Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lorne Building, past, present and future

Sitting quietly at 90 Elgin Street, between Albert and Slater, is the Lorne building. Built half a century ago to house the National Gallery of Canada on a "temporary" basis, the federal government wants to replace it with a new, larger building.

The building's history starts in 1880, when the Marquis of Lorne, Governor General John Douglas Sutherland Campbell, initiated the National Gallery of Canada movement (source). The Gallery opened to the public on 27 May 1882 (source). It was not on this site, but shared a building with the Supreme Court on Bank North of Wellington (that's the West Block tower in the background - see the same angle in Google Street View).

Monday, October 12, 2009

CCCA Annual General Meeting, Wednesday October 21, 2009

The Centretown Citizens' Community Association is holding its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, 21 October 2009 at St. Theresa Church on Somerset and Cartier, just down the street from the regular meeting place, City Hall.

Doors open at 6:30pm, meeting starts promptly at 7pm.

Here are some photos of St. Theresa's:

While the agenda isn't yet available on the CCCA website, the AGM will include a Centretown Heritage Project presentation, celebrating 40 years of activity since the Centretown Community Association (sic) was founded in 1969. I have been coordinating interviews with people who were involved at the very beginning of the association in order to document the early days.

Following the CHP presentation will be a presentation by Ian Lee, PhD, Sprott School of Business and Michael Tiger, Economist, on the proposals for Lansdowne Park, which is certainly an issue affecting Centretowners.

Anyone who lives or owns a business or property in Centretown can become a member of the CCCA (Centretown is defined as bounded by Bronson, the Queensway, the Rideau Canal, and the Ottawa River) and vote at the AGM for only $5. You can also run for the Board of Directors.

Come out and support your local Community Association!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Google Street View comes to Ottawa

Google Street View is now available in Ottawa. This is great!

Go to, search for "Ottawa, on" (you can specify the street/address/intersection, too), and drag the little yellow character on the left to the street you want to view in street view. (Streets will glow blue when you click and hold him if they are visible on Google Street View).

From there, you can move the camera angle by clicking on the picture and dragging, you can follow streets by clicking the arrows along the lines running down the middle of the streets, and you can zoom in and out with the + - arrows at the top left.

This is a great addition to the arsenal of the armchair Ottawa photoblogger (as well as the armchair housebuyer and armchair city planner), along with:

- The City of Ottawa's eMap application, which has various overlays for topology, zoning, and historical aerial photos (back to 2002), plus these layers

- Microsoft Live Maps' bird's eye view, which gives you angled views from above from all four sides in two different zoom factors

- Google Maps' overhead aerial view

These photos are also good for seeing what used to be someplace, since they were all taken at some point in the past. It would be nice if Google eventually had a historical option, so that when they update their photos, you could see what it looked like in the previous version of the photos.

It looks like Google's Street View got Bank Street right as construction was starting between Somerset and Arlington, which makes for a good comparison when contrasting it against how the redeveloped Bank street is shaping up.

This is also the reason why Google's Street View isn't a replacement for blogs like this one: it only shows the most recent photos of the area, and can't track fast changes as well as passionate photobloggers. Furthermore, I can't be sure Google's view will always be around the way it is (and even though it is, it's copyrighted by Google), so taking my own photos is still the way to go.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Spirit Halloween in Goldstein's old haunt

Back in 2007, Goldstein Freshmart closed. Goldstein's was a small President's Choice-affiliated grocery store on Elgin between Cooper and Somerset, and had been a fixture of Centretown for decades. In December 2007, PrimeCorp "For Lease" signs in the front window bore "LEASED" stickers:

The closed store remained more or less as is, with all supermarket fixtures still inside, until September 2008, when the shelves were dismantled and the other contents were cleared from the store:

Not ten days later, the store was completely empty:

The Goldstein signs were covered over, and by October 6th, new "For Lease" signs were added, bearing the name of Arcturus Realty:

In January 2009, cleaner white paper was used to cover over the window, in place of the unbleached poster paper. Larger "For Lease" signs were also added:

No activity was visible until early September 2009, when signs announced the imminent appearance of "Spirit Hallowe'en":

And toward the end of September, the store opened:

A few days later, a marquee was added, on top of the white sign covering the old Goldstein sign:

A handmade sign by the front door indicates the store's hours, and another indicates that dogs are welcome:

Obviously, this store is only temporary until Hallowe'en, but hopefully it will spark a more permanent development at the site--perhaps even a new grocery store.

Who knows, maybe the store will even be included on the Haunted Walks?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Museum of Nature to close for October

Today is the last day to visit the Canadian Museum of Nature. The following was posted to

The Canadian Museum of Nature will close its public exhibitions site, the Victoria Memorial Museum Building, at 240 McLeod Street for four weeks from October 5 to 30, 2009. The closure is required to complete a necessary step in the historic building's renewal, namely testing of the life support and safety systems (e.g. fire alarms, sprinklers, electrical) in the areas under construction, and linking of these systems to those in the currently occupied areas. On October 31, the museum will reopen with its popular galleries in the West Wing (Fossil, Mammal and Bird Galleries). Following the October closure, staff will begin installation of new galleries in preparation for the grand reopening of the entire downtown site on May 22, 2010, International Biodiversity Day. For more information: 613-566-4700 or
You can't go in the front door:

You'll have to take the construction entrance:

If you don't make it today and can't wait until November, here are some Museum of Nature related things to keep your interest satisfied:

I have some photos of the later stages of construction, which I'll likely post when the exterior renovations are nearer completion.