What Ottawa’s Embassies Say About That Nation


Crumbling. Past its prime. Nice neighbourhood.

This building’s glory days are long behind it. Today, the Greek embassy is literally crumbling to the ground and desperate for much-needed repairs. It is situated close to the university, but far enough away to be of any real relevance.

United States

Huge. Militaristic. Not well-liked.

Built to resemble a submarine, the American embassy is an embodiment of almost every possible stereotype. It is built in the most expensive area of town, completely favours size over beauty and overshadows its neighbours.


Organized. Clean. Nice to look at.

Minorities can’t just walk into this embassy, but it sure is well-kept. It’s also quite old, but seemingly untouched by any disaster of Ottawa’s past.


Recluse. Can’t see into it easily. Appears to have been built by the Soviets.

The Cuban embassy is quite separate from the rest of the embassy community. The building is also somewhat windowless, allowing few outsiders to see its inner-workings.


Irrelevant. Not worth taking a picture of. Difficult to find.

Nothing very special about Kazakhstan’s embassy. It is depressingly average in almost every possible way.

South Korea

Modern. Sleek. Close to great food.

Situated in Ottawa’s market area, the Korean embassy is surrounded by great food options. It is a modern and advanced building, but also highly securitized.


Surrounded by others. Hard to tell if it’s nice or not. Oddly shaped.

Depending on the day, Pakistan’s embassy seems quite friendly and hospitable. But it also has the tendency to appear haunted. Hard to say. Situated in an area full of embassies, this building is not short on neighbours, both friendly and unfriendly.


Secretive. Stuck in the 1990s. Bigger than it needs to be.

Covered in trees, this property  is unique in its style and presence. It may seem like the embassy has room to grow, but you can’t help to shake the feeling that it has a couple of decades of catching up to do. The 20-foot-wide satellite dishes don’t help.

United Arab Emirates

Decadent. Man-made. Architecturally impressive.

One can’t help but feel that this embassy does not need to be as elaborate as it is. It’s almost as if there was too much money to know what to do with. (Side note – while I was taking pictures, this was the only embassy where someone came out and told me to stop.)


Central. Functional. Better built than its neighbours. 

While the property has some history to it, that history is not exactly advertised. The building was constructed in the 1950s, renovated in the 1990s, and maintains a modern and forward-thinking feel.


Massive. Populous. Has a big wall.

There seems to be a great plenty of employees occupying the Chinese embassy. Its wall is also impenetrable to any 14th century army.


Mysterious. All activity is constantly monitored. Frequently protested.

The windows and blinds in the Iranian embassy have never opened. It is impossible to tell what is going on inside, but the lawns are very well manicured.


Spent more than it needed to. Historically more impressive than it is now. No current job openings.

It sure seems nice. But how was such a nice building paid for?