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  #461  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 7:20 PM
Uhuniau Uhuniau is offline
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Originally Posted by acottawa View Post
Downtown isn't flat. There are significant variations on the topography of the various E-W streets.
The variations are not enough to cause streets to turn into "wind tunnels" at any time that it isn't windy in general, though.
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  #462  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2017, 7:29 PM
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Photos: Monument of Stanley Cup unveiled in Ottawa, Saturday, Oct. 28

The Ottawa Citizen




















http://ottawacitizen.com/gallery/pho...aturday-oct-28
Just a word of caution and perhaps critique: the concrete slab (surrounded by rubber anti-fatigue-like matting around the base of the sculpture is EXTREMELY slippery when wet/slushy. Since Ottawa has a winter climate, it would have made sense to provide some traction on that surface...
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  #463  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2017, 9:22 PM
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Seems fitting. It does represent an NHL ice rink.
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  #464  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 9:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Jamaican-Phoenix View Post
The "questionnaire" is a joke. 250 characters for what should be a national landmark and attraction? Ha! That just shows me the City of Ottawa is not serious in the least.

You want to fix Sparks Street? It's going to take dedication, planning, and a fair bit of money.

Bank street and Elgin are north/south roads that are the definition of mixed use. Along these streets, you can find shopping, residential, business, entertainment, and restaurants and cafes. Downtown is partially dead because there's no connection between these two; a connection that can easily be found in Sparks Street as it connects both streets and will be a stone's throw from the future downtown rail tunnel and related stops.

The greatest challenge to Sparks street's success is the sheer mass of bureaucracy it takes to get anything done. The NCC, Public Works, the city, the BIA and the Sparks Street Mall Authority all have a say in how the shopping district is run. An agreement would need to be reached between all parties that the entire street should be rezoned as medium-rise mixed-use development. That's your starting point.

Another challenge Sparks street faces is that it can no longer be the premier luxury shopping street, especially in the wake of Holt Renfrew's closing. Companies like Nordstrom and Tiffany's have relocated to enclosed malls like Rideau Centre and Bayshore. This precludes the traditional shopping street setup of many European cities as ever having a chance on success on this street.

Either through expropriation or new development opportunities east of Bank street, a mix of condos and affordable rental units need to be built in order to acquire a local population base. What do people do in their neighbourhoods - or rather, need to do? They want to go to cafes and restaurants (not exactly a problem on this street, so good). They need to buy groceries. They want to attend events, be they at art galleries, theatres, community centres, or live music venues. They want to browse and shop (not great here, but that's not exactly an impossible situation to solve).

Having festivals like Ribfest, Poutinefest, and Buskerfest, etc. are all well and good, and should continue and be encouraged. But hey, you know what Sparks street and the area is lacking that the Byward Market and other neighbourhoods aren't? A Farmer's market. Between the condos on Bank and future condos on Sparks street, that should be enough of a catchment for a modest market.

Another problem with Sparks street is the wind tunnel effect. It gets quite windy there, so the winds would need to be broken up by something. I would suggest trees, but Sparks is kind of like a canyon at the moment so they may not thrive in such a place.

Stop-gap measures like a casino or zipline won't fix Sparks. Sparks needs to be a year-round destination, which means it needs local citizens (condos and apartments) and things neighbourhoods need to keep people there. You need shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, music venues, community centres, markets, theatres, etc.

And though it may not be environmentally friendly, you could encourage people to come to Sparks street if it was artificially heated with street lanterns. Who would want to walk down Queen, Albert, Slater, etc. when there was a heated street just a few blocks away? That's a detour most of us would only be too happy to take in the dead of winter.

With the absence of a movie theatre in the Rideau Centre and now World Exchange, there is no home for cinema in the downtown core when there used to be at least two. Even if it is put into what amounts to a ground floor and a basement, a movie theatre complex would be useful and be a destination for tourists and locals alike. A live music venue should be encouraged on the street. If possible, I would even ask the Ottawa Little Theatre to move into a new space if it became available.

