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Apr 25, 2007
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As a former Ottawan, one of the Ottawa issues I've been most curious about has been the redevelopment of Lansdowne, and even more specifically, how the redevelopment is working out now that it is largely (completely?) completed. I'm interested in what people think and in how the space is being used.

I know that there may be construction threads for individual elements of the redevelopment (I was able to find one for the Minto condo building), but I didn't see any ongoing threads for the whole precinct.

I visisted the redeveloped Lansdowne for the first time earlier this year. I have fond memories of Lansdowne. As kids, my grandfather had a shop on Bank Street in the Glebe and we'd park there to go to the Ex. As a teen, we'd line up at Lansdowne to get concert tickets, and then line up later to see the concerts at the Coliseum building or the grandstand. I worked at CFRA as a teen, and during the ex, Ken The General Grant would broadcast his morning show live from the front gates at Lansdowne. I'd be serving coffee on the sidewalk to passing pedestrians and motorists. The General used to tell people to stop at Lansdowne for free coffee.

The good
  • The cinemas and Whole Foods are nice amenities for the area. Other than the Bytowne and the Mayfair, is this not now the only cinema in central Ottawa (and the only mainstream cinema)?
  • Unclear why they had to move the Horticulture Building, but it's nicely restored at least.
  • The stadium is well done (mostly). Intimate nice space.
  • South stands are a nice addition next to the canal. I like the wood, and was pleasantly surprised that it still smells like lumber. Appropriate for Ottawa.
  • The Aberdeen Pavilion is, as always, the star of the whole precinct. It is nicely framed by the new development.
The less good
  • I found the scale of the new buildings to be somewhat overwhelming given the context, and the architecture and materials are underwhelming. Would have benefited from better design. My brother says that the space was designed to handle large crowds, and that the buildings seem to make more sense when surrounded by thousands of Redblacks fans.
  • The condo tower on the south end is too short with too large a floor plate (that's may be City's fault) with an out-of-date design from the 1990s. A landmark building at that location should have been better. The condo on the north end is somewhat better, although part of that is due to the fact that it's less noticeable.
  • They ruined the north side of the North stands at ground level, but otherwise the North stands are nicely restored. But, honestly, what they did at grade is clumsy.
  • The new park is ... nice. Not great. Nice. Some parts were still not finished when I was there. Oddly crisscrossed with car lanes, and strangely cut off from the canal (that's one overriding disappointment with the entire redevelopment). I think of what WaterfrontToronto did with Corktown Commons in Toronto, and think Lansdowne could have been better than it is. Still much better than the surface parking that was there before, and there is some decent public art.