Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lawn Toilets

At 18 Macdonald (corner of MacLaren)

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

Monday, March 28, 2011

A walk around Christ Church

On the weekend I went for a walk with some friends through Lebreton flats and back up through the escarpment. It being such a nice day, I took some photos of Christ Church, the Anglican cathedral at the far northwest corner of Centretown that has a redevelopment proposal with Windmill Developments. There was a public meeting in December about the plans, as well as an article in the Citizen.

Here's a view of the church from the Garden of the Provinces (you'd get a similar view from the steps of Library and Archives Canada). To the right of the cathedral is Cathedral Hall, a Modernist assembly hall built in the '50s. Among other things, the plan proposes to replace this hall with townhouses at the base of a 24-storey condo tower. Behind it in the photo is one of the two sister towers of Charlesfort's The Gardens condos on Bronson at Albert and Queen. On the near side of Queen next to the cathedral (i.e. behind Cathedral Hall) is Lauder Hall, a stone-walled hall that, like the main part of the Cathedral, would be retained in the development due to its heritage value.

At a certain angle, the upward-curved roof of the Sparks Street lobby (420 Sparks) presents a perspective illusion, as though it curves toward you instead of up.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The right and wrong way to fix potholes on Lewis

Last February, I was pretty frustrated by the string of potholes that runs right down the middle of Lewis Street, between O'Connor and Bank Streets. They looked a lot like these ones, which are just before Bank (read some history of the businesses at that intersection in this post). This photo was taken almost exactly a year ago:

It's clear that the top layer of asphalt along Lewis had been paved one half of the street at a time, and because the roadway drains toward the centre line (or at least doesn't sufficiently drain away from it) water seeps into the seam. When the water freezes, it separates the top layer, creating the potholes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Upcoming meetings and events in Centretown - including tonight!

The following message was sent to the e-mail list of the Centretown Citizens Community Association early this morning. Join the CCCA and get on the e-mail list to receive 2-3 updates per month from the CCCA. Note that Images of Centretown is my personal blog and not a blog of the CCCA.

Dear CCCA members and followers,

There are some important meetings coming up in the next couple of weeks:

Tonight, Wednesday, March 23, 7-9pm
Public meeting on 224 Lyon (at Gloucester) development

7pm, Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier (Richmond Room)

The CCCA has already submitted comments lauding many positive aspects of the plan, but asking that the height and setback limits not be increased. The CCCA has also asked that mature trees removed for this development be replaced by more trees (on site or elsewhere), asking for visitor parking to be included, and asking that, if the City grants the height increase, that it seek a Section 37 agreement for the increased density.

The City of Ottawa has more information on this proposal here:

Other rezoning applications

Monday, March 21, 2011

379 Arlington

Canes are usually used to hold up elderly people, but this one--in concert with a broom--is being used to hold up a young tree:

That always made me laugh when I walked by, but the cane recently disappeared. It's on Arlington just west of Bronson.

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

Friday, March 18, 2011

Centretown's polite pedestrians

Centretown's got some pretty nice people. When somebody found keys at the corner of Elgin and Cooper a while back, they took the time to put up a poster with a photo of the keys. I've seen other "found" signs around Centretown for other things, too. Perhaps even more than "lost" signs. I'd say that's a pretty decent thing to do.

I hope the keys eventually got reunited with their owner!

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Museum of Nature Re-Opening Day, part 3

Tonight is Heritage Ottawa's free lecture at the Canadian Museum of Nature by project manager Maria Somjen, who will be presenting on the process to rehabilitate and renovate the historic Victoria Memorial Museum Building in a six-year process. Accordingly, this is the third and final post in my series of photos from the museum's re-opening day last May.

In Part 1 I shared photos of the crowds on opening day and the restored atrium. In Part 2 I covered some of the new architectural elements.

Here, in Part 3, I'm sharing some photos of some of the exhibits in the museum, again from the opening day.

Since I'm typing this after a marathon CCCA board meeting, in which we reviewed current development applications with requests totalling 75 floors of increased zoning limit (see the 20-page agenda), I'll have to leave my comments brief.