Personally, I think Sparks Street could have more success as a tourist/bar/club destination. Instead of needing to tear down office blocks to bring in new residents, a street with limited residential dwellers would be perfect for a louder, busier street, especially in the evening. With the light rail just a block away, it would be really easy to get people there.
We don't need another shopping destination in downtown Ottawa, but Sparks street itself could become a destination, like the Market.
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  #465  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 5:27 PM
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Re-making Sparks: take a 360º tour of Ottawa's pedestrian mall
City soliciting ideas to revitalize downtown Ottawa pedestrian mall

By Kristy Nease, CBC News
Posted: Jan 12, 2018 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Jan 12, 2018 5:00 AM ET




Residents can have their say about the planned revitalization of Sparks Street at a town hall being held Saturday morning.

The city wants ideas about how the pedestrian mall should be updated. Everything from how the mall functions, to its heritage aspects, current programming, amenities and transportation access are on the table.

The town hall is being held in council chambers at City Hall from 8:30 a.m. to noon Jan. 13, with opening remarks scheduled for 9 a.m.

Heading into the meeting, CBC captured the Sparks Street pedestrian mall on 360-degree video. The following five videos each capture a different block of the mall. Click and drag your mouse to check them out from every angle.

What do you think about the mall? What should change? Leave your comments below this story.

Elgin to Metcalfe

Metcalfe to O'Connor

Bank to Kent

Kent to Lyon


http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa...ives-1.4483001
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  #466  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 5:29 PM
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There appears to be some video link duplication in the CBC article, which I have not attempted to correct.
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  #467  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 5:53 PM
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Originally Posted by rocketphish View Post
[B]Re-making Sparks: take a 360º tour of Ottawa's pedestrian mall
City soliciting ideas to revitalize downtown Ottawa pedestrian mall
A few more trees would be nice.
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  #468  
Old Posted Jan 13, 2018, 9:28 PM
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  #469  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2018, 4:26 AM
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How to animate Sparks Street? 'There are no bad ideas,' mayor says at town hall

At a town hall on Saturday, the public had the chance to make suggestions about how to revitalize Sparks Street.

Gary Dimmock, Ottawa Citizen
Published on: January 14, 2018 | Last Updated: January 14, 2018 5:15 PM EST


When Jim Watson was working as a young Hill staffer on Sparks Street in the 1980s, he often worked late and found himself walking down the pedestrian mall after nightfall. Just him and the roll of tumbleweed.

The mayor has heard all of the tired clichés about Ottawa — the capital city that rolls up its sidewalks at night and that really tired one that calls it the town that fun forgot. The City of Ottawa has long talked about livening up the street, and now the mayor wants to use the street mall as a “showcase” and make it a “year-round destination” for residents and tourists alike.

“There are no bad ideas,” Watson said at a Saturday town hall on the future of Sparks Street.

Beyond the standard more benches, bushes and washrooms, the city is casting a wide net in its mission to animate the street.

One by one, residents and business owners took turns talking about what they’d like to see for the future of the historic street, named after an Irish labourer who saved his earnings back in 1823 to buy what is now the commercial core of Ottawa’s downtown.

Residents and business owners also had the opportunity to write down their ideas on a big photo map of the street. Some asked for more arts and entertainment programming but, as one resident wrote, “don’t over-program.”

They dreamed of affordable rent to “bring in the hipsters.”

And a lot of people just said they want more people on the street.

“I want more people living there. If people lived there, you’d have more services and shops. If you’re staying at a hotel, there’s not even a place to go buy milk,” said Riek van den Berg, a retired nurse who “cares about my city.”

She, like some others in the crowd of about 60, described the Stanley Cup monument as an eyesore and said it was inappropriate to install it at the Elgin Street entrance. For folks who aren’t sports fans, she said it’s a turnoff.

