stats Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels


  This site         Tips

  The Web Google


  Where to Find It

Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business



Subscribe to The Globe

Shop at our Globe Store

Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business




  Arts & Entertainment



   Headline Index

 Other Sections

  Births & Deaths






  Facts & Arguments




  Real Estate









  Food & Dining




  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...


   Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site



  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us



 Web Site

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Globe Store New

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


Change comes to old Ottawa
Venerable Rockcliffe Park and the Glebe are attracting city's new tech titans - and their renovating instincts
Special to The Globe and Mail

Email this article Print this article
Friday, March 9, 2018 – Page H6

OTTAWA -- Even the co-founder of one of North America's largest tech companies isn't immune to negative feedback from the neighbours.

Daniel Weinand, a co-founder of Shopify, the Ottawa-based e-commerce company with a $18-billion valuation, got some backlash from the local neighbourhood association in Ottawa's tony Rockcliffe Park late last year after his plans to add a new addition to his Tudor-Revival home became public.

Mr. Weinand, 38, left Shopify last year to start his own design studio. He also went shopping for a new home.

He was scouting out the neighbourhood - long known as one of Ottawa's most exclusive neighbourhoods, home to international diplomats, high-net-worth individuals and the Prime Minister's official residence - when he found the sixbedroom, five-bathroom home that overlooks McKay Lake, tucked away on a quiet street.

Mr. Weinand struck a deal to purchase the property and soon hired Shean Architects Inc. to design an updated rear extension of glass and wood with an expansive view of the lake.

He ran into opposition when the plans were brought forward in a city-planning meeting last November.

Architect Julian Smith, who helped produce a Conservation Heritage Area study on Rockcliffe Park in 1997, told a built-heritage subcommittee that the project posed a significant risk. "I think this is cultural heritage in danger," Mr. Smith said, according to a report of the meeting in The Ottawa Citizen.

"It seemed to be very sacred to some residents of the neighbourhood," Mr. Weinand says. "It would be blasphemy to do something to it."

Mr. Weinand said subsequent meetings with city planners and revisions to the plans - a "true collaboration," he says - improved the design, and he received a heritage permit from the city on Dec. 14. He expects the renovations to take about two years to complete.

Mr. Weinand's experience is one small vignette illustrating a larger trend that is bringing change to some of Ottawa's most exclusive neighbourhoods.

Sales of Ottawa homes worth $1-million or more increased by 38 per cent from 2016 to 2017, and had a five-year increase of 68 per cent, according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board.

And, according to the City of Ottawa, building permit applications in the RideauRockcliffe ward from 2016 to 2017 jumped 55 per cent. In the Glebe, another one of Ottawa's premier neighbourhoods, building permit applications were up nearly 20 per cent.

More than 13 per cent of all homes sold in Ottawa for more than $1-million in 2017 were sold in Rockcliffe; 7 per cent of the homes worth more than $1-million were sold in the Glebe.

Marilyn Wilson, of Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc., says the increase in million-dollar home sales across Ottawa is primarily due to a trend in upscale construction and renovation. It's buyers such as Mr. Weinand and others who have made their money in Ottawa's burgeoning tech industry who are giving the city's stately neighbourhoods a brash new look.

The market has also gotten a boost from the city's burgeoning growth: Statistics Canada says the population growth rate in Ottawa last year was the highest in the past 15 years, at 2.2 per cent. The median household income in the city is more than $86,000 - the highest in the province.

The city has also been recognized as one of the best in Canada in terms of livability, which has driven many young workers to come to Ottawa.

"Ottawa has something for everyone," says Ms. Wilson, who has lived in Rockcliffe Park for the past 33 years and has been an agent for 29.

She sold the highestpriced home in the area in 2017 according to OREB, along with the highest-priced home so far in 2018, listed at $1.96-million. "In my opinion, high-end home sales in Ottawa will continue to flourish in 2018."

Dominique Milne, who has lived in the Glebe for 10 years and is an area specialist for the Engel & Volkers real estate brokerage, says that neighbourhood is as "hot as ever." She says properties are receiving multiple offers and are usually selling in under a week, invoking agents to compare the scene with Toronto.

