Tin House – Ottawa, Ontario - Atlas Obscura

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Tin House

Now a public art piece, this curious metal feature originally advertised a tinsmith's services. 


The original Tin House facade was crafted by Ottawa tinsmith Honoré Foisy in the early 1900s to showcase and advertise his tinsmithing services.

Foisy adorned his home, then-located at 136 Guigues Avenue, with galvanized iron sheet metal painstakingly molded into rosettes, pediments, and other architectural embellishments typical of residential buildings at the time.

By 1961, the underlying structure fell into disrepair and soon condemned. Prior to demolition, the National Capital Commission saved and stored the metal facade.

Ten years later, Canadian sculptor and artist Arthur “Art” Price restored the original metalwork. Due to poor storage conditions, Price was forced to recreate nearly 90 percent of the original pieces using photos of the Foisy home and remaining vestiges.

Price completed his restoration in 1973. The bas-relief was installed on a wall in the aptly-named Tin House Court, where it remains today.

In 2003, the facade underwent a second restoration to combat decades of oxidation and degradation.

Know Before You Go

The Tin House is located in the courtyard between Murray Street and Clarence Street. Visitors will notice a vertical sign at both entrances to Tin House Court.

Once inside the courtyard, look up as the structure is embedded on a wall.

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