Monday, February 28, 2011

256 Bank Street

At Cooper Street. There's an awful lot going on here at the corner of Bank and Cooper, which recently spawned rainbow flags. At this building alone, there are five stores each on each floor. Behind the building on Cooper is the infamous Turning Point record shop.

This building also used to housed Exile Infoshop, an alternative bookstore and community space, and So Go Chinese restaurant. At the far right in the background, you can see the relatively recent Mondrian condo building.

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

Friday, February 25, 2011

Neither snow, nor rain, nor mechanical failure...

We rely on Canada Post trucks to deliver our mail, so who delivers the Canada Post trucks?

Gloucester Towing, evidently. At the corner of Cambridge and Arlington.

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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lake Florence

During last week's February thaw, I decided to go out clearing some storm drains to let the puddles drain before things froze up again. There were a couple on Florence that weren't draining, though, like this one:

The result was a puddle on the sidewalk, which didn't make for good walking conditions, now or when it freezes into solid ice.

There's another one that's so bad you can't even see it under the puddle. The grate is behind that car that's sticking out:

When the water doesn't drain, it can freeze into ice when the mercury drops. This is a hazard for pedestrians and vehicles, but it also seeps into the pavement and expands, creating potholes. That's why it's best to clear the snow and slush away from the drain when it's warm.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tuesday at City Hall: Tower on a postage stamp

On Tuesday morning, the City of Ottawa's Planning Committee will be Considering an application for a 27-storey tower on Nepean Street, on a tiny site the size of a postage stamp. I had hoped to write this up much sooner, but better late than never...

Back in December 2010, FoTenn consultants came to the Centretown Citizens Community Association's Planning & Development Review Committee to seek community input on a 27-storey building their client, Claridge, wants to build at 89-91 Nepean Street. Here's a map of the site:

That map is based on the map (PDF) in the Centretown Secondary Plan. The white area at the top is the Central Business District, outside Centretown. The pink area is the "mid-rise" zone, which was envisioned to max out at about 9 storeys. The brown area where this site sits is supposed to be a "transition zone" between the central area (which generally has tall buildings), and the mid-rise area to the south.

Here's 89 and 91 Nepean Street, looking North-Westish (assuming Nepean runs East-West on Ottawa's skewed grid), in April 2010. The grassy lot is 89 Nepean, and there is a gravel parking lot at 91 Nepean next to it. They're pretty small sites. One of them has a "for sale" sign, though I can't tell for sure which:

Friday, February 18, 2011

The ice people drinketh

Many Centretown businesses take part in the annual Winterlude celebrations, which take place on the first three weekends of February. Many participating hotels will have an official "Winterlude" ice sculpture outside their front entrance. Other businesses, like the Sir John A pub on Elgin Street near MacLaren, host ice scupltures, like this one of two skaters enjoying a drink:

Of course, the biggest Winterlude attraction is the 7.8-kilometre long Rideau Canal Skateway, the world's largest skating rink. Unfortunately, both the canal and this sculpture have suffered from this week's midwinter thaw. In their stead, why not check out my many previously-posted photos of the canal, under the label "Canal".

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

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Elphin Reno

The Elphin is an apartment building at the south-west corner of Gladstone and Metcalfe. The front entrance is currently being renovated, and the exterior lobby doors have been removed. Perhaps they're being permanently removed to leave the buzzer outside, as is the trend for new developments.

For reference, Google Street View shows the previous entrance, without the "no dogs" signs.

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

Monday, February 14, 2011

Four modes

[Side note: The monthly CCCA meeting is tomorrow, Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 7pm in the Honeywell Room at City Hall. The agenda is on the CCCA website.]

A bus without ads is a rare sight. I stared at this #14 on Gladstone at Bronson for a few seconds before noticing the gas station sign in the background. I liked how this juxtaposed two different transportation options, so I quickly pulled out my camera before the light changed. As I took the photo a pedestrian serendipitously walked into the frame, adding a third mode to the picture.

The fourth mode is the bicycle, as in the one I was on when I took the photo!

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

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fire at Umi Cafe

At Somerset and Percy Wednesday night, flames engulfed the attention of Umi Café customers, who spontaneously watched, YouTubed, and beat-boxed as this young lady danced with fire outside the alternative coffeeshop.

It was cold out that night, so I didn't stop long on my way home. I wonder if the flames kept her warm!

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

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

C.C.B. Electric Works and Red Apron

This is C.C.B. Electric Works, at 564 Gladstone Avenue. As the sign says, it's been serving Centretown with electric motors and parts since 1907. The owners proudly display antique equipment in the middle section of their storefront, which used to be Nicastro's.

C.C.B. stands for Crowe, Costello and Black, and was previously at 378 Bank Street, across from Lewis Street. Here's a shot from 1979 supplied by Midcentury Modernist.

Monday, February 7, 2011

'Round Manotick

Spacing Ottawa announced last week that aerial photographer Alex MacLean will be presenting at Ottawa's Urban Forum on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 7pm in the Champlain room at City Hall. "Alex S. MacLean, international award-winning photographer, author, and pilot, will provide a one-of-a-kind vantage point in the search for successful urbanism through his stunning photography."

Coincidentally, I took some aerial photos last Monday on my trip to Toronto, where urban planner George Dark gave a tour to Councillor Holmes, her assistant Robert, City planner Melanie Knight and me, focusing on Section 37 projects. Here's a shot of the Rideau River where Roger Stevens Drive crosses it, just south of Manotick. The penninsula contains the Carleton Golf & Yacht Club on Marina Drive.

It's interesting timing that MacLean uses aerial views to search for good urban planning, because the NCC has just posted a video of Jan Gehl's October 2010 talk, "Cities for People", in which he argues that urban planning and architecture focuses far too much on the "airplane" and "helicopter" views, and not nearly enough on the 5km/h pedestrian scale. It's a long talk, but he covers a heckuva lot of ground and it's all interesting.

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

Friday, February 4, 2011

Disappearing downtown

No, not another lament for the loss of Centretown's heritage. Much lighter fare in this post.

I stayed with a friend on New Year's Eve, and woke up to the thick fog that blanketed town that day. Here is the view of the downtown skyline from their top-storey balony. Can you recognize the location?

I wouldn't blame you if you couldn't, with so many details missing! But it's taken from the CCOC building at 170 Booth, at the corner of Albert in Lebreton Flats. Across the street are some OCH buildings that had major stimulus renovations last year. Here's a shot of the same angle from summer 2009:

Many familiar buildings are in the skyline, which grows from the Library & Archives Canada building at the far left, up to the Juliana Apartments, the Gardens condos, to Place de Ville Phase III--the tallest building in Ottawa. The tall building at the right is 570 Laurier, which was built with only one or two visitor parking spaces, to the chagrin of current residents. In front of it is the Stonecliffe apartment building.