Throwback Thursdays: Ottawa’s First Condo

A lovingly retrospective on Canada’s first high rise condo built here in Ottawa at 1365 Meadowlands Drive, also known as Carleton Condominium Corporation (CCC) #1...

Highrise Condo a Canada First
By Rob Thomas, Sun Media

Helen Lewis moved into her condo on Meadowlands Dr. because rent for her apartment was going up by $30.

“That seemed like quite a bit for a month to me," Lewis said, "That and I liked the idea of ownership.”

That was 40 years ago and Horizon House, the building Lewis moved into, was brand new and the first of its kind in Canada.

“We didn't know anything about a condo because this was the first highrise in Canada. This was a perfectly original ideas of Minto's to build here,” Lewis said.
Jean Smith and her sister moved in around the same time.

“We had been in a house and we found it was too much work. The condo had indoor parking and you didn't have to do any snow shovelling,” said Smith. “Now if I look out my kitchen window I can see the water at Britannia and if I look out my other window I can see the fireworks at the casino.”

Smith had heard about condos in Florida and jumped at the idea of buying one in her hometown.
The Nepean highrise was registered as a condominium with Carleton County in 1969, making it Canada's first highrise condo. Brentwood Village, a townhouse complex in Edmonton, was the first registered condo in 1967.

“I loved the idea of condo fees that were equal to rental fees and to be making an investment rather than just water gone under the bridge in rent,” said Mabel Brown, who is also one of 10 original Horizon House residents. Brown has used a wheelchair since her 20s due to polio. She said her spacious ground-floor condo has been ideal.

“Because Minto was making an experiment to see how the market would go they called this the Horizon House Project but once they saw that it sold quickly then others went up like mushrooms,” Brown said.

Horizon House was built by Minto with mortgages held by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The building won a design award when it was first built.