Ashcroft Homes Convent Development Open House – January 10, 2018

8 12 2017

From the office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward:

Ashcroft Homes is proposing an adaptive re-use of Les Soeurs de la Visitation Convent at their 114 Richmond Rd site, which would see the building partially demolished and encapsulated in glass, combining heritage and modern elements. The refreshed convent would see office tenants and mixed commercial. We invite you to come and learn more about this proposed development during a community open house:


Van Lang Field House (29 Van Lang Pvt)

Information on the proposed development will be available from Ashcroft Homes, and City of Ottawa staff in both Heritage and Planning will be on hand to field additional questions regarding process. Of course, we are also interested in your feedback. Once the plans are available online, we will make sure to circulate them in the newsletter. We encourage you to send our office, as well as the planners, notes with your thoughts on the proposed development.

More info will be posted here once it’s available:



CBC.CA: New developer plans to partially demolish Westboro convent for commercial use

8 12 2017

New developer plans to partially demolish Westboro convent for commercial use

Ashcroft Homes to present plans to for 19th Century convent in January

Ashcroft Homes, which owns Les Soeurs de la Visitation Convent in Westboro, is proposing to renovate the site by partially demolishing it and building a glass enclosure to encase both modern and heritage elements.

Another pitched development battle is brewing in Westboro over a new proposal by Ashcroft Homes to partially demolish a 19th-century convent designated as a heritage building to make way for commercial uses.

Ashcroft’s “adaptive re-use” of Les Soeurs de la Visitation Convent will be encapsulated in glass and combine both heritage and modern elements, according to information posted on the website of Kitchissippi ward Coun. Jeff Leiper.

Ashcroft is proposing to modernize the stone building to attract commercial and office tenants.

The developer — along with City of Ottawa staff in both the planning and Heritage departments — will present more details in a public open house next month.

Expect a fight, says councillor

Leiper has warned Ashcroft to expect a fight from residents and from council.

“This is almost certain to generate a significant amount of community backlash. It will be difficult for me to support any modification to that building,” Leiper said.

The city made it clear to Ashcroft in 2010 that preserving the convent was one of the conditions it had to commit to when it was given permission to purchase the property, he said.

Kitchissippi residents will also demand Ashcroft keep its initial promise to use the 147 year-old building for community space, he said. When it was awarded the development rights to the two-hectare site, Ashcroft pitched council a vision to use the former monastery to hold neighborhood gatherings and art installations. Stores and office space were not part of the deal, Leiper said.

“There is a need for community facilities in the neighborhood,” Leiper said. “Ashcroft has a real challenge to convince the public to support the addition of more commercial space.”

The Kitchissippi councillor said there is already bad blood in the ward stemming from Ashcroft’s previous deviation from council-approved plans.

Ashcroft’s controversial redevelopment for the convent property was the subject of a three-day planning committee in 2010, where dozens of residents spoke against the plan. Ashcroft paid $12 million dollars for the property on Richmond Road at Island Park Drive.

 Ashcroft’s development on the convent lands is recognized around the city as the type of “main street development we don’t want,” Leiper said.

Leiper says Ashcroft’s development on Richmond Road, which dwarfs the convent behind it, is an example of what not to develop on a main street.

‘This place is sacred — like a church’

Ashcroft has not filed a formal land use application for the convent, according to city staff.

Glimpses of the structure built in the mid-1800s can be seen through the archways of an adjacent Ashcroft-developed glass condominium on Richmond Rd and Island Park Drive.

The stone building has sat empty for more than seven years. It is currently fenced off with its windows boarded up, and wooden support beams propping up some of its walls. Despite its state of disrepair, Marthe Ledoux, 77, said Ashcroft must keep its promise to the community to restore the building.

Westboro resident Marthe Ledoux questions the developer’s ability to attract commercial space to the site.

“This place is sacred, like a church,” Ledoux said. She has lived in Westboro for nearly two decades and resides across the street in another Ashcroft development on Richmond Road and said from the window of her modern condo, she sees half a dozen unrented retail storefronts surrounding the convent. She has doubts Ashcroft will be able to attract commercial interest in the site.