"There's not a lot of inventory and everybody wants to be here," she says.

Ms. Milne says the Glebe has a mix of new buyers, including doctors and lawyers but also younger people who are working for new tech companies (Mr. Weinand currently lives in the Glebe) - who will see an older-style home and will put a new addition on, or update a kitchen to have modern-day conveniences.

"They'll do something that will marry both the classic and the modern," she says.

"As much as we have a lot of people who have been in their homes for 40 years, there's an influx of new blood, younger blood as well."

Buying in the Glebe or Rockcliffe remains aspirational for many young buyers, but according to Derek Hooper, a broker with Re/Max Hallmark Realty Group, he's seeing a large portion of that age bracket rent for longer - in order to stay in the walkable neighbourhoods - and buy at 35.

He's also seeing young professionals who've established themselves in another major city, such as Toronto, move to Ottawa.

"They're seeing value to move back here because they can actually afford to buy a house and build and grow here," says Mr. Hooper, who admits Ottawa has been underpriced for a while and is now catching up.

While the influx of new buyers may mean changes for the look-and-feel of a classic neighbourhood such as the Glebe, Mr. Hooper says that's a positive. Although he doesn't like every infill that's put in, he says it's good for the neighbourhood to see ongoing building take place.

"It's bringing new life to maybe underutilized properties, and I think it's just a natural thing that you'll see. It's a good sign for a neighbourhood," Mr. Hooper says.

"It's easy to protest it, but you should be happy your neighbourhood is attracting that kind of investment."

Susan Peterson d'Aquino, a board member of the Rockcliffe Park Residents Association, says having young people come in to the neighbourhood is a good thing and the mix of how homes look matter less, as long as the heritage character of the neighbourhood - and its park-like setting - are maintained.

"There are all kinds of designs and periods in Rockcliffe ... it's a continuing phenomenon. I live in a Modernist house built in 1959, and at the time it was probably hard on the eyes on some of the neighbours," she says with a laugh. "But now it's a muchloved house in Rockcliffe. That's just the reality. There will be continual change."

Associated Graphic

Daniel Weinand's proposed extension to his home in Ottawa's Rockliffe Park initially drew opposition from neighbours concerned about preserving the neighbourhood's cultural heritage.

Mr. Weinand, a Shopify co-founder, worked with city planners to improve his design, a process he describes as a 'true collaboration.'


Huh? How did I get here?
Return to Main David_Macfarlane Page
Subscribe to
The Globe and Mail

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement

Need CPR for your RSP? Check your portfolio’s pulse and lower yours by improving the overall health of your investments. Click here.


7-Day Site Search

Breaking News

Today's Weather


Rick Salutin
Merrily marching
off to war
Roy MacGregor
Duct tape might hold
when panic strikes

Where Manley is going with his first budget



For a columnist's most recent stories, click on their name below.


Roy MacGregor arrow
This Country
Jeffrey Simpson arrow
The Nation
Margaret Wente arrow
Hugh Winsor  arrow
The Power Game

Rob Carrick arrow
Personal Finance
Drew Fagan arrow
The Big Picture
Mathew Ingram arrow
Brent Jang arrow
Business West
Brian Milner arrow
Taking Stock
Eric Reguly arrow
To The Point
Andrew Willis arrow

Stephen Brunt arrow
The Game
Eric Duhatschek arrow
Allan Maki arrow
William Houston arrow
Truth & Rumours
Lorne Rubenstein arrow
 The Arts

John Doyle arrow
John MacLachlan Gray arrow
Gray's Anatomy
David Macfarlane arrow
Cheap Seats
Johanna Schneller arrow

Murray Campbell arrow
Ontario Politics
Lysiane Gagnon arrow
Inside Quebec
Marcus Gee arrow
The World
William Johnson arrow
Pit Bill
Paul Knox arrow
Heather Mallick arrow
As If
Leah McLaren arrow
Generation Why
Rex Murphy arrow
Japes of Wrath
Rick Salutin arrow
On The Other Hand
Paul Sullivan arrow
The West
William Thorsell arrow

Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page