The Next Step

Ottawa Magazine - - This City -

A swath of calm­ing white mar­ble and teak with white nos­ing, gold-coloured treads, and a cross-hatched handrail, the stair­case lead­ing from the main en­trance of the Ot­tawa Art Gallery (OAG) up to the sec­ond floor can’t help catch­ing the eye.

The stair­case is one of a few el­e­ments sal­vaged when the Fire­stone home at 375 Minto Place in Rock­cliffe was de­mol­ished in 2007. Named Bel­manor, the home of art en­thu­si­asts Iso­bel and O.J. Fire­stone was covered with Cana­dian art col­lected over three decades, in­clud­ing nu­mer­ous works from the Group of Seven. The house even had a Jack­son Room — named for A.Y., who cel­e­brated his 80th birth­day at Bel­manor in 1962.

An­chor­ing the lobby of the new six-floor 55,000-square-foot OAG, the stair­case can be seen as a work of art in it­self. And it’s em­blem­atic of Bel­manor, around which the en­tire aes­thetic of the OAG’s ren­o­va­tion and ex­pan­sion is based. This piece of Ot­tawa her­itage car­ries you right into the Fire­stone Col­lec­tion of Cana­dian Art, a col­lec­tion com­posed of 1,600 paint­ings, draw­ings, prints, and sculp­tures from across the coun­try. – Fa­teema Sayani

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