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10 Of Canada's Ugliest Buildings

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All of Ottawa is aghast at a proposed design to expand the venerable Château Laurier, which stands next to Parliament Hill.

Even Mayor Jim Watson weighed in, reminding naysayers that the much-disputed design plans aren’t final.

Which got us thinking... what are the other architectural eyesores in Canada that actually got built in our contemporary times?

Taste, of course, is subjective. But it wasn't hard for our editors across the country to come up with a shortlist of bizarro buildings. (Add your pick in the comments below!)

Universiade Pavilion (A.K.A. “Butterdome”)
University of Alberta, Edmonton


(Photo: WinterE229 WinterforceMedia/Wikimedia)

With its rectangular shape and shiny bright yellow exterior, the “Butterdome” nickname was inevitable. The large sports area was built in 1983 in celebration of the University of Alberta’s 75th birthday.

Though "Butterdome" isn’t the building’s official name, even the university has embraced the fun nickname by releasing its own branded butter dishes.

Vancouver Aquatic Centre

Aquatic Centre (Photo: Darren Barefoot)

With a backdrop of the North Shore mountains, it’s a wonder how this building — resembling a mound of mud — made it through to the construction stage.

Loeb Building
Carleton University, Ottawa


(Photo: Carleton University)

Sure, universities are institutions are higher learning. But it’s amazing how officials haven’t learned to say no to terrible designs. The building opened in 1967 in a sort of architectural ode to the tenets of “democratized” higher education.

But that flowery description doesn’t mask what the building is today: a large unglamourous red brick and pebble complex that fails to rouse exciting feelings about social and educational equality.

HEC Montreal, Côte-Sainte-Catherine campus
Montreal

hec montreal
(Photo: Renault Philippe/Getty Images)

Built on the slopes of Mont Royal, the entrance to the Montreal school is supposed to evoke the same emotions one would feel before a “temple of knowledge.”

Striving for grand and high tech, brushed metal columns out front also function as air inlets. But 20 years later, the “high tech” concept just looks dated and confusing.

McGill University Health Centre
Montreal

mcgill university health centre
(Photo: The Canadian Press)

The new health-care complex is actually a fusion of three hospitals (Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal Children’s Hospital, and the Montreal Chest Institute).

Since the start of construction in 2010, the project has been dogged by a corruption scandal and comparisons to a Lego building worthy of a “booby prize” (“Prix citron” in French).

Kings Place Mall
Fredericton

kings place mall
(Photo: Kings Place Mall/Facebook)

If it were possible for a parking garage and sterile modernist hospital building to have some sort of architectural love child, Kings Place Mall would be it.

Édifice Jean Talon
Quebec City

édifice jean talon
(Photo: Google Streetview)

Quebec’s Parliament building is a stunner. Which underscores how much of a shame it is for the Édifice Jean Talon — belovedly nicknamed “The Bunker” — to sit right across from it.

Its brutalist architectural style makes this an easy “ugly building” mark given how the historic buildings surrounding it are visually striking (in a good way).

University of Toronto's Robarts Library
Toronto

robarts library toronto
(Photo: Oleksiy Maksymenko)

Completed in 1973, it’s hard to unsee the concrete peacock (or is it a turkey?) that stands today. It’s unclear if the architects meant to shape their brutalist building into poultry.

This Toronto apartment building

bloor and dundas west
(Photo: Google Streetview)

This building isn’t one most people probably envision about when they’re listening to Drake’s smooth lyrics reminding us of his love for Toronto.

Located in the city’s west end (Bloor Street and Dundas Street West), the building looms as a confusing spire, designed as if by three architects with wildly different visions forced to mesh their ideas together into a Frankenstein apartment complex.

Ameublements Tanguay store
Les Saules, Quebec City


(Photo: Ameublements Tanguay/Facebook)

Liberace is alive and owns a furniture store just outside of downtown Quebec City. Just kidding. Whimsical and incredibly gaudy, you can’t blame Ameublements Tanguay’s store in Les Saules for not having style.

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