Ottawa city council approves application to tear down Magee House by Nov. 15

Work to stabilize the partially collapsed Magee House in Hintonburg and reopen the sidewalk in front of it will begin "in a matter of days," City of Ottawa staff said on Tuesday. The exact start date, however, depends on how the weather holds up. John G. Cooke & Associated Ltd

Ottawa city council used its last meeting before the municipal election to take care of several planning and development files, most notably, unanimously approving the demolition of the historic Magee House.

The Hintonburg heritage building, located at 1119 Wellington St., partially collapsed in late July.

The nearly 140-year-old house is set to be torn down by Nov. 15.

READ MORE: Absence of mortar caused Magee House’s partial collapse, engineer says

Engineers hired by the city to assess why the home’s west stone wall collapsed suddenly on July 24 determined there had been little mortar holding the stones together, and water and heavy rain loosened what remained.

The head engineer argued it was too risky to properly restore the 19th-century building in its state and urged it be torn down before the snow falls, describing the remaining structure as a “house of cards.”

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The owner of Magee House challenged that conclusion, blaming the collapse on vibrations in the ground from construction happening close by and disagreed with suggestions that he had neglected to undertake necessary repairs to his property.

Ovidio Sbrissa ultimately applied for a demolition permit late last month but has maintained he wants to find a way to save the landmark building.

READ MORE: City says its looking at options for Somerset House after owner backs out of renovation plan

According to the application councillors approved on Wednesday, any future development plans for the site must incorporate salvaged stones from Magee House and the installation of a plaque commemorating the building’s history.

Magee House was built around 1881 and used as a bank from 1907 to 1942, according to the city.

The building received heritage designation in 1996.

City heritage staff backed Sbrissa’s application for a demolition permit. Frustrated members of the city’s built heritage sub-committee gave the request their blessing last week and the planning committee gave its stamp of approval on Tuesday.

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