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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2012, 2:55 PM
lrt's friend lrt's friend is offline
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What is wrong with Ottawans?

I was reading the latest EMC newspaper last night and came across two articles that left me disturbed.

The first complaining about "too much" bus service in Heron Park. I cannot believe this. Talk about whining. Get rid of the buses. For a neighbourhood that for years was served by Route 1, I am shocked that we have become this sensitive to minor inconveniences of buses running down your neighbourhood streets. How intolerant and self-centred people have become. There were far more buses running through that neighbourhood in years past and at time when buses were much noisier. It reminds me about the fight against bus service in Greely where even one bus at rush hour was going to put every child in the community at dire risk. But the day is coming when we have to spend hundreds of millions to widen Bank Street as far as Greely because they can't tolerate a few buses running through the community. As if a few buses are so much more dangerous than the dozens of cars that they would replace.

The second related to the video board proposed for the convention centre, several blocks from the closest residence. Now, we have several community associations passing motions and submitting letters that the visual pollution will ruin people's lives. Come on! I am starting to think that sole purpose of community associations is to obstruct everything. Where are the people who are willing to constructively build our city? Yes, there are battles worth fighting, but mostly we are fighting against positive progress. Remember the ridiculous battles about locating a Dutch windmill? And that was a free gift to the city and we said no thanks.

And now I read the comments on the location of a 'downtown' casino. Place it at Scotiabank Place, Trainyards, anywhere but downtown. Let downtown remain a sterile environment that nobody wants to go, especially at night. It is not the right place, because it not consistent with existing character of downtown and the existing tourist attractions. Give me a break. Variety of attractions is what will make downtown Ottawa exciting. A casino can be part of it.

What is wrong with Ottawans?
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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2012, 3:37 PM
reidjr reidjr is offline
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lrt's friend
As with the casino i want it downtown it makes the most sense but there seems to be this idea that it would create issue such as people will get into debt etc never mind the what 6 casinos within a 2 hour drive.
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  #3  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2012, 3:47 PM
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lrt's friend
As with the casino i want it downtown it makes the most sense but there seems to be this idea that it would create issue such as people will get into debt etc never mind the what 6 casinos within a 2 hour drive.
yes, I understand this concern. Unfortunately, gambling is readily available and the best we can do is to try to deal with the problems that it creates.
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  #4  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2012, 3:59 PM
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What is wrong with Ottawans?
OK, as a resident of Ottawa for 44 of my 47 years, I'll bite.

I would say 3 main factors are at play:

1. Ottawa is a relatively young city (in global terms). Only about 150 years ago (that's like yesterday in the "old world") Ottawa was a small, isolated lumber town. We can still see remnants of these early years even today. Other than the Greber plan of the 1950s, Ottawa's development has been evolutionary, not revolutionary. So when someone has a big plan today, residents are suspicious and usually opposed.

2. Ottawa's modern-day raison d'etre is as the seat of the federal government. Much of the rest of Canada dislikes Ottawa for that very reason, and Ottawans know it. This inferiority complex manifests itself in many ways, such as through a low-key approach to city building. If we don't make too many waves, maybe they'll start to like us a bit more.

3. Ottawans themselves like the status quo. Ottawa's natural surroundings are still pretty wild (especially west and north of the city), and there's a certain pride in being a "quiet, backwoods capital" as Dan Rather once described our town. Tall towers, innovative architecture, electronic billboards, and subways may be great for really big cities like New York or even Toronto, but we're Ottawans and we prefer to keep our waterfronts undeveloped and our buildings functional rather than fancy.

Of course, things are changing but it will take many more years to shake off Ottawa's small-town mentality. In the meantime, it's fun to look into the future as many do on this board, all the while trying to reconcile our humble beginnings of only a few generations.
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  #5  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2012, 6:26 PM
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Originally Posted by jitterbug View Post

3. Ottawans themselves like the status quo. Ottawa's natural surroundings are still pretty wild (especially west and north of the city), and there's a certain pride in being a "quiet, backwoods capital" as Dan Rather once described our town. Tall towers, innovative architecture, electronic billboards, and subways may be great for really big cities like New York or even Toronto, but we're Ottawans and we prefer to keep our waterfronts undeveloped and our buildings functional rather than fancy.
Perhaps it's a function of being in a relatively youthful age bracket but I hear more complaining from Ottawa-types that we're not "more like Montreal" or not "more like Toronto" and we should do x-project, "like they do in New York", but as soon as anything is even considered that would bring some of that larger city feel here, we get little more than complaints as outlined above.

I like to think that I understand this city, now that I've been here for twelve years, but what is laid out above, and what I see on a regular basis outside of it continues to baffle me.
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  #6  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2012, 6:51 PM
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I think the problem is not with Ottawans but with local media that gives to relatively small number of professional complainers too much focus.
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  #7  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2012, 11:48 PM
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I think the problem is not with Ottawans but with local media that gives to relatively small number of professional complainers too much focus.
Any professional complainers in particular.