“There’s so much potential for Sparks to become a people place,” Coun. Catherine McKenney told the crowd.

One resident said the street needs more children and for city staff to think about what attracts children.

Some spoke about winter designs for the street, saying too much in Ottawa is focused on its warmer seasons. They spoke about a glass roof and heated sidewalks — even a Christmas market like the bustling one in Toronto’s distillery district.

Business owners expressed the need for more parking and later hours for vehicles to make commercial deliveries on the street.

The street is not without some success, with a so-called power-player restaurant and a few decent pubs.

Many agreed, including McKenney, that one of the biggest challenges to make Sparks a “key place” is how to get people to live there, not just travel through.

The push to revitalize the street comes with light-rail stations due to soon open nearby.

Saturday’s public consultation was led by Watson — a sign that the city means business when it’s exploring the future of Sparks Street, the country’s first outdoor pedestrian mall.

Anyone who couldn’t make the town hall meeting can have their say at ottawa.ca/sparksstreetplan or by emailing mysparksstreet@ottawa.ca .

gdimmock@postmedia.com

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/0114-sparks
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  #470  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2018, 11:55 AM
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Sparks Street is just too narrow.
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  #471  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2018, 2:17 PM
Uhuniau Uhuniau is offline
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Originally Posted by eltodesukane View Post
Sparks Street is just too narrow.
Too narrow for what?
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  #472  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2018, 3:22 PM
Uhuniau Uhuniau is offline
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Seeing a lot of the same old tired, hackneyed, vague pretty-ism ideas for Sparks Street.

Adding residents is fine... but there is a limited amount of physical space to put new residential uses on Sparks, and given the economics of such construction, that residential demographic is going to be very narrow. This is not a magic bullet.

More public art? Sure, if that's your thing, but it is not going to draw anyone who isn't already going to be on Sparks in the course of a day, week or year.

It's good to see at least a few people talking about remedying the climate issues, but will those who recognize the need for summertime shade ever be able to win out over the sun-fetishists? Will we, or can we, ever have winterized, or even fall-ized and early-spring-ized outdoor eating and drinking in anally-regulated Ottawa that dictates when patios can and cannot operate?

The fundamental problem with Sparks is that there are too many federal government uses on it, especially on the north side. What's now the Sir John A Macdonald building, for Parliamentary and diplomatic functions, used to be a gorgeous Temple of Commerce-style bank, with an entrance on Sparks. That entrance is now an emergency exit. The renovated Wellington Building is re-populated with Parliamentary employees, but more than a year later, the retail spaces at grade are still empty (and the Sparks side employee entrance is closed.) Another former bank became a branch of the Library of Parliament, which then restricted employee access to its Sparks-side entrance within a couple of years.

An absolute moratorium on any new government uses is a must if there is going to be any turnaround in the mix of people using the street, and the mix of reasons that they use it. Unless and until all the parties involved in Sparks get on the same page with regard to this point, there's no point in engaging in the interminable, never-ending hand-wringing about what to do about Sparks Street.
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  #473  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2018, 4:40 PM
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It's like everyone is pulling in different directions; the City wants to see more people and activity on Sparks (without investing too much money of course) while the Feds are investing billions on buildings that have no public access (other than say, the Bank of Canada Museum).
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  #474  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2018, 11:40 PM
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It's like everyone is pulling in different directions; the City wants to see more people and activity on Sparks (without investing too much money of course) while the Feds are investing billions on buildings that have no public access (other than say, the Bank of Canada Museum).
And when the Sparks Street people *do* successfully execute things that draw big crowds - pulled pork and buskers in particular - the editorial writers and blue-hairs turn up their noses and tut-tut about how low-brow it has all become.
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  #475  
Old Posted Jan 16, 2018, 6:00 PM
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From public art to parking, 8 ideas to spruce up Sparks Street
A sampling of what came up at this weekend's pedestrian mall town hall

CBC News
Posted: Jan 15, 2018 6:00 AM ET Last Updated: Jan 15, 2018 11:14 AM ET


The City of Ottawa is asking people for ideas on how Sparks Street can be better for people and businesses as it works on a comprehensive plan to revitalize the pedestrian mall.