“Why would commercial space come here (to the convent) when they don’t come on the main street?” she asked.

Site needs sponsor, developer says

Ashcroft Homes president David Choo was unwilling to be interviewed, but in a brief email exchange he told the CBC restoring a large heritage site like the convent requires a “sponsor.”

“If heritage assets are to be preserved and that is what we are trying to do — then how can we achieve (this) given the enormous cost of such an undertaking…. The convent needs several millions to even begin to adapt and the question is who pays?”

Choo did not answer questions about how much his company has spent to preserve the building since purchasing it in 2010.

The public hearing for Ashcroft’s long-awaited proposal for the convent will take place Jan. 10 at Van Lang Field House at 6 p.m.


David Reevely (Ottawa Citizen) refers to your Hobb comments as ‘epic thread’!

6 04 2013

Your comments to Hobbs regarding the convent-site noise exemption have been noticed. Most recently by David Reevely of the OTTAWA CITIZEN. He refers to the ‘epic thread’ of resident comments on our Hello Westboro blog, and noted ‘the only person defending Hobbs was Hobbs’.

Reevely’s full article:

Reevely’s blog post on the same topic, more detail:

Original post that gave everyone something to talk about:


Convent update: Construction Road through Byron Linear Park

14 10 2012

Hampton Iona and Westboro community groups received this letter from Councillor Hobbs.  Unfortunately, we were given no advance warning that this was happening.   If you have any questions,  you should either contact Councillor Hobbs or Doug James.

To summarize, the City is planning to allow Ashcroft to built a temporary construction road through the Byron Linear Park.  Next  summer the City will be widening Shannon Street and once that widening is completed, that newly widened street will become a construction route and the temporary road through the Park will be closed.

Dear Residents of Shannon Street, Hilson Avenue and Byron Avenue,

This letter is being distributed to advise you that in the coming days, work will commence to prepare a temporary access through the Byron Linear Park for construction vehicles at the location shown on the plan attached.  The temporary access is necessary to accommodate works at the south side of the former Sisters of the Visitation property.  The temporary access will be gravel and will involve some modest site modifications such as the removal of approximately two trees and the realignment of the linear path next to Byron Avenue.  As part of the path realignment, stop signs will be erected at the intersection with the temporary access to help minimize pedestrian conflicts. This temporary access is intended to be in service only until Shannon Street is redesigned through the Site Plan Control Process, all required approvals are issued, and the construction to implement that design is completed.  It is expected that the reconstruction of Shannon Street will be completed next summer, and at that time, construction vehicles will cease using the temporary access through the park, and instead, use Shannon Street to access the site for the duration of construction.

The final design of Shannon Street is intended to include widening the travelled portion of that road to a maximum of 6.75 metres and it is anticipated that a major portion of the asphalt widening will take place on the southern side of the roadway.  There is also no sidewalk planned for the widened road.  In addition to the asphalt widening, roadway modifications to accommodate the turning radius for construction traffic will also be accomplished from the side of the park and the hydro poles will be relocated at Ashcroft’s expense.  Any trees that are removed, both in relation to the increased road allowance as well as the temporary construction access through the linear park will be replaced (two trees for every one tree removed) as part of the Site Plan Control Process. During the construction process, Ashcroft Homes will be required to ensure that dust and dirt are monitored and managed.  This will likely involve watering of the roadway and construction vehicles.

It is acknowledged that construction activities at 114 Richmond Road have been difficult for the surrounding residents; however, the temporary access through the Byron Linear Park and the final design of Shannon Street is being undertaken with the goal of minimizing the impact on the residents of Shannon Street, both during the construction phase of this development and after construction is completed.

For further information please contact the undersigned,

Douglas James
Planning and Growth Management Department
City of Ottawa
613-580-2424 ext. 13856


Ashcroft and the Convent, revisited.

24 08 2012

In case you haven’t heard, Ashcroft Homes has submitted their site plan for Phase 2 of their development, which is the back half of the Soeur de la Visitation Convent Site. You can read about it on the Hampton-Iona Community Group website. Make sure you scroll down and read the comments from other members of the community.

You can also check out the website of local resident, Kevin O’Donnell.