One of the classic ones I heard was in Barrhaven when neighbours were up in arms about a proposal to convert a house (I think on Jockvale) to a day care and the neighbours behind were complaining about the noise of kids playing..as if they didn't have any kids themselves. I know of people who don't want public transit in their neighbourhood as it has connotations of poverty. These are often the same people who want their neighbourhood to be all single family homes with no multiples, no commerical, no employment areas, yet they moan about how long it takes to get anywhere due to the traffic.

All kidding aside, Ottawa on the whole is a very conservative city that has had few peaks or troughs in terms of the economy in a large part due to the huge impact that the federal government has on the City.
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Old Posted Mar 17, 2012, 12:39 AM
reidjr reidjr is offline
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Any professional complainers in particular.

One of the classic ones I heard was in Barrhaven when neighbours were up in arms about a proposal to convert a house (I think on Jockvale) to a day care and the neighbours behind were complaining about the noise of kids playing..as if they didn't have any kids themselves. I know of people who don't want public transit in their neighbourhood as it has connotations of poverty. These are often the same people who want their neighbourhood to be all single family homes with no multiples, no commerical, no employment areas, yet they moan about how long it takes to get anywhere due to the traffic.

All kidding aside, Ottawa on the whole is a very conservative city that has had few peaks or troughs in terms of the economy in a large part due to the huge impact that the federal government has on the City.
Yes the gov has a impact in the city but other sectors do as well.
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  #9  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2012, 2:09 AM
Uhuniau Uhuniau is offline
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we prefer to keep our waterfronts undeveloped
Au contraire: the waterfronts were quite developed - industrial, the cottage area that would have become Ottawa's "Beaches" if it hadn't been razed to make a car path - until the government got a bad case of Prettyism.

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and our buildings functional rather than fancy.
Then why are there so many "functional" buildings where you can't find the goddamn door?
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  #10  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2012, 4:32 PM
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For me, the big thing with locating the casino downtown (which is a different issue from the issues associated with having a casino anywhere, Reid) is that I cannot think of any examples of a successful downtown casino, from an urban design perspective, i.e. one that contributes life to the urban area, rather than sucking it in.

Consider the way people complain about Rideau Centre being inward-looking and ruining the downtown shopping experience on Rideau Street, well the examples of Casinos that I know are much, much worse for their closed-off inward-orientation.

Does that mean that a downtown casino HAS to be another bad, anti-urban, life-sucker? no. But the fact that the only examples i can think of (e.g. Windsor) are exactly that, is a very bad sign for Ottawa. Why? Because if a downtown Ottawa Casino is going to have better results than the average experience elsewhere, then it would have to be EXCEPTIONALLY-well designed. Ottawa does do a lot of things well, but bucking trends and delivering exceptionally-well-designed anythings on the first try is not one of them. When Ottawa is doing something new, AVERAGE is usually the best we can hope for. (big note, that does not mean that AVERAGE is all we can EVER hope for, look at new/contemporary downtown condos, the level of design and competition among developers is increasing at a nice clip, but the early ones? yeesh! "average" might be paying them a compliment!).

So I don't think we can expect our first downtown casino to be an exceptional design, and chances are there will only be one casino, and that it will be big; therefore, if it is a failure from an urban design / downtown life perspective, it will be a BIG failure. Ottawa's downtown isn't so large, dense and vibrant that it can support many big failures (and we already have many to overcome: west end of Sparks Street and the generally sub-par mega-block developments to the south of it, LeBreton Flats, closed-off NAC, cut-off waterfronts, and some would ague that lifeless federal buildings on Confederation Boul, Federal parks/squares and the Rideau Centre belong on this list too... etc.)
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  #11  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2012, 5:59 PM
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I agree with jitterbug's third point about the status quo.

Cities like Toronto and Montreal have a "look at me" mentality (not a bad thing); they're confident and like to stand out, whereas Ottawa doesn't like to attract too much attention to itself. People like that Ottawa has "big city amenities and small town charm" as our mayor likes to put it. Toronto and Montreal remind me of those sexy/confident 40 year old women who know who they are (I look forward to when my wife turns 40), while Ottawa is at the tail end of puberty still trying to sort out its identity and get used to its "woman parts" (or big cityness).

If Ottawa were a person it would prefer natural beauty over makeup; everything understated. The waterfront lands are untouched, opposition to electronic billboards, and so-so architecture (but it's getting better).

I would never want Ottawa to be Toronto or Montreal, but I'd like to see some balance; opposition to all things big city is ridiculous. It would be interesting to see what this city looks like when it matures and comes into its own. I think projects like Lansdowne, the LRT, and the Ottawa Art Gallery will help to make that happen.
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  #12  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2012, 6:14 PM
reidjr reidjr is offline
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I agree with jitterbug's third point about the status quo.

