Aerial View of Lowertown East in Ottawa around 1950
Aerial View of Lowertown East in Ottawa in 2014
City of Ottawa
Title: Untitled. Reference number: CA008171
We gave it a
Urban renewal which turned out to be a tremendous failure.
Visitors's vote
130 votes
Vote here
  • -5
  • -3
  • 0
  • +3
  • +5
This aerial photo of Lowertown East demonstrates how much it has changed after the 1970 textbook urban renewal.

St. Patrick Street which used to be a traditional main street with its stores and residences has been completely demolished and stripped from its built elements which consequently had it lost its main purpose.  It transformed St. Patrick Street into a main transitional road on which cars can zip through Lowertown East as fast as they can.  This was a recommandation of the Gréber Plan where St. Patrick needed to be reconfigured in order to by-pass Rideau Street which was a problem in Gréber's eye because it was too busy.  

One can also notice how a rectangular street grid has been replaced by curvy roads and dead-ends like they built in the suburbs these days.

This extreme transformation hurt the neighbourhood badly.  Even gentrification ignored this part of town (except the "English Lowertown", on the right in the photo), despite being more central than other neighbourhoods like Vanier which had experienced faster gentrification in the last few years. 

The sad part is that this aerial view of Lowertown only shows about half of the damages that were inflicted to the area with this dubious urban renewal.
29 JAN
Diane McGee
I would to know if you have pictures of Clarence Street between Nelson and Friel Streets on either side please. The map that I see on your site, says it was called Franklin Street. I lived there when I was a baby until I was about 10 years old. When did the name change?
14 FEB
S McKay
My mother's mother grew up on a street that no longer exists in lowertown - a part of Friel Street that was removed. Why is the Chinese Embassy building in the modern picture but not the older one? My mother says she went to school there when it was Grey Nuns in the 1950s. Or maybe its just out of the frame.
10 APR
André Desjardins
"This extreme transformation hurt the neighbourhood badly", you say. That is putting it mildly.
So many long-established families were expropriated. Their homes would be torn down. A tight-knit mostly French-Canadian community was destroyed: paroisse Ste-Anne has ceased to exist. So many families suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Neighbourhood street names
disappeared from the Lowertown East map: McGee, Notre-Dame, Papineau, Martineau, Parlement, Pinard,
Napoléon, St-Joseph, Porter Island Street... And so many others were partially truncated.

S. McKay, the Chinese Embassy building was Le Bon Pasteur(Good Shepherd) and held by the Soeurs du Bon Pasteur, not the Grey Nuns. It was a boarding school and an institution for unwed mothers and female juvenile delinquents. Ever wondered why those high stone walls surrounding the property?

03 JUN
Love this, but the pictures are way to small, I have a 10 in tablet and it's still hard to see. Thanks
x close

Stay Updated!

Receive an email everytime we publish a new comparison.


ps. don't worry, we keep your email for ourself.