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An audiovisual slideshow of local group Samba Ottawa

 

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/24746673/publish_to_webdm/index.html

The Grande Allée

Updates plans for the commercial and residential development of historic land on Main Street were presented to citizens Mar. 10 by representatives from the Old Ottawa East Community Association and the City of Ottawa.

The Old Ottawa East Community Development Plan would see land currently owned by two religious orders expanded and adapted into a series of commercial, residential and community oriented buildings according to Charles Lanktree, an urban designer with the Community Planning and Urban Design division of the city of Ottawa.

The CDP would include room for new small businesses to develop in the area, office buildings, residential condominiums by the river and green space in addition to outdoor walking and sitting areas for residents.

The nearly 12 hectares of land in question sit neighbour to St-Paul’s University and are mainly owned by the Oblate Fathers, while about one hectare is owned by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart.

Lanktree says he believes that since the religious orders are growing older but not adequately replacing their numbers with new generations of priests and nuns, they are looking to support their aging population in their retirement. The CDP proposes the use of the historic Deschatelets building, built in 1885 by the Oblate Fathers, as a retirement residence for the aging clergymen.

The land is currently owned by two religious orders

Although the property has not been sold yet, Lanktree says that the quality of the land and proximity to downtown make it prime real estate.

Lanktree says the plans were well received by residents at the exposition, but also says that there was some concern about the potential for private land developers to make negative changes or amendments to the plan. He assured that although developers could make amendments to the plans, these would have to go through approval by the city of Ottawa and the planning committee.

“We’ve tried to craft the policy in the community design plan . . . to ensure that there’s not much variance from that direction,” Lanktree says.

Preservation

One of the main concerns with the development of the area has to do with preserving both the natural and historic characteristics of the land.

“[The project] seems to be trying to create a nice balance between preserving heritage fabric by keeping at least one of the building and following the guidelines for intensification,” says David Flemming, president of Heritage Ottawa.

Since the Deschatelets building has been designated a historical site under the Ontario heritage Act, certain restrictions apply to expansion projects in the area according to Kathy Krywicki, a volunteer with Heritage Ottawa. The exterior of the building must remain the same, in addition to certain natural areas surrounding it, such as the tree-lined path leading to it, known as the grande allée.

Built in 1885, the Deschatelets building is now a designated heritage building

Krywicki says that one the main features of the CDP is preservation by adaptation.

Height restrictions will also be imposed on newly constructed neighbouring buildings, so that they will not dwarf the existing structures, according to Krywicki.

Krywicki also says that the waterfront condominium developments would also be restricted so as to not destroy or disrupt the existing Rideau River Trail which runs along the water.

“The property hasn’t been sold yet, so at this stage they’re trying to get ahead of the game in evaluating what fits best there and looking at the whole property instead of [piece by piece],” says Krywicki.

The final development plan is set to be completed by June 2011 according to the City of Ottawa.

At first glance, Singing Pebbles Books looks not unlike other small bookstores with an assortment shelves, marked sections, couches and the like. However, the spiritual music and the climbing whiff of incense that greets you at the doors speaks volumes about the shop and its mood.

“We have a very good synergy between what people want and what we have,” says Mika Weaver, who has owned the store for 22 years.

Singing Pebbles specialises in all literature involving the mind, body and spirit. With sections ranging from beginner to advanced yoga, vegan cooking, self-healing, Buddhist spirituality and even Wicca spell books, the store has a wide variety of books for passersby to examine, the bulk of who come from within the Old Ottawa East community, according to Weaver. She describes the area as one of Ottawa’s undiscovered gems.

“The neighbourhood is granola without the attitude. It’s grassroots.”

Singing Pebbles Books is located at 202 Main Street.

The Rideau River Trail

Nature enthusiasts of Old Ottawa East feeling the pinch of cabin fever this winter need look no farther than their own backyard for the solution to their wintertime blues. Buried somewhere behind St-Paul’s University is the beginning of the Rideau River Trail, a nature walk seemingly hidden in plain sight.

The trail spans roughly three kilometres in length and showcases local wildlife and ecological beauty with various trail markers along the way that explain the significance as well as the history of the areas in question. According to Sustainable Living Ottawa East, the preservation and maintenance of the trail is one of the group’s top priorities, as it is a wonderful example of tranquility and green space. The trail spans the shoreline of the river and provides a relaxing, yet physically challenging walk through the snow and small riverside foliage.

Scenes from the trail in December

Although the trail currently lacks in wildlife and its signature colourful flora, it still provides an enchanting walk for nature enthusiasts itching for the coming of springtime and want to get their feet wet – often quite literally.

As winter draws into its final weeks, the city of Ottawa has begun alerting citizens to the impending shutdown of the Rideau Canal skating rink for obvious safety reasons. However, residents of Old Ottawa East will have a skating alternative open in their very backyard that could last further into the impending spring weather.

Open to all local citizens

Brantwood Park is home to a community skating rink that was opened in January thanks to local volunteers and flooders.
Although sometimes seemingly deserted, the ice is relatively smooth with few bumps or patches. After school, groups of schoolchildren can be seen playing pickup hockey before inevitably returning home for dinner. Additionally, every night the rink is home to a few visitors; some beginner skaters, others more experienced and some just pairs of young couples skating the length of the ice hand in hand under the moonlight.

Skaters enjoying the free ice

The rink is open to all local citizens every night from 4:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Babboo’s Italian Food Shop

66 Main Street

http://www.flickr.com/photos/59588089@N02/sets/72157625943477939/

Hello

My name is David and I am a third-year journalism student at Carleton University. Although the site may be currently undergoing major construction activities, this will be your main source of information for all things happening in  Old Ottawa East. Although small, the community boasts an excellent array of organizations that benefit both residents and the environment. Stay tuned for more updates features on the live and times of this fascinating community in the heart of the nation’s capital.

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