The Demolition of the Sir John Carling Building

Anywhere you look in the local Ottawa news and social media you’ll see this story. Everyone who witnessed it has their own story and I thought I’d jot down mine and share it with you here.

First, a little history. The Sir John Carling building which was located on Carling Avenue near Dow’s Lake in Ottawa opened for government offices (Agriculture Canada) in 1967. It was vacated in 2009 after years of neglect and concerns about asbestos. In subsequent years it has been prepared for demolition. Although many objected to the demolition because it was considered to be a heritage building, only a small portion of it was saved.

Location of Sir John Carling Building

A specialized team came up from the United States to set the charges and do the demolition. The building was prepared to be brought down by a series of explosions (362 Kilograms (800 pounds) of explosives) which would create an implosion and reduce the building to 40,000 tonnes of rubble. 1

WELL…

When I read in the paper that this would be happening today, I decided right then and there that I HAD to be there to see it. It was, after all, going to be the biggest demolition in the history of Ottawa. How can you miss that? The only issue was that the demolition was planned for 7 am which would mean that our family had to get up at 5:30 to dress, drive over there, park, and claim our viewing spot. And we did it!

Sir John Carling Building
A spot of sun shone on the building about 20 minutes before detonation.

We and a whole bunch of other people! I was surprised by the crowds.

The crowds I could see from where I was sitting but there were many more on all sides of the building.
The crowds I could see from where I was sitting but there were many more on all sides of the building.

Of course, about 10 minutes before blast off time, it started to pour. But that didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. Everyone was pumped and BOY we were NOT disappointed. Without further ado, here is my own video. 🙂 Enjoy!

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