Here's what some of the people who attended a town hall Saturday had to say.

Their comments have been edited for length and clarity.


Michele Menard-Foster, lives and works in Ottawa

I want to share some personal experiences visiting Detroit and a lot of their rejuvenated public space — and how inspiring it was.

I was there as a tourist but felt very much the spaces were adapted for the residents. That would be my vision for Sparks Street.
[In one main square, Detroit]

had public beaches. You saw people in their business clothes with their feet in the sand at lunchtime. It was surrounded by a lot of delis and restaurants as well — but also people, daycares, children.

The full community experience was there, as well as tourists.

In the presentations, sometimes I heard the focus would be on tourism, then residents. I would love to see this initiative be residents [first]. If it's that fantastic, tourists will equally benefit.


Sam Elsaadi, former chair of Sparks Street BIA

We are losing business after business. The government never considered those businesses [and] how they could survive.

We're very happy to see the city have a new long-term plan, but we have to consider the existing businesses' future.
[Don't think of Sparks Street]

as a park where people go to gather for events and leave. We work with businesses to bring people for the whole year and keep them there.

We have thousands of people [coming], but most businesses don't benefit.

Support existing businesses and try to bring more businesses in the future.

I would like to, as a business owner, see some parking or traffic [allowed] for a short amount of time between November and April.


Peter Thorn, lives in downtown Ottawa

If the plan is to increase the residential component on Sparks Street, it has to be a mix of tenure uses: rental, condo, some component of affordable housing, and housing not just for singles and couples but for people with families.

I think once the diversity on that street returns then there will be more of a demand for businesses.

If you have to go out of your neighbourhood to buy a litre of milk, it really doesn't help Sparks Street. Once you get residential [uses] in there, the tourists will come.

Sparks Street, especially between Elgin and Bank streets, is pretty much a concrete desert.

It's not pleasant to walk on in the summer at noon when there's full sun, and certainly not in the winter when it's a wind tunnel.

I recognize the heritage buildings are important as a visual component but their facades need to be softened. It's an unpleasant walk.


Stephanie Appotive, Howard Fine Jewellers and True Bijoux

I hope we focus on shop owners and what it means to run a shop on the street. It's extremely difficult right now, which is why we have seen a decline.

We are fortunate that we're a destination, but it requires a tremendous amount of [work] to encourage people to visit us. I make more deliveries than I ever have before.

It's so easy to shop online. Shopping patterns absolutely have changed [and] if we don't make it accessible to vehicles, we really should have a completely different view of Sparks Street.

If we envision having dynamic shops we have to incorporate a shared street with accessible parking and driving.

There's a pilot project in Halifax on Argyle Street that's incorporating a one-way street with very slow driving during key times where it makes sense. Something like that, a shared street: that's my vision.

When it's cold out, it doesn't make sense to keep it pedestrian-focused. Nobody wants to be outside. And when they are outside on the mall they're just trying to get from point A to point B.


Scott May, used to work on Sparks Street

When I was working on Sparks Street in the 1970s, it was in decline then.

Sparks Street should be a tourist-designated space. The ByWard Market is hugely successful in drawing a vast number of tourists. I think we're missing a very large opportunity with Sparks Street.

It needs to replicate successful areas such as the waterfront of Chicago, with its public art. Culture in Ottawa needs to be in the forefront of that space. I think if you build it, [tourists] will come and residents will follow.

Sparks Street would benefit from having multiple music venues, the way New Orleans benefits from Frenchman Street, where there are 20 music venues within a three-block radius.

If the [government] is offering two to three-year rental spaces, let's put temporary art spaces in there. There's a huge underground scene in Ottawa for music and art. Let's give people the opportunity to showcase their work in a short-term, low-cost way.