In the basement there is a little wooden model of the museum. This one's oriented from the south, an angle you can't see easily in real life (certainly not from above). There are a number of new elements that were added at the rear of the building, including the loading dock and the heating plant. But since I didn't take any photos of it on opening day, I'll have to leave those for another time.

The first exhibit I'll talk about is the Water exhibit. When you walk in, the first room has a lot of little creatures mounted behind glass. Unfortunately, there isn't much description, aside from the organism's name, if that. You're expected to go to the computer panel to read up on the items, which is flawed because only one or two people can read the panel at once, and if I wanted to stare at a computer screen I'd have stayed home. While it is nice to have the extra detail available at your fingertips in the museum, they shouldn't have removed nearly all interpretation from the specimens.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Museum of Nature Re-Opening Day, part 2

In part one of this three-part set of photos from last year's reopening of the Canadian Museum of Nature, I mentioned that the series is timed to coincide with Heritage Ottawa's monthly lecture this Wednesday, March 16 at 7pm at the museum. The talk will feature Maria Somjen, project director for the museum's six-year long renovation project. Like the other monthly talks by Heritage Ottawa, admission is free of charge.

In the previous post, I showed some photos from the re-opening day of the museum's exterior, the opening ceremonies, and the main hall. I left you with a view looking up at the tracery screen that separates the original part of the museum with the new glass tower at the front of the museum, nicknamed "the Lantern". Here's a shot through the screen looking at the new set of stairs in the lantern.

You can see that the tracery screen, the stairs and the lantern are all lined up in this photo, and Metcalfe Street skews a bit to the left. When Ottawa Citizen contributor Julie Oliver took a similar photo (see photo #20), I think she was aiming to centre Metcalfe street.

Nevertheless, it's a very bright feature, especially on a sunny day. It's also functional. The museum was originally intended for only the first two floors to be open to the public as museum space (see historical photos in this Ottawa Citizen gallery of historical photos). When the upper two floors were opened for exhibits, visitors had to use the stairways at the corner towers to access the top two floors.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Buried natural gas pipeline

[I ran out of time to prepare a more topical post, either Museum of Nature Opening Day part 2 or CCCA updates for Tuesday's meeting (some are listed at, so here's one of my backup posts. Enjoy!]

I'm still going through my old unsorted photos, many of which are outside Centretown. These are harder to file because outside Centretown I generally restrict my photos to more obscure things, which are inherently harder to categorize.

Take, for example, this natural gas marker at Patterson Creek (O'Connor and Linden Terrace), where I've photographed before. The Ottawa Gas marker looks to be at least a couple decades old.

I took the photo last winter, but never got around to filing it. I feared that if I did, it would get forgotten and I'd never post it (so many of my photos suffer this fate!). So before I forget, here it is!

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Museum of Nature Re-Opening Day, part 1

The Museum of Nature had its grand re-opening last year, appropriately, on Victoria Day weekend (May 22-24). That day, I posted an entry titled Museum of Nature reopens after there years of renovations--referring to the previous renovations, ending in 1972, as covered at the time in the community-owned newspaper, the Centretown News. The more recent renovations took twice as long.

I bring this up because next week there will be a free public lecture by Heritage Ottawa, Victoria Memorial Museum Renewal: Competing Stakeholders' Interests, being held next Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 7pm in the museum's auditorium. Project director Maria Somjen will describe the process of extensive renovations to the building. This is part of Heritage Ottawa's lecture series, which is normally held at the Ottawa Public Library.

I visited the museum thrice on opening day, as admission was free. Throughout the day, I took about a hundred photos, which I'm posting in a three-part series on the Museum of Nature Re-Opening Day:
  • Part 1: Front entrance and main hall
  • Part 2: Spaces - new architecture meets old
  • Part 3: Exhibits
Maybe one day I'll get around to posting my construction photos, too.

Part 1: Front entrance and main hall

The museum looked pretty sharp on opening day, and the grass was bright green. The meagre bicycle rack was full to the brim:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Snowshoe sidewalks

[Bonus post this week! I said I'd post this on Wednesday, but needed to make room in the publishing schedule for an exciting time-sensitive series so it's going up on Tuesday instead. Enjoy!]

