Sunday, June 15, 2008


[Updated May 2012]
[Updated January 2020]
[See more extensive/recent bio in the "About" page]

Welcome to Images of Centretown.

My name is Charles Akben-Marchand. I live in Centretown* and love it.

I always carry a camera around with me, and I like to take a photo of anything that catches my eye. At best, it might tell a story. At least, it's an interesting image of something that has happened. In all cases, it's a record for the future.

In this blog I try to capture these various fleeting things about Centretown, and elsewhere in Somerset Ward, that many people might miss because they simply weren't there at the time. I'm also working on the Centretown Heritage Project to add a historical context to what Centretown has become.

I ride a bike year round, mainly because I prefer it to other transportation options, and participate in various formal and ad-hoc cycling advocacy activities (apparently I was the first to use the #OttBike hashtag on Twitter). From 2005 to 2008, I was President of Bike Ottawa (ex Citizens for Safe Cycling)), and since then I have been volunteering at RBC Bluesfest in charge of the very successful valet Bike Park, which has parked over 80,000 bicycles for Bluesfest patrons, volunteers, and staff.

I was previously President of the Centretown Citizens Community Association. I have been since 2009 on the Dalhousie Community Association. From 2011 to 2015 I worked in the office of Councillors Diane Homes and Catherine McKenney. I mention this purely for disclosure; this blog is about Centretown, not about me. Opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect any of my employers or groups with which I volunteer.

I have not posted regularly on the blog in some time, but used to post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with Pedestrian-related posts on Wednesdays and 3D photos on Thursdays. You can also follow me on Twitter, @Centretowner

I hope you enjoy it!


  1. I did enjoy reading it all and looking at the images. Sad they were not looked after and used for something good. Not impressed with Richcraft leaving them in that state either. I like the detail type images; the fallen pillars with the accents on them. I like that you gave the age of the one particular house-I could soak up historical facts for hours. Thanks this was interesting, a bit sad but enjoyable.

  2. Hi there -- I really enjoyed reading your blog. I just bought a home in Centretown and want to learn as much as I can about my new neighbourhood.

    Thanks for your insights and photos.

    L. McCabe

  3. Hi - Do you know if the Charlesfort condo building on Lisgar & Cartier has been approved? Just read your blog on this from Feb 8, 2010.


  4. I stumbled across your blog while surfing on the internet. As an Ottawa-resident who is keenly interested in the development of Ottawa, I think your blog is a true gem. Keep up the great work!

  5. I stumbled across your blog while surfing the internet. As someone who is a keen follower of Ottawa's development, I found your blog to be a true gem of information. Keep up the great work!

  6. Thanks for the motivating words, Alex!