Workplace Modernization at 80 Elgin Street

The National Capital Commission (NCC) has acquired the former British High Commission property located at 80 Elgin Street, and proposes a retrofit of the existing building (9 storey plus basement) while enhancing the site with improved landscaping.


The proposed project would take place on land owned by the NCC and is subject to a Federal Land Use, Design, and real estate Transaction Approval (FLUDTA) under the National Capital Act. For the proposed project, the NCC will be both landlord and tenant.


The retrofit consists of an area of 7,767m² across 10 floors, including a mechanical penthouse and basement service level. The first floor will function primarily as an arrival space. New commercial spaces will be added at the south and north ends of the building, adding services in the area. The second floor will host the NCC Urbanism Lab, which will also have a day-to-day function as a staff lunch area. On the third floor will be the Boardroom, the primary meeting space for the NCC Board and other important committees. The floors above will host collaborative zones and approximately 400 individual work points.


The retrofit includes the replacement of all mechanical and electrical systems. Heating and cooling will transition to electric air-source heat pumps to minimize the use of fossil fuels, taking the NCC on a path toward net-zero operational carbon. The project also provides modern telecom, data, and audio-visual systems. On the exterior of the building, landscaping will be used to define semi-public areas with outdoor seating, especially adjacent to the retail spaces. A new vestibule and canopy will offer a public entrance that incorporates steps and a ramp from the sidewalk for accessibility.


The property at 80 Elgin Street is located along Confederation Boulevard, one of the National Capital Region's most important ceremonial routes, across from the National Arts Centre (NAC) and adjacent to the National War Memorial. The site is bounded by Elgin Street to the east, Albert Street to the south and Queen Street to the north. To the west is the entrance to a vehicle tunnel that provides access to the underground parking garage at the NAC. Further west are other office buildings. There is a consistent cross-slope moving upward from south to north. While not officially designated as a heritage building, the building at 80 Elgin Street has significant heritage value. As a fine example of the late International Style, 80 Elgin also has considerable historical significance, having functioned as the British High Commission since 1964.


The construction area will be accessed with medium duty machines and equipment, and all work areas will be fenced in accordance with applicable health and safety legislation. The construction is set to begin April 2024 with a completion date of March 2025. Construction will abide by all municipal by-laws, including noise.


The site is being redeveloped to remove the high-security features linked to the building's former use as a diplomatic mission. Windows will be treated as per the NCC Bird Safe Design Guidelines to mitigate bird collisions. The existing trees will be removed to accommodate large trees that will be introduced to provide shade at the façade on Elgin Street, and new cascading planters help mitigate the grade change and create a more welcoming and enjoyable space for everyone. Planting along retaining walls will soften the harsh edge along the sidewalk and provide space for seasonal planting. The west plaza will provide large shade trees and mass plantings will be added to the west plaza to provide character and texture to the area. The proposed planting palette focuses on native trees, shrubs and perennials that are tolerant of the urban environment and reflect the Canadian landscape.


Latest update

[May 16, 2024] – The National Capital Commission issued its Notice of Determination and determined that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.


Key documents

Key documents
Document Number Document Title File Date
2 Notice of Determination - May 16, 2024
1 Notice of Intent to Make a Determination - Start of Public Comment Period - February 29, 2024


National Capital Commission
Environmental Assessment
40 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5A8

  • Location

    • City of Ottawa (Ontario)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Building and Property Development
  • Assessment Status

  • Start Date

  • Proponent

    National Capital Commission
  • Authorities

    • National Capital Commission
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.


Nearby assessments

...within 200 kilometres
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