Tag Archives: Jane’s Walk Ottawa

This walk will cover a short distance along Bank street between Arlington and Nepean. The walk will focus on a series of buildings sketched by walk host Colin White.  Most of these buildings have changed in the few years since the sketches were done, and a few notably have not changed.  We’ll discuss the evolution of the individual buildings and the overall character of the street.  Participants will be given cards with illustrations of the buildings being discussed.

Illustrating Change on Bank Street


“It seems every time I draw a business it closed.” – Colin White

This feeling is something I think most Centretowners are familiar with, whether or not they draw. I lived in Ottawa for 13 years and Bank Street never changes, except that it always changes. Our walk leaders, Colin White (local artist & illustrator) and Liam Mooney (founder of Jackpine), narrated some of these familiar changes accompanied by a printout of Colin’s illustrations.

I lived at Elgin and Argyle from 2009-2014 so the first two changes on the walk were very familiar. Wilf & Ada’s (formerly Ada’s Diner) and the forthcoming “Smart House” (formerly the springroll chip wagon behind the #7 bus stop). And sandwiched between them, a couple days before Jane’s Walk, Black Squirrel Books closed with Troubadour Books and Records scheduled to open in a couple weeks. Slightly north, we have the Central condo developments, site of the “South Central” controversy and the subject of my first blog post here on yowLAB and first UrbSanity column for Centretown Buzz.

At the corner of Bank and Gladstone, we have Colin’s next illustration of Don Alfonso’s (now Thai-Viet). Liam gave a great description about the difference between the Don Alfonso storefront and the Thai-Viet storefront. There’s something that doesn’t quite fit anymore even if you can’t immediately put your finger on how it’s different. It’s great that graphic and printing technology is so much more accessible now, but something of the art of sign making seems lost. As Liam said, “nostalgia is actually a disease, but . . .” Colin admited he probably wouldn’t be drawn to draw the building now.

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We will discuss the architectural history of the new Noffke Heritage District, the Sullivan Bridge and the public washrooms at Patterson Creek, as well as future development along the Driveway between Fourth and Fifth Avenues.  We will also seek out some secret spots of the neighbourhood, especially the east end of Third Avenue, which has been documented by John Leaning in his book about the Glebe as a hotbed of eccentricity over the years.

Rideau Canal in the Glebe

Ah, Sunday morning walks through the Glebe! I spent much time in Central Park and along Patterson Creek during the years I lived in Ottawa. It was a little less pleasant having to bus from my friends’ home in Nepean in order to join up with my next Jane’s Walk—it took over a full hour. But it was nice to return to a familiar space and discover some unfamiliar stories about its past from our walk leader, John Walmsley.

The walk started on Clemow, east of Bank in front of these two lovely homes by Ottawa architect W.E. Noffke. I told you we would see his name again. He was also the architect of Ogilvy’s department store from Padolsky’s Market walk. It’s not surprising that Noffke appeared in two separate Jane’s Walks. According to this Urbsite post, over 200 buildings in Ottawa have been attributed to Noffke. In 2012, the Central Park area was designated as the Clemow Estate East Heritage Conservation District, including 10 Noffke homes overlooking the park.

We continued down Clemow as Walmsley continued to point out some of the other Noffke homes (shown in red on this map of the heritage conservation district). And then the shortest of stops to mention one home (marked in light pink “Categorie 4”). I don’t think many of the walk participants took much note of this home but it’s one of my favourites in Ottawa. This one is by yet another local architect, John Donkin. While looking it up for this post, I was surprised to learn it is a 2006 renovation. There’s something so beautifully mid-century modern about it that I guess I assumed it has been there for 40 years. But I guess that’s why I’d never noticed it until I moved back to the area in 2009. You can see a picture from before the renovation and some interior shots on Donkin’s website.

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The walk will explore the stories behind the conservation of familiar buildings in the By Ward Market Heritage Conservation District. It will also examine controversial still un-built new buildings such as the NCC’s 7 Clarence Street (previously demolished). The walk will explain the progress in installing the former Ogilvy Department Store heritage façade on the new Rideau Centre building (under construction) and ask questions about the future of the By Ward “Farmer’s Market.”

The Byward Market: Inside Stories of Heritage Conservation

Ottawa architect Barry Padolsky’s Byward Market heritage conservation walk is an annual favourite. Every year Padolsky varies the route to discuss different aspects of the Market and its history—usually touching on projects currently in the news. Spacing Ottawa has a great coverage of last year’s walk, when as you may recall Clarence Street and the old Memories building at Sussex was a contentious issue.

