Originally Posted by vid
Ottawa: Presented in Hittlervision®
It looks like the plan in that map is covering up the canal. I guess when it was produced the canal wasn't considered as much of an asset as it is today.
At the time, the east bank of the canal was occupied by rail freight yards along with the station tracks. The Holt Plan would have been an improvement on what was there at the time since it would have removed the freight yards. From the looks of it, the west bank of the Canal between the plaza and Laurier was to be improved considerably. We also can't rule out the possibility that the covered-over plaza section was to be made more appealing somehow.
If you look carefully, you can see that one of the locks has been moved up the Canal to where the plaza covers the Canal alongside the railway station. This was to allow the trains to go under Wellington and still remain over the Canal with sufficient clearance for boats to pass underneath.
If I could go way back in time, like to Colonel By's era, I would realign the street grid of downtown Ottawa so that it used the final run of the Canal as its general baseline rather than working off the Ottawa River and the somewhat strange parallelogram survey grid (e.g. look at Scott, Carling and Baseline and compare with Bronson, Parkdale, Fisher, Churchill, Woodroffe, etc). So, given that the first streets were named Wellington and Rideau and assuming the same crossing point of the Canal, Wellington would now run from the Canal southwest to somewhere in the Carling/Preston/Prince of Wales/Dow's Lake area (the northern end of Dow's Lake is a bit of an artifice since it is essentially a dike and could have been placed anywhere). In the opposite direction, Rideau would head across what is now the Byward Market towards New Edinburgh Park, pretty much in line with Keefer St in New Edinburgh (the section of Sussex Dr beyond Boteler is on the same approximate grid as I envision, as is New Edinburgh). Assuming that Ottawa once again became the capital and that Barrack Hill (now Parliament Hill) also once again became the site of Parliament, the street grid would allow for the Parliament buildings to be the focus of two streets, one running up the west bank of the Canal more-or-less as the Queen Elizabeth Driveway does and another running parallel to Wellington, probably two streets over. This latter street would itself skirt the top of the escarpment that separates downtown from Lebreton Flats and the Preston/O-Train/Dows Lake depression, running pretty much through the St. Vincent Hospital site.
Oh yes, I would also have put another canal in along what is now the O-Train/Preston area to Nepean Bay and then through Lebreton Flats and some locks to Victoria Island. The reason for this is that it would have made Nepean Bay into a natural port location between rail and water in the latter part of the 19th century and might have even encouraged further canal building upstream in the Ottawa River (a partial canal was dug in the Fitzroy Harbour area on the Quebec side of the river - it shows up in Google Earth as some oddly straight bits of water channel; one of them crosses under the CN rail line).
To get really revolutionary, I might even have proposed a trihexagonal grid