About Ottawa Past & Present

A few decades ago, Ottawa was drastically different: Sparks Street was thriving, people were actually living downtown and at LeBreton Flats and a train could bring you to the heart of the city. The narrow and institutionalized vision of bureaucrats, the rapid expansion of car use, and a generalized neglect of architectural heritage changed the urban fabric of the Capital.

The Gréber Plan and the NCC transformed Ottawa for the worse.
One building at a time.

We promote intensification and discourage sprawl. We are not against tall buildings, but we have a lot to say about bad design.

This website is not strictly about heritage preservation, but rather what goes down the drain when those older buildings are demolished and streets are denatured. The RBC building on Sparks Street is a good example. Could it be that Sparks Street has lost a chunk of its soul when dozens of shops and restaurants privately owned were replaced by a larger monolithic block?

Surely, progress has been made since a couple of years, but showing Ottawa as it was back then, when its growth was more or less done organically and less "imposed", is key to grasp the errors that were committed in the past and prevent them from happening again.

With the Gréber Plan, Ottawa has been sanitized and turned into a "boring city". Let's hope for a brighter future for Ottawa and that the city will gain back the grit it had lost and once had.

Follow us on Twitter @pastottawa for the latest updates.

Contact us via email at info [at] pastottawa.com.

Media Coverage

Interview with Ruby on TFO

The TV magazine Ruby on TFO meet with me last March to talk about my website. The interview took place at Lebreton Flats.

Interview with Centretown News

The journalism student Mohamed Suleman asked me what I thought of the evolution of Ottawa's core over the last 70 years.

Interview for the Blogue Urbain of Le Devoir

The journalist François Desjardins ask me about the motivations behind Ottawa Past & Present.

Interview with Groupe Chronos

Philippe Gargov ask me about the growing interest for the now and then comparisons.

Ottawa Citizen covers the Awesome Ottawa prize

Guillaume St-Pierre of Le Droit asked me about my motivations

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