This year’s walk was similarly timely. The main stop of the walk (more talk than walk) was at Rideau and William Streets in front of the old Caplan’s department store (now Urban Outfitters). Apparently the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee was successful in its appeal to the city (see here) not to approve the permit for its demolition in 2003.

From here, Padolsky discussed the Rideau Centre redevelopment, Rideau Street renewal plans, Rideau LRT station, and Ogilvy’s façade restoration.

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La visite guidée et commentée se fera dans les anciennes sections du cimetière, près du chemin de Montréal et du boulevard Saint-Laurent, puis vers le centre du cimetière, pour ensuite revenir vers l’entrée. La visite vous fera découvrir l’un des joyaux des patrimoines religieux, culturel, historique et environnemental d’Ottawa par des arrêts devant des monuments (stèles), des caveaux familiaux ou mausolées et un columbarium; des éléments de patrimoine funéraire qui caractérise cet espace patrimonial et les personnalités qui y ont trouvé leur dernier repos seront évoqués. Les promeneurs pourront observer l’habitat naturel d’une petite faune, l’abri offert par les arbres ornementaux et les arbustes étant la composante la plus importante contribuant à l’habitat faunique. Le parcours est de 0.5 à 1 km et d’une durée approximative d’une heure et demie.

Cimetière Notre-Dame d’Ottawa : espace sacré, espace social et lieu de mémoire
also offered in English

For added variety, this year I decided to attend one of the many French walks offered as part of Jane’s Walk Ottawa and I ventured outside my usual central Ottawa comfort zone. While my French was good enough to follow the tour, I won’t subject you to my French writing (though hopefully by next year it will back up to par for French coverage of a French walk).

The Notre-Dame Cemetery is one of Ottawa’s oldest cemeteries. Founded in 1872, it replaced the quickly outgrown cemeteries downtown including the former Barracks Hill Cemetery on Elgin and Queen that has been receiving some media coverage in the past few years as remains continue to be discovered as part of the LRT tunnel digs. As the city’s most prominent Catholic cemetery, it obviously has a strong francophone presence but is also (final) home to the city’s other historic and more recent Catholic communities—Polish, Chinese, Irish, etc.

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Jane’s Walk Ottawa 2015 explores all corners of the city
Gain insight into history, planning, design and civic engagement through more than 50 walks across the Ottawa-Gatineau region

Ottawa, ON – April 22, 2015 – On May 2 and 3, hundreds of Ottawans will take to the streets for the city’s eighth-annual Jane’s Walk. Discover a new neighbourhood or rediscover your own during a weekend of free walking tours led by local residents passionate about where they live, work and play.

This year Jane’s Walk Ottawa is proud to feature not only previously popular walks such as renowned architect Barry Padolsky’s tour of the ByWard Market and a look at the wild foods that can be foraged in the city, but also several new ones. Among these are:

First-ever Jane’s PADDLE
Jane’s RUN of Burritts Rapids
A tour of Ottawa’s “Library of the future” – the Beaverbrook Branch
The new Lansdowne Park
Manotick Village renewal
Sustaining nature within an urban development at the Beaver Pond with Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson

Walks are free and open to all. The full schedule of walks in Ottawa is available at

Jane’s Talk

As usual, the event kicks off with Jane’s Talk on the evening of Wednesday, April 29, featuring a talk on New Directions for Urban Infill by City Planner Alain Miguelez, Program Manager for Zoning, Intensification and Neighbourhoods for the City of Ottawa.

Miguelez will discuss Ottawa’s new zoning approach for urban infill, a Canadian-first that links zoning regulations to streetscape character. The session will include a historical background on the issues related to urban infill that have been experienced in Ottawa over the last 15 years, review the unique public engagement approach that was taken in finding a solution, and explain how Ottawa’s new bylaw supports the pedestrian DNA of its old neighbourhoods.

Jane’s Talk takes place Wednesday, April 29 at the National Capital Commission’s Urbanism Lab at 40 Elgin St., 5th Floor. Doors open at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

About Jane’s Walk

Jane’s Walk Ottawa began in 2008 with 14 citizen-led walks and has since grown to more than 50 walks spanning neighbourhoods from Kanata to Orléans. Offered in English or French, these walking tours welcomed more than 2,000 participants last year.

