This summer is filled with "sneak previews", ribbon cuttings and official openings at Lansdowne Park.
Although much of the precinct will remain a construction site throughout the summer and fall — with Bank Street being temporarily returned to its full four lanes on major event days only — it is becoming increasingly clear what the final site will look like.
I am personally looking forward to helping cut the ribbon for the Urban Park on August 15, and seeing the public come out on August 16 to enjoy the first day of programmed activities. I also look forward to seeing the Horticulture Building reborn as a public facility available for a whole range of community uses.
As for the retail section of the site, I am not overly impressed with the stores and food/beverage operators announced to date. There is certainly no sign of a "unique urban village" taking form, as was promised.
Nor am I impressed by the somewhat overpowering heigh and proximity of the buildings along Bank Street, which, combined with the wall-like architecture of the Glebe Centre, have created a canyon where there was breathing room and light before. I can only hope that a more animated site will soften this effect.
The increasingly mall-like selection of stores and services at Lansdowne may bode well for the existing businesses of Bank Street in the Glebe and Old Ottawa South. But then again, maybe not. I feel that everyone will be further ahead if Lansdowne indeed becomes the regional destination that its developers are aiming for. Essentially, a rising tide floats all boats.
All will become clear by the spring of 2015, when the full site is open and active for the first time in a long time.
In the meantime, you may want to take note of the upcoming dates:
- July 18 - CFL Football: The Canadian Football League returns to Ottawa with the RedBlacks' first home game, against the Toronto Argonauts.
- July 20 – NASL Soccer: The Ottawa Fury FC of the North American Soccer League play their first game at Lansdowne, where they will take on the League Champion New York Cosmos.
- July 23 – NASL Soccer: A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a special exhibition match between the Ottawa Fury FC and the storied Rangers FC from Glasgow.
- August 16 – Lansdowne Park: The Official Opening of Lansdowne Park will feature a community festival and picnic, with games and activities for kids, exhibitions, concerts and more!
Councillor for Capital Ward