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Image courtesy of Dominion-Chalmers United Church.

Carleton University could purchase Dominion-Chalmers for new music school and art gallery

By Greggory Clark on December 11, 2017


Photo courtesy of Bytown Museum.

Last week, ARTSFILE broke news that Carleton University will enter negotiations to purchase Dominion-Chalmers United Church. Talks will begin this month.

The 950-seat Sanctuary inside Dominion-Chalmers has been a regular venue for the likes of Chamberfest and the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, and if acquired, would become the new home for students and faculty of Carleton University’s music school. Carleton’s board of directors say the O’Connor Street building would continue to act as a hub for artists, community groups, and the Dominion-Chalmers United Church congregation.

“This unique community asset would provide valuable performance space for Carleton students and faculty that isn’t available on the main campus,” said Alastair Sumerlee, interim president and vice-chancellor of the University.

A statement from the University says “academic programming at the site will be interdisciplinary and primarily focused on music, drama and performance. While a new campus will not be created, the multi-purpose space will provide opportunities to expand program options in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, potentially including exhibit space for the Carleton University Art Gallery.”

Image courtesy of Dominion-Chalmers United Church.

The decision by Carleton to enter into these negotiations is a game changer.

Professional organizations such as the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra are applauding Carleton University’s move to negotiate a new multi-purpose performance space. In a statement, the OSO indicated it would re-locate its offices and 90-plus member orchestra to Dominion-Chalmers to work closely with Carleton University in creating a vibrant musical space for the community.

“This initiative offers something new and exciting for our Orchestra,” noted Robert W. Peck, president of the OSO board of directors. “We applaud Carleton’s foresight in understanding how vital music is to the future of our city… The decision by Carleton to enter into these negotiations is a game changer in that regard.”

The heritage building will require renovations to become a state-of-the-art performance complex, including rehearsal rooms and studios for music students.