Abbotsford House Celebrates 150 years with Doors Open Ottawa on Sunday June 5th.
By Pat Goyeche
Built 150 years ago in 1872, in the gothic revival style, Abbotsford House was named by its builder and first owner, Alexander Mutchmor. He named it Abbotsford House, after Sir Walter Scott’s home in Scotland. By 1889 it had been purchased by a group of philanthropic Protestants from the then only other private owner of the house, Mayor Charles H. Mackintosh, who had purchased it in 1879.
The original site of the Protestant Home for the Aged, as it was then called, was on the current grounds of the Canadian Mint. The vision was to create a home to “assist those who through age, infirmity and misfortune, were unable to help themselves.” Such a facility was much needed at the time, and the sale of Abbotsford to this group was timely.
In August 1889, the Ottawa Journal carried a sketch and accompanying article about Abbotsford House (Protestant Home for the Aged), which gives a sense of how significant a step this was.
Abbotsford House was renovated in 1928 with the addition of a wing to make room for more residents. It was again renovated in the mid-seventies and converted into a Seniors Recreational Drop-in Centre. It remains a Community Centre for Ottawa seniors who are 55 plus. Abbotsford is known for its well-rounded and affordable offerings of recreational and social activities as well as community support services to this day. It is the community-based wing of the Glebe Centre and has been since 1975.
Inside, three original marble fireplace mantels still adorn the parlor and dining room. The ceiling in the front entrance is edged with decorative molded plaster. The house was officially recognized as a Designated Heritage Property in 1984. The official plaque can be found outside the building under the bay window in the dining room.
In April of 2022 Abbotsford at the Glebe Centre was fortunate to receive the 2021 Glebe Heritage Restoration Award from the Glebe Community Association Heritage Committee for the refurbishment of the front porch and restoration of the bargeboard gables that adorn the ‘old stone house’ across from Lansdowne Park.
The main floor of Abbotsford will be available for viewing. As part of Doors Open Ottawa, tea will be served at a modest price in the Abbotsford Dining Room throughout the day on Sunday, June 5th. The community centre’s regular hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. Members of the public are always welcome to visit and shop in our Boutique, where patrons will find quality second hand women’s clothing, jewelry, books, puzzles, elegant treasurers and art, as well as handmade crafts and teddy bears. As a charity that is not fully funded we rely on these sales to help maintain our quality programming and services.
Abbotsford is your Seniors Active Living Centre for Adults 55+. It houses the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home. Find out more about our services by visiting and/or telephoning 613-230-5730 during regular business hours or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website www.glebecentre.ca