Linda Russell, co-chair of Doors Open Ottawa

I think you're doing a very good job with special events and festivals on Sparks Street, but the challenge is to make every day special.

That doesn't mean more festivals. It means ordinary, everyday people gathering.

We need more places to sit, greenery and a series of small public spaces. The idea of new public art all the time: they do that in The Beaches in Toronto, and it's fantastic.

I was looking at the fences around the restaurant patios and how tall they are, how they just cut up the space. Even if they were shorter, it would look nicer.

While we're waiting, while we do all this sitting and planning, why don't we buy 500 chairs and tables, put them on Sparks Street and see what people do with them? That will help us figure out more about where people want to be on that street.


Jeff O'Reilly, general manager of D'Arcy McGees Irish Pub

I think something that's lost here is there are successes on Sparks Street. There are a lot of great things and businesses that thrive.

I'm glad after I've seen so much attention given to so many other areas of the city that [there's] discussion, thought and a commitment to realize the potential of Sparks Street.

The thing that makes us unique is our pedestrian [focus]. I want to see that remain.

Making it more accessible, nicer to look at and more comfortable is all fantastic. But remaining a pedestrian mall is first and foremost.


Ed Bernacki, just moved back to Ottawa from Australia

The presentations are great if we were in Australia. I love that seating, the greenery, trees, being able to sit — you know it's –20 C [outside] right now?

Is there a concept for a winter design we should start from and then pull it back in the summer?

Most of our weather is awful and cold. Could we cover part of [the street]? Is there something that could be done, or is this about designing a three-month-a-year street — and the rest of the year we [just] tolerate it?

I sometimes think we design too many things for the few months of summer when it's hot and sunny here.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa...deas-1.4487049
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  #476  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2018, 11:56 PM
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I took the trouble and went down to Sparks Street this afternoon to take a good look at it. It is really beautiful. The cluster of architectural specimen there from Neo-classical to Victorian brick building façade is just delightful. I am not sure about some of the glass box buildings but overall it is very classy and elegant.

Like most outdoor retail space, harsh winter climate is the biggest adversary. Imagine if part of Sparks Street could be enclosed to form an indoor shopping mall with year round AC and heat like the one in Milan. I think it'd be quite nice for locals and tourist alike. Just a brain storming idea....


Last edited by bless-u; Jan 18, 2018 at 3:24 AM.
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  #477  
Old Posted Jan 18, 2018, 2:12 PM
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I'm not sure trying to turn Sparks Street into a semi-enclosed mall would help it compete with the Rideau Centre.

The thing is the Sparks Street is a retail street in the middle of an office building district. Office building districts do not normally attract eclectic or high end stores, they attract things office workers can do on their lunch hour.
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  #478  
Old Posted Jan 18, 2018, 2:22 PM
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"Pedestrian Mall"

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  #479  
Old Posted Jan 18, 2018, 2:31 PM
Uhuniau Uhuniau is offline
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I'm not sure trying to turn Sparks Street into a semi-enclosed mall would help it compete with the Rideau Centre.

The thing is the Sparks Street is a retail street in the middle of an office building district. Office building districts do not normally attract eclectic or high end stores, they attract things office workers can do on their lunch hour.
And when they *do* do something that attracts more than the lunch crowd of office employees and the political class, that gets condemned, too. RibFest? Too smokey. BuskerFest? Ugh, lowbrow. Classic car display? Break out the fainting couch.
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  #480  
Old Posted Jan 18, 2018, 2:34 PM
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"Pedestrian Mall"

I fail to see how some commercial or industrial vehicles attending to tasks on Sparks street on a slushy January day when there are almost no walking humans around, takes away from anything.

We can keep the "Pedestrian" first nature of the street, sure, but get rid of the idea that it's a "mall", and stop being so g.d. puritanical about the incidental and legitimate presence of vehicles, especially in the lowest season and off hours.
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