The United States Embassy in Ottawa, with its design and its function, creates a bridge between places, peoples and ideas. As an important work of architecture, the building makes a statement about the United States and its significant relationship with Canada. The fine art which has been incorporated into the building also serves as a bridge, connecting peoples, cultures and values. The artwork in the Embassy is a diverse selection of American arts and crafts representing the broad range of possibility and creativity in the American visual arts. More than 60 works of art by artists from across the United States are included.
The magnificence of the Embassy building is indicative of the importance and value of the relationship between the United States and Canada. Designed by the renowned architecture firm, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, this building responds to the complex urban design contexts which surround it: The Byward Market area to the east; the Peace Keeping Monument, the National Gallery of Canada and the Ceremonial Parade Route to the north; the Parliament buildings, Major’s Hill Park and the river to the west; and finally the York Steps and the city to the south. Symbolizing a bridge, the building stands for partnership and alliance.
The U.S. has had an official diplomatic presence in Canada since 1827. Prior to the opening of the current building, the Embassy was located at 100 Wellington Street, which was built in 1932 to house 17 people. Planning for a more modern and large chancery began in 1969. The current Embassy consolidates more than 10 Embassy-related offices and houses more than 200 people.