Created in Toronto in 2007, Jane’s Walk celebrates the life and work of urban theorist and activist Jane Jacobs by encouraging residents to get out and explore their city. Arguing from a grassroots perspective, Jacobs called for a more people-centred approach to urban planning. She famously coined the term “sidewalk ballet” to describe her own experience of a vibrant, healthy neighbourhood. Free walking tours are led by local residents and volunteers who want to share their own sidewalk ballet, from Calgary to Canberra, Guelph to Guadalajara. In 2012, Jane’s Walk hosted more than 500 walks in 85 cities and 17 countries across the world.

In 2013, Jane’s Walk received the City Soul Award from the Canadian Urban Institute for fostering urban literacy and civic engagement.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” – Jane Jacobs

This walk will be a review of the commercial & institutional life of street over previous 125 years, and how it has grown and then declined.  Will renewed street services reverse this decline?

Participants will have an opportunity to participate. Let’s discuss hat kinds of future businesses will help integrate the community and which will hurt. What is the role of the 2005 community design plan?

Uptown Rideau: Mainstreet, Interrupted

I’ve fallen behind on my Jane’s Walk summaries but luckily another blogger was out for this one. He asked to use some of my photos and I’ve asked to reblog his post.

Three Challenges to Walkability in Ottawa’s Uptown Rideau Neighbourhood

by Nour Aoude
Originally published on Global Site Plans

What goes into making a walkable neighbourhood? In my far-flung suburb of Stittsville, Ontario, even a fifteen minute walk won’t get you to the nearest cup of coffee. Here, in the automobile’s natural habitat, an obvious answer is scale. So I was surprised to learn of a local Jane’s Walk of downtown Ottawa, that even human-scaled communities may struggle to become more walkable.

Chris Bradshaw leading Jane's Walk of Uptown Rideau NeighbourhoodThe first challenge they face is culture. Jane’s Walk leader Chris Bradshaw, a funny guy and retired planner, has been a strong advocate of walkable neighbourhoods since the 1980s. Back when the idea of walking from your downtown home to the office was still novel, Bradshaw was organizing pedestrian associations and advocating for car-sharing programs. His local Ottawalk group was the first of its kind in North America, and helped bring walking culture from the margins to the mainstream.

[read the rest of the post on Global Site Plans]

The NCC multi-use paths along Ottawa’s waterfronts are a real treasure for Ottawa residents—and also for the tourists who are able to find them. But they are not well marked, not consistently identified as trails, and it is not uncommon in the summer to find sweaty tourists lost on the Western Parkway staring at maps with no idea where they are, or where they are going.

But in this bike tour, local storyteller and community activist DenVan asks: what if we could mark key central paths on the Ottawa River and Rideau Canal with a regular series of themed “Touchstone Places”? These small plazas or parklets would provide distance markers and directional signage for walkers, runners, and cyclists, but could also enliven the path system by creating interesting gathering spots, and provide a chance to highlight themes and tell stories about the Capital’s history and growth.

Along the way, DenVan will highlight some lesser known tales of our history that will surprise even Ottawa natives—epic tales of battles, betrayal, incredible heroism, and even a bit of well-deserved cannibalism. And he swears that (at least most of) these stories are completely true.

Bike Tour: A Place- making Experiment. 10 Touchstones; 10 Kilometers; 10 Mostly True Tales of Ottawa History


The rain was still relatively light and about 10 ladies joined our walk/bike leader, Dennis Van Staalduinen. It seems all the gents joined Britta at the Billings Estate bike tour, instead. I had the pleasure of hearing Dennis speak at Jane’s Talk Thursday night and in addition to enjoying his storytelling talents, as a regular runner, walker, and cyclist along the canal path myself, I was looking forward to the tour.

Dennis described that in past years, he noticed his walks and bike tours were perhaps a little negative towards the NCC. He went on to describe how he started to notice the almost perfectly measured kilometer markers along the path but also the missed opportunity to really provide public spaces and facilities at regular intervals. So started a project to begin mapping out potential locations and how their particular characteristics could be the launching point for enhancements to the space, eventually creating a string of “touchstones”.

This is something I noticed when I started running along the canal three years ago. I have a set of near exact run distances, naturally marked out so I don’t need any special expensive geolocating device. Using various combinations of the crossings at Rideau/Wellington, Corktown, Pretoria, Bank Street; I have a series of 3K, 5K, 7K, 10K, 12K, and 15K easily marked out loops to run.

The combination of rain and being on my bike limited my note taking ability but I will do my best to recount a few highlights of the tour. See the (planned*) bike route on Google Map.


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