** Update! “Ashcroft Homes drops plan for driveway across Byron linear park”. Read the story over at the Ottawa Citizen.

An update re: the convent site (114 Richmond)

25 08 2011

The Hampton Iona Community Group summarizes recent developments on their blog in two recent posts:

Interested residents might also want to read a recent article published in Ottawa This Week: “Westboro residents want say in convent site plan


29 06 2011

As one of three community Appellants (Westboro Community Assoc., Hampton Iona Community Group & Sylvano Carrasco) against the City’s re-zoning of the ‘Les Soeurs de la Visitation’ convent, located at 114 Richmond Road, Westboro Community Association wishes to announce that the three Appellants have reached an agreement with Ashcroft Developments.

The Appellants have agreed to withdraw their appeal to the OMB in exchange for consensus on a number of issues (a detailed outline of the settlement can be found on including Ashcroft withdrawing their own appeal for added height and density, as well as for $200,000 to be placed in trust, by Ashcroft. This fund will be administered by the community through a yet to be established not-for-profit corporation and is for community use. We will be seeking input from the community as to how these funds can be used.

The only party not at the table for the negotiated settlement was the City of Ottawa, despite several requests.

Despite the existence of a Community Design Plan and a Secondary Plan, City planners, Ashcroft’s planners, and an independent urban design team all supported the proposed Zoning By-law heights approved in November 2010 by City Council.

The three Appellants were faced with a situation in which the only option left was an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

There was an attempt to raise the necessary funds to hire legal and planning help but not enough money was raised to date. As a result, we could neither hire a lawyer to defend our position at the OMB, nor obtain the help of a planner. As a Board we felt backed into a corner, and regretfully, were forced to make a decision. Rather than face imminent and almost certain loss at the OMB, and possible greater densities due to Ashcroft’s challenge, we concluded that we had no choice but to accept Ashcroft’s proposal. We are deeply saddened by this latest development and the affect it will have.

We still disagree with several major aspects of the proposed development, but the crux of the matter is that the City has failed to support the Community Design Plan, which later became the Secondary Plan for Westboro/Richmond Road. We believe that the City has not respected the wording nor the intent of these documents and has designed their secondary plans to be virtually ineffective.

For your reference, the following text was copied directly from the City of Ottawa website.

[Amendment 70, June 24, 2009]
1.0 Introduction/Planning Strategy
The Richmond Road/Westboro Secondary Plan is a guide to its long-term design and development, taking into consideration land use, urban design, zoning, transportation, existing streetscape conditions, compatibility of new development, and other issues of concern to the local communities. The Secondary Plan provides a framework for change that will see Richmond Road/Westboro as we know it today become Richmond Road/Westboro as we will know it tomorrow. A unifying vision and overlying objectives and principles set out the policy context for the specific sectoral strategies that focus on land use and building scale, as well as a greenspace network strategy. This Secondary Plan is meant to be read and interpreted as City Council’s policy direction for municipal actions, particularly the undertaking of public works and the review of development proposals, city-wide and site-specific zoning changes and Committee of Adjustment applications.

The Secondary Plan is based on City Council’s July 9, 2007 approval of the Richmond Road/Westboro Community Design Plan (CDP), a joint staff-community effort to develop a vision for Richmond Road/Westboro as an attractive and viable place for all who shop, work or live in the area. The CDP provides detailed background information on existing conditions and community issues as well as land use policy and zoning recommendations. Development proposals and public works also need to consider the CDP’s urban design guidelines, proposed streetscaping improvements and other implementation measures.

In addition to the CDP, reference must be made to both the City of Ottawa Official Plan and this Secondary Plan for complete policy direction for the future development of the Richmond Road/Westboro area.

The implications of these weak plans are vast, not only for Westboro/West Wellington, but for the entire City. We fear that what the City has approved at 114 Richmond Road due to the weakness of our Secondary Plan has set a dangerous precedent, not only for the future of our neighbourhood, but it has damaged, perhaps irrevocably, the confidence of the WCA and our members and neighbours. We urge Mayor Jim Watson and City Council to address this issue and ensure Secondary Plans are treated as equal to the City’s Official Plan.

Gary Ludington
and the WCA Board

%d bloggers like this: