34. New Headquarters (1881)
Even though Logan had spent his own money improving the Geological Survey of Canada’s Montreal headquarters, it was now part of the Department of the Interior and pressure grew to relocate to Ottawa. This, indeed, had been strongly hinted at in the 1877 act that had made the Survey part of government.
In Montreal, there was strong opposition to the move from both the mining industry and the public, sparking questions in Parliament and a media storm of protests. The Survey’s second director, Alfred Selwyn, who had been handpicked by Logan as his successor, was tasked with moving the whole operation to Ottawa.
The new home at 541 Sussex was a former hotel located just east of the Parliament Buildings. In 1881, the Survey moved in with 2000 boxes and barrels weighing over 125 tons, full of rocks, minerals, fossils, and other natural history specimens, as well as anthropological artifacts.
The new headquarters became a popular destination for visitors. Attendance at the Survey museum, which opened on December 1, 1881, grew rapidly. Although the Survey was to later move to more suitable buildings in Ottawa, there were Survey employees working at 541 Sussex until the 1950s.
Category: Buildings and Places
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