September 4, 2009 — Walkin’ round the neighbourhood

Posted in Uncategorized by nicktaylorvaisey on October 1, 2009

Today on the show, I welcomed Travis Boisvenue into the studio. We went on a virtual walk around Sandy Hill and the ByWard Market, stopping only to discuss some of the major changes — some pleasant, some jarring — that have shaped the urban landscape over the last five years.

We started in Sandy Hill, where we stood in the newly re-opened park behind the Sandy Hill Community Centre. Although passersby might not know it, this park is now sitting on top of an enormous reservoir that has been installed as a means of preventing floods that have, over the years, plagued nearby homes.

After that, we walked over to the University of Ottawa and spent more than a few minutes talking about the monumental changes to the campus — the School of Information Technology and Engineering, Biosciences Complex, 90 University and 157 Laurier residences, and Desmarais Hall have all markedly altered the landscape on campus over the last decade or so. Even the Sports Complex across from SITE is only 10 years old.

Travis and I walked north to the ByWard Market, where we commented on the new condominium that replaced the old building that housed what used to be Capital Music Hall and Record Runner. Travis lamented the current lack of Record Runner, but he promoted the rise of End Hits — something of a sequel to the dependable Runner — just around the corner on Dalhousie.

Next, we strolled through the Market until we reached Maman, the spider statue outside of the National Gallery of Canada. I don’t know why I thought this was notable. Well, it’s pretty jarring, I guess. Or beautiful, depending on your opinion of large spider statues that, when you frame them just so, dwarf parliament buildings.

We hopped along Sussex Drive, complaining about the barriers outside of the US Embassy that changed traffic patterns for the worse in a part of town that is already challenging for drivers. After that, we were distracted by the construction site of the revamped Congress Centre, which could quite dramatically change the character of its surroundings.

As we walked down the Rideau Canal, Travis and I couldn’t say enough about the Corktown Bridge. It’s the footbridge that links the University of Ottawa to the Golden Triangle (or, as I call it, Canal West).

A few blocks further and we reached Bank Street. Our comments can be boiled down thus: There is lots of construction happening that is potentially killing business, but some of the oldest infrastructure in this part of the world had to be upgraded sometime. On the other side of these years of disruption that has seen Bank Street ripped up from top (Wellington Street) to bottom (of Centretown, anyway, at Arlington Street), there will be a renewed streetscape of some sort.

Our final destination was Lansdowne Park. What did we say about it? We said that whatever happens to Lansdowne, something has to happen to Lansdowne. In other words, it’s an important public space that needs to be fixed.

That’s all for our virtual tour. The podcast will be available soon, perhaps.


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