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we had some intense weather on the weekend, with a snowfall, then heavy rain, then another snowfall. We're lucky it was on the weekend, when traffic was lighter and most trips can be postponed. Those who did venture out had great difficulty getting around on foot. Since 48% of Centretown residents commute on foot, and many others walk through Centretown, unusable sidewalks is a significant setback.

Here's a snowbank at a mid-block bus stop on Gladstone. How are the passengers supposed to get to the bus? Able-bodied people might be okay, so long as they're not carrying too much with them, but anyone else would have a challenge. At the bus stop on the corner of Gladstone and Elgin, the snowbank was so wide and high that I could see no footprints between the shelter and the road (I wish I'd taken a photo). People just didn't use the bus.

It's not just for bus passengers. In front of the Central phase I construction site on Gladstone, large snowbanks prevent parkers from getting to the sidewalk except by walking in the middle of traffic to the end of the block. The entire stretch is also blocked off by the cross-braces on the posts. I seem to recall there being some gaps here, but there aren't any now.

This next one's pretty sneaky. The site office trailer for the Centropolis condos under construction at Gladstone and Kent is at the corner of Florence and Kent. In mid-January, my photos showed lots of room for a sidewalk plow to clear a path for pedestrians between the trailer and the tree on the bulbout:

Walking home along Florence on Saturday night, the plowed section of the sidewalk just stopped before the trailer. Foot tracks went along the curb edge to create a makeshift path (which was common on Saturday night, since many of the sidewalks had puddles, as mentioned last post). I wasn't quite sure where the sidewalk was under all the snow.

It wasn't until I got home and looked at my old photos that I realized they'd moved the trailer over top of the sidewalk!

Everyone's slowed down in the bad weather, but for some people bad weather means having to stay at home. For example, I can easily navigate this snow-narrowed sidewalk on Bronson, but someone with a wheelchair, walker, or stroller would have to backtrack and use the road. This isn't something that's done easily on Bronson Avenue.

The CCOC apartment building at 520 Bronson on the right in this photo has a fair number of wheelchair users. Thanks to whatever plow driver left this pile of snow on the sidewalk, those people won't be able to get anywhere safely.

Pedestrians shouldn't have to be second-class road users. These examples show where the needs of pedestrians aren't being considered.

Note: I prepared this post before Eric Darwin's guest post on a related topic: Good Neighbours on Snowy Sidewalks.

Monday, March 7, 2011


This past weekend had some crazy weather. Snow on Friday, heavy rain on Saturday, and more snow on Sunday.

During Saturday's incessant downpour, there were some pretty large puddles in Centretown. Sidewalks were covered with ice and water, which were dammed up by the snowbanks that couldn't be removed in time.

Others, including Mark Rehder, have posted photos of the puddles, which put to shame the ones I had dubbed "Lake Florence" in February.

This one at Bank and Gloucester wasn't the worst of them, but it was a few inches deep in the crosswalk. This pedestrian was walking intently, staring forward and apparently oblivious to the puddle.

He walked right through it and it went up to his ankle. A fraction of a second after I took this photo, he cursed and spun around to see what he'd just stepped in.

It's a pity that we spent so much money to rebuild Bank Street and there are still depressions like this that attract puddles. Lyon Street, which was resurfaced last year, seemed to be pretty clear when I looked up and down it from the intersection at Florence.

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

Friday, March 4, 2011


EnviroCentre, according to their website, "is a non-profit organization that works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by delivering energy-efficiency goods and services." They have a number of programs to help households and building/property owners improve their energy efficiency, including energy efficiency audits to help you get a tax credit to renovate your home.

EnviroCentre's offices are located at City Hall, which is provided in-kind by the City. They've recently opened a second EnviroBoutique on Rideau Street.

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Centretown updates for March 2011

The following message was sent to the e-mail list of the Centretown Citizens Community Association early this morning. Join the CCCA and get on the e-mail list to receive 2-3 updates per month from the CCCA. Note that Images of Centretown is my personal blog and not a blog of the CCCA.

Dear CCCA members and followers,

Here are some dates to mark on your calendars for upcoming meetings and events in Centretown: