Monday, June 21, 2010

They're back...

The Bank Street Bike Racks, that is! This shot was taken this morning at the empty lot on Bank at Florence:

As mentioned at the end of this post from March:

Also on the topic of disappearing furniture, the bike racks on Bank Street have been removed for refurbishment. Apparently they weren't properly weather-sealed and were starting to rust. The manufacturer will re-paint them and reinstall them at no cost to the City.
I just hope they make sure to put them in the right locations.

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

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Doors Open: The Horticulture Building

After the busy June in Centretown, I've decided to spend the rest of the month away from the hectic community-meeting sphere. This will allow me to catch up on blogging, right in time to gear up for Bluesfest.

In early June each year is a weekend event called Doors Open Ottawa, part of an Ontario-wide event that allows the public behind normally closed doors. You can see some Doors Open-like tours of Ottawa sites that I've blogged by clicking on the Tours label. Sites include the former City Hall at 111 Sussex, the former Union train station, and the Traffic & Parking Operations division building.

This year, however, I knew that I had to get into the Horticulture building at Lansdowne Park, as there is a good chance this would be the last year to see it. Heritage Ottawa sponsored the tour of this building.

As you enter the front doors, you're greeted by a brightly-coloured barnyard mural.

Right after the 'barn' entrance, turn right and you see the ramshackle 'Paint Room' concealing the stairs to the second storey.

Inside, it's obvious how the room got its name. A rather bleak utility room has been brightened by its occupants, making a rather fun space. The caution tape is only there for the tours.

On another wall are some fake footprints, and "G'day" is written cheerfully on a window looking out on another closed-off part of the main hall.

Through the Paint Room is the stairway to the second floor reception hall and viewing balcony. The paint has been peeling and growing mouldy.

But the banister is in very good shape. The details reflect the Prairie style of the building's designer, Francis C. Sullivan, a student of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Up the stairs, we see the cantilevered viewing balcony on the right. The balcony stretches the entire width of the building, with large windows for watching the wintertime curling games.

Straight ahead from the stairs is the main reception hall. But before going there, we'll take a peek to the left, into the kitchenette:

You can see at the far wall that only one of the three windows in this room has the original Prairie-style framing.

The windows in the adjoining room are in better condition, but that room was off limits to the tour.

The reception room is at the middle of the building in the second floor. The three windows at the left are the ones you see when you look at the front of the building. The middle window is the only one not boarded up. Similarly, only one of the three along the roof at the right is original.

Currently the room contains many old signs from various sporting events and from the Ex. Here's a sampling.

Looking out that big front window, we get a nice view of the Lady Aberdeen Pavillion. It would look even nicer when all three windows are restored.

The shorter front-facing windows on the sides of the reception hall have a slightly different design.

I've been saving the view of the main hall. Here it is from the viewing balcony. You can make out lots of stuff being stored from past events held at Lansdowne Park--a treasure trove of paraphernalia. In the winter, the side windows would have been boarded up (as they are now) with rudimentary insulation for the curling rinks. In the summer, the windows would have been opened up, allowing light for the horticultural society to keep its plants.

On the West side wall, we can see the front of the building at the right, and the main hallway to the left, including the large--but boarded-windows.

And that's the Horticulture Building in a nutshell.

See also Ottawa Citizen writer Maria Cook's photos from her tour of the building back in January on her blog Designing Ottawa. The Citizen's David Reevely also toured the building during Doors Open, and wrote about it on his blog, Greater Ottawa.

More information about the Horticulture building is available from the Heritage Ottawa website. Heritage Ottawa is worried that if the building is moved, it might not survive the move intact, and after money is spent moving it, there won't be any left to rehabilitate it to modern safety standards, and it will remain unusable and unused.

Friday, June 4, 2010

June's another busy month in Centretown

I thought that last month had a lot going on, but this month is even busier!

First up, I was in the Ottawa Sun and on the cover of its free commuter daily affiliate, 24 Hours today. The topic of discussion was the yellow house on Gladstone, which I previously blogged about here, and the Bay & Nepean site, which I blogged about here.

There's also Doors Open Ottawa this weekend. For the armchair tourist, check out some of the sites (and others) that I've blogged under the "Tours label"

Next week there are a gazilion and a half meetings, including:

Bronson Consultation:
DCA President Eric Darwin has a series of posts going up on West Side Action regarding the reconstruction of Bronson Avenue. He and I are both on the Public Advisory Committee, whose goal is to shape the vision of Bronson post-redevelopment. I blogged about that previously here.

Many of us on the PAC aren't satisfied with the level of consultation and want to hold our own consultations and talks. We've secured a table-sized printout of the existing conditions on Bronson, and we'll be meeting sometime next week (TBD) to discuss opportunities, prior to the next PAC meeting on the 15th (which is for PAC members only, unfortunately). Contact me at centretown.ottawa -at- gmail - dot- com if you're interested or if you have feedback.

Mid-Centretown Community Design Plan
The CCCA's Planning & Development Review Committee is taking a pro-active role in providing input to the consultation for the Mid-Centretown Community Design Plan. The consulting team will be holding an open house next Tuesday, June 8th from 5:30 to 7pm at Woodside Hall in Dominion-Chalmers United Church on Lisgar/Cooper/O'Connor.

This is an important planning document that will set guidelines for Mid-Centretown (Elgin-Kent, Gloucester to the 417) as development in that corridor picks up pace, giving it a coordinated shape that makes sense.

The consulting team have developed a blog on the project at

Segregated Bicycle Lanes
The Segregated Bicycle Lane pilot study, which I previously summarized here and whose website is at, is having four open houses in the next couple weeks:

June 7 – Dalhousie Community Centre, Somerset at Empress (6:30-8:30)
June 8 – McNabb Community Centre, Percy at Gladstone/James/Florence (6:30-8:30)
June 10 – Dominion-Chalmers United Church, Lisgar/O'Connor/Cooper (6:30-8:30)
June 14 – City Hall (5-7)

Minto Park Sale and CCCA BBQ
Councillor Holmes is again hosting the Minto Park Sale, a yard sale for those of us without yards, on Saturday, June 12, 9am-3pm in Minto Park (Elgin at Gilmour/Lewis). Book a table for $10 at . The CCCA's Trees & Greenspace Committee will be holding its annual plant sale at the event.

The CCCA will also be hosting a fundraiser BBQ like last year, with yours truly at the grill. We'll be serving all-beef hotdogs and veggie dogs, plus soft drinks, and a water station to refill your water bottle, and we'll also be selling CCCA memberships. Funds raised by the BBQ will be split among the CCCA and the Minto Park Sale's beneficiary for 2010, the Well at St. John the Evangelist Church. Note: We're still trying to locate a decent-sized barbecue to borrow from someone near Minto Park. Contact me if you can help (we have one that we can borrow but it may not be big enough)

This is our second-biggest fundraiser of the year, so please come by and grab a dog and support your local community association!

Monthly CCCA meeting
The monthly meeting of the Centretown Citizens Community Association is on the third Tuesday of the month, as always, at City Hall at 7pm (Honeywell Room). The guest this month will be mayoral candidate Alex Cullen.

This follows the previous day's meeting of the CCCA's Planning & Development Review Committee, which meets on the second Monday of the month at 5:30, usually at the Second Cup on Elgin at Lisgar (though we may be migrating to a reserved room at City Hall).

Cycling blogs
The Ottawa Sun has a new cycling-related blog called the SpokesMan, at, by Kris Westwood.

There's also the new-to-me blog, and new on the Blogawa feed, The Incidental Cyclist, by Kate and her bike, Mike. Kate talks a lot about issues pertaining to people who cycle for transportation.

Carling Avenue reconstruction
Carling Avenue is being reconstructed between the O-Train tracks and Bronson Avenue. There will be an open house on the project on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 from 7-8pm at the Dow's Lake Pavillion, Vista Room.

All of these events are open to the public, there are a few other things going on this month that aren't that I haven't listed here, but some of which I'll be able to blog about as they happen.

Again, remember that your local community associations participate in all of these events. Please support them by coming out to meetings and events, becoming a member, and donating generously!