The walk will follow city sidewalks and paved areas.
Lansdowne Park has been part of the fabric and identity of Ottawa since the late 1800s when Lansdowne was established as a rural exhibition ground. At that time, Lansdowne was located outside the built-up area. As the City grew in the early 1900s, Lansdowne Park itself also began evolving, becoming a key gathering place for numerous activities and events including fairs, sporting events, and encampment grounds for troops going overseas in World Wars I and II.
The walk will consider the changes at Lansdowne over time, from its early history, its heyday of fairs and events in the 1960s & 70s, through its decline in the 1980s and 90s to its eventual revival. The decline was marked by the loss of the CFL franchise and the move of the Central Canada Exhibition and some trade shows to other sites. The site became disconnected from the fabric of the city, sitting as an isolated derelict site with deteriorating buildings in a sea of asphalt.
The proposal by OSEG in 2009 initiated the process for the redevelopment, resulting in the current Lansdowne. Lansdowne is once again a key element of the fabric of the City, one of the places that define the image and identity of Ottawa. With its various elements – urban village, urban park, and stadium complex, the site is experiencing on-going activity.
As part of the walking tour, participants will learn more about the planning and the detailed design work that went into the Lansdowne revitalization, with the result that the site now attracts thousands of visitors and is gaining national and international profile as an example of a world class urban place.
We'll meet at the entrance to the Horticulture Building (south side). From there, the walk will proceed through the urban village area where the plans for the mixed-use area and the public spaces will be described. The tour will then move to the stadium complex, highlighting the concept to have the stadium embedded into the site and integrated as part of the urban park. The tour will conclude with a walk through the urban park and its various elements, eventually returning to the starting point.
John Smit is the Director of Economic Development and Long-Range Planning with the City of Ottawa. John is a Professional Planner and has been with the City of Ottawa since 1985 in various planning and management positions. Between 2009 and 2012, John led the City’s efforts on the master planning for the Lansdowne Revitalization and oversaw the planning approvals required to allow for the revitalization plans to be implemented.