Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

A House Like No Other: An Architectural and Social History of the Ukrainian Labour Temple, 523 Arlington Avenue, Ottawa, 1923–1967

Document type Thesis
Author Hunchuck, Suzanne Holyck
Degree M.A., Canadian Art History
Publisher Carleton University; Ottawa, Ont.
Date 2001
Pages 259


Traditional architectural histories of Canada have tended to define the Ukrainian architectural presence only in terms of the sacro-religious or the rustico-picturesque. The more complex reality—that of the community's secularity, urbanity, and proletarianization throughout its history—is demonstrated by a third building type, the chytalnia or reading room, of which a Labour Temple is a socialist/pro-communist variant. These institutions were often found in urban centres where they were frequently located in industrial vernacular houses. Their study therefore confounds conventional notions of Ukrainian piety and rusticity, of a historical geography that consists exclusively of rural Prairie settlement, and of formalist paradigms regarding architectural form. Similarly, the architectural history of Ottawa has been predicated upon monumentality and picturesque settings to the neglect of regional vernacular forms, as well as upon a bilingual/bicultural ethnoculture that negates the polyethnic nature of the city. This study posits the Ottawa Ukrainian Labour Temple as a case study for exploring the limitations of traditional historiography regarding vernacular architecture, Ukrainians in Canada, and industrial vernacular housing in Ottawa.