Cities like Toronto and Montreal have a "look at me" mentality (not a bad thing); they're confident and like to stand out, whereas Ottawa doesn't like to attract too much attention to itself. People like that Ottawa has "big city amenities and small town charm" as our mayor likes to put it. Toronto and Montreal remind me of those sexy/confident 40 year old women who know who they are (I look forward to when my wife turns 40), while Ottawa is at the tail end of puberty still trying to sort out its identity and get used to its "woman parts" (or big cityness).

If Ottawa were a person it would prefer natural beauty over makeup; everything understated. The waterfront lands are untouched, opposition to electronic billboards, and so-so architecture (but it's getting better).

I would never want Ottawa to be Toronto or Montreal, but I'd like to see some balance; opposition to all things big city is ridiculous. It would be interesting to see what this city looks like when it matures and comes into its own. I think projects like Lansdowne, the LRT, and the Ottawa Art Gallery will help to make that happen.
To be fair in this case there are people in Toronto that don't support a casino downtown.
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  #13  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2012, 6:11 PM
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There's nothing wrong with Ottawans. People only express their opinion and it is their right to do so. And it's pretty run of the mill behaviour when it comes to the average canadian city dweller. A lot of people just don't like change. I lived 10 years in Montreal and it was the same. Some people complain, most don't. But at the end of the day, we only hear the ones who do speak out.
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  #14  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2012, 6:03 PM
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Originally Posted by McC View Post
For me, the big thing with locating the casino downtown (which is a different issue from the issues associated with having a casino anywhere, Reid) is that I cannot think of any examples of a successful downtown casino, from an urban design perspective, i.e. one that contributes life to the urban area, rather than sucking it in.

Consider the way people complain about Rideau Centre being inward-looking and ruining the downtown shopping experience on Rideau Street, well the examples of Casinos that I know are much, much worse for their closed-off inward-orientation.

Does that mean that a downtown casino HAS to be another bad, anti-urban, life-sucker? no. But the fact that the only examples i can think of (e.g. Windsor) are exactly that, is a very bad sign for Ottawa. Why? Because if a downtown Ottawa Casino is going to have better results than the average experience elsewhere, then it would have to be EXCEPTIONALLY-well designed. Ottawa does do a lot of things well, but bucking trends and delivering exceptionally-well-designed anythings on the first try is not one of them. When Ottawa is doing something new, AVERAGE is usually the best we can hope for. (big note, that does not mean that AVERAGE is all we can EVER hope for, look at new/contemporary downtown condos, the level of design and competition among developers is increasing at a nice clip, but the early ones? yeesh! "average" might be paying them a compliment!).

So I don't think we can expect our first downtown casino to be an exceptional design, and chances are there will only be one casino, and that it will be big; therefore, if it is a failure from an urban design / downtown life perspective, it will be a BIG failure. Ottawa's downtown isn't so large, dense and vibrant that it can support many big failures (and we already have many to overcome: west end of Sparks Street and the generally sub-par mega-block developments to the south of it, LeBreton Flats, closed-off NAC, cut-off waterfronts, and some would ague that lifeless federal buildings on Confederation Boul, Federal parks/squares and the Rideau Centre belong on this list too... etc.)
Caesars casino has actually been good for downtown Windsor, maybe not everything they hoped it would be, but it has helped with bringing in more foot traffic to the core. It has a huge convention centre, one of the largest in Canada, and the Colosseum has attracted many large shows and concerts, which has a spillover effect in the downtown.

It's true that most casino's are designed to keep people shut out of the surrounding area, but if there are attractions in the area, some folks will check out what's around. The casino has been very good for our city, and hopefully the one in Ottawa will be a great asset as well.
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  #15  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2012, 9:02 PM
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Nothing wrong with Ottawans, it just shows they're engaged and concerned about their community, and feel that their voice is somehow heard. The fact that you're complaining about Ottawans complaining too much means you're just like the rest of us
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  #16  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2012, 10:24 PM
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If you think Ottawa is bad, come to Edmonton. Its design standards are absolutely shitacular. I was walking downtown the other day and saw some Gatineau-style low-rise econo-condos being built with vinyl siding. I said "whoa are they building tons of public housing?" My friend replied "no, that's luxury condos." Albertans like new buildings of any kind -no matter how ugly. As long as someone's making a profit, that's all that matters.
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Old Posted Mar 17, 2012, 5:27 PM
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Nothing really except too many damn politicians and useless senators (and I don't mean hockey) :-(
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Old Posted Mar 17, 2012, 5:41 PM
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Nothing really except too many damn politicians and useless senators (and I don't mean hockey) :-(
How do politicians & senators have anything to do with this?
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  #19  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2012, 2:11 AM
Uhuniau Uhuniau is offline
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Nothing really except too many damn politicians and useless senators (and I don't mean hockey) :-(
I don't think the senate really has very much to do with the cheap, self-entitled douchebaggery of Ottawa.
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  #20  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2012, 6:55 PM
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well local politicians, are most of the time crumbling under the pressure of even just two or three people/NIMBY's. Not sure about the Senate politicians though (yes there are useless BTW).
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