Front (north) facade (Kathy Krywicki, 2008)
774 Echo Drive
1914 – 23
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This Sisters of the Precious Blood, a contemplative order of nuns founded in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, came to Ottawa in 1887. In 1898, they purchased the MacKay estate on Echo Drive, which included a large stone house.
The house was demolished and in 1914 work began on a new convent designed by Alphonse Contant. However, construction came to a halt in 1916 due to a steel shortage during the First World War. In 1917, work again stopped when the architect refused to spend any more money on the project and absconded with the funds. The building stood unfinished for four years. After receiving generous donations of materials and labour from the community, the Sisters moved into the monastery in 1923. Because of the financial problems, however, the building was austere and some parts, such as the chapel, were not finished to the Sisters’ satisfaction until the 1960's.