Tin House – Ottawa, Ontario - Atlas Obscura

Tin House

Now a public art piece, this curious metal feature was once a tinsmith's embellished advertisement. 


The original Tin House facade was crafted by Ottawa tinsmith Honoré Foisy in the early 1900s to showcase and advertise his tinsmithing business.

Foisy adorned his home, then-located at 136 Guigues Avenue, with galvanized iron sheet metal that he painstakingly molded into rosettes, pediments, and other architectural embellishments typical of residential buildings at the time.

When the underlying structure was destined for demolition in 1961, the National Capital Commission saved the building and stored the metal facade.

Ten years later, Canadian sculptor and artist Arthur “Art” Price restored the original metalwork. Due to poor storage conditions, Price was forced to recreate many of the original pieces. Nearly 90 percent of the design was completed using photos of the Foisy home and remaining vestiges.

Price completed the restoration in 1973. The bas-relief was installed on a wall in the aptly-named Tin House Court, where it remains today.

In 2003, the facade underwent a second restoration to combat decades of oxidation and degradation.

Know Before You Go

The Tin House is located in the courtyard between Murray Street and Clarence Street. Visitors will notice a vertical sign at both entrances to Tin House Court.

Once inside the courtyard, look up as the structure is embedded on a wall.