Notman Heritage – International Day for Monuments and Sites


A true Heritage Building

Des travaux sur l'ancien hôpital - Notman Heritage

Last Monday, April 18, was International Day for Sites and Monuments, also known as World Heritage Day, and we wanted to take this occasion to introduce you to the Notman heritage.

This is a day of particular importance to all of us at Notman, as our building is a classified heritage building, one of the highest heritage status in Quebec.

Indeed, the William Notman House’s heritage is of great interest both for its historical and architectural value. Of course, part of its historical value lies in the fame of those who lived there, including the renowned Canadian photographer and businessman William Notman who owned it from 1876-1891 and for whom the house is named.

In 1894, the St. Margaret’s Sisters acquired the house and a building behind it. They operated a hospital there until 1920 and then a residence for elderly women until 1991.

Nouvel occupant : OSMO

It was in 2012 that the OSMO Foundation acquired the Notman House and the former St. Margaret’s Hospital. The previously uncertain future of this historic home was then shaped by two specific goals:

  • To create a vibrant physical space to support the development of Montreal’s startup ecosystem.
  • To give a second life to this landmark building on Sherbrooke Street, on the border between the Plateau Mont-Royal and Downtown.

Travaux Sid Lee Architecture

In the following year, OSMO, with the financial support of corporate and individual donors, restored Notman House and St. Margaret’s Hospital into the campus we know today. Sid Lee Architecture built the splendid footbridge that connects the two, and the popular OSMO Café that completes the ensemble. With small, medium and large offices, meeting rooms and event spaces, Notman House was ready to welcome the city’s most innovative entrepreneurs.

Challenges that are still current

Meetup Notman Heritage

Ten years later, it is clear that the OSMO Foundation has achieved both of its goals. Notman House is recognized in the startup and tech community as a place to gather, meet and share. And, with nearly 300 startup alumni having created more than 3000 jobs and raised more than $2B, it is clear that Notman has contributed to the development of the ecosystem, as intended by OSMO.

However, occupying a building that is hundreds of years old and has heritage status brings its own set of challenges. The building is fragile, not only to the weather and the passage of time, but also to its use. And recent use has been significant. The building requires a great deal of restoration work to maintain its former glory and to be preserved.

The primary work needed is:

  • Rehabilitation of the windows, doors and skylights of the Notman House.
  • The restoration of the floors.
  • Restoration of the balconies of the old hospital.
  • Replacement of the elevator in the old hospital.
  • Air conditioning of the entire building.

Journée du patrimoine à notmanSupport from the community 

We need funding to ensure that this major work is done in a way that respects Notman’s heritage.

We also need people who want to support us and show that Notman House plays an important role in the startup community. Those who think it is important to preserve the built heritage of our building and to continue to support a vibrant, open and inclusive community can support us by signing our letter of support here.

This letter will then be used to apply for financial support to carry out the work mentioned.

A future as rich as its past

Journée du patrimoine à notman

Finally, neither the pandemic nor the challenges of restoring the building will get the better of Notman House. Well established in the Montreal startup scene, appreciated by all and in demand, Notman will continue to support the city’s most innovative entrepreneurs. There are many projects coming up in 2022. We are motivated and ready to welcome you! And we hope you’re ready to get on board with us!


Read The Notman House : when heritage inspires innovationarticle by Héritage Montréal, to learn more.