Harmer House

Below is the slightly edited google translate of an article that is reprinted on the website of  The Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa. Apparently it originally appeared in L’Express Ottawa, but that link is now 404. However, I was able to find it here.


L’Express presents historical chronicles written in collaboration with Michel Prévost, Chief Archivist of the University of Ottawa, in order to draw a portrait of the capital’s heritage through time and the fingerprints it left behind In the Ottawan landscape.

Harmer House is located at 48, Britannia Road, in the Ottawa West area.


The construction dates back to the early 1860s, according to University of Ottawa archivist Michel Prévost, an excellent example of vernacular architecture in Ottawa prior to the Confederation of 1867. Indeed, This very modest residence testifies well to the habitation of the less affluent classes of that period.


The wooden building without great architectural attributes has remained the same since its first owner, Walter Harmer. The latter opened in 1875 in his residence a general store and the first post office of Britannia, a resort very appreciated at the end of the 19th century for the Ottawans.


Its trade also serves workers in the forest industry, but must close its doors in 1880 because of the economic gloom. Seven years later, the house hosts Britannia’s first telephone exchange.


The house, however, regains its residential function in 1890. Although very simple, compared to most heritage features, the Harmer House is one of the oldest in Britannia and is protected for generations to come.


In fact, for the Chief Archivist at the University of Ottawa, the importance of this more than 100-year-old building relies more on its history than on its architectural value.


Michel Prévost offers guided tours of the Franco-Ontarian built heritage for groups of 10 or more. You can book at 613 562-5825 or by e-mail at michel.prevost@uottawa.ca


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