back to our renovations during the late 1980s of the British High Commission (BHC), a landmark building situated adjacent to national monuments and institutions on Ottawa’s Confederation Boulevard. In subsequent years we provided facilities design for consular offices across Canada.

In 2013, the National Historic Site Earnscliffe Manor, the residence of the British High Commissioner and the former home of 19th century prime minister Sir John A. MacDonald underwent a major rejuvenation to address the ravages of time.

The Gothic Revival house is situated on a cliff overlooking the Ottawa River, just to the east of the MacDonald-Cartier bridge and is accessed from Sussex Drive.  As part of the restoration, all the windows were replicated and replaced – no small matter considering that almost every window is unique and there are forty-five individual window types. Most of the exterior doors were replaced and much of the exterior woodwork was removed and painstakingly re-crafted. The copper roofing accessories and eavestroughs were replaced with gleaming new fabrications by modern-day artisans. Granite pavers were used on walkways and cap off fresh new landscaping.  Renovations were also carried out to the interior to correct structural and building envelope issues.

See a short video description of the restoration by MCROBIE Architects + Interior Designers below:

In 2005 we undertook a major transformation of the main façade of the British High Commission in Ottawa. MCROBIE Architects + Interior Designers composed a new two-storey entrance pavilion and rebuilt the landscaped plaza to revitalize the image of the BHC and to address augmented security.  The entrance pavilion features the BHC crest recreated in etched glass.