Wallis House
There is also a "Wallis House", an Art Deco building on the Golden Mile, The Great West Road, Brentford, England. Wallis House is a prominent Ottawa, Canada landmark. It was built to house the Carleton County Protestant General Hospital. This was the second hospital in the city, after the Catholic hospital run by the Grey Nuns. The hospital's first building was completed in 1851, but had become too small and Wallis House was built to replace it between 1873 and 1876. It was paid for and supported by the various Protestant churches in the area. The east wing was added to the hospital between 1887 and 1898. It remained a hospital until 1924, when it was merged with two others to create the Ottawa Civic Hospital. The building served as a Catholic seminary until 1943 when the military took it over and used it to house members of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service during the Second World War. The navy gave it the name Wallis House, after Provo Wallis a hero of the War of 1812 who later rose to be an admiral in the Royal Navy. After the war, it was left empty, leading to protests from returning veterans who faced a housing crisis. In 1946, a group of veterans and squatters occupied the building until they were forced out by the Governor General's Foot Guards. The event drew enough attention that Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King mandated that it be turned into subsidized housing. In 1950, the military reoccupied the structure and it served a number of purposes over the next decades, eventually becoming the home of 28 Service Battalion, and other minor Army reserve units. The aged building soon became a problem. Constant minor renovations left the interior a warren of hallways and rooms. The military inspectors also considered it to be a dangerous fire trap. There were problems with asbestos and PCBs that would require an expensive clean-up effort. It was thus abandoned by the armed forces and boarded up. It remained vacant for several years and was threatened with demolition. This led to a number of squabbles. The city wanted the federal government to do something about the dangerous structure in the centre of town, heritage and veterans' groups protested the demolition, and the Government could find no one interested in buying the site. A number of proposals were advanced, perhaps the most unlikely was when the commission on the prostitution problem in the city proposed turning the building into a city run and regulated brothel. The debate was finally resolved in May 1994 when L.A Sandy Smallwood, a heritage restorer, bought the structure for $320,000 and promised to restore it. Wallis House was turned into 47 high-end condominiums. The parking lot behind the building was converted into a group of town houses while the land to the east was set aside for an apartment building. When the Wallis House condos went on sale in October 1995, they were all sold in fewer than twenty-four hours. This unprecedented event was the beginning of long-lasting real estate boom in Ottawa. Today the condos are worth far more than they were sold for in 1995.