• Celebrating its heritage and a new, green future, Lansdowne Park officially opens


    Ottawa – After an intensive construction period, Lansdowne has its park. Mayor Jim Watson and Capital Ward Councillor David Chernushenko today officially opened the new Lansdowne Park, and were joined for the opening event by City Councillors, partners from the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), and many of the professionals, stakeholders and organizations who helped design and build the newest attraction in Ottawa’s parks system.

    “Exactly 13 months ago today we were breaking up the last of the pavement at the old Lansdowne,” said Mayor Watson. “What has emerged is extraordinary. This new park is rooted in the heritage of Lansdowne and our community. At the same time it has been transformed into a modern, urban destination that will resonate in the hearts and minds of visitors as much as the former fair grounds did for past generations.”

    The 18-acre, intricately designed urban park includes expanses of lawn, courtyards, a heritage orchard, a farmers’ market square, an outdoor skating rink, a water feature and a children’s play area. Overall, the new Lansdowne will feature about three times more green space and four times more trees than the old site, as well as 20 event spaces available for community use.

    “Our community is happy to see this additional green space at Lansdowne,” said Councillor Chernushenko. “It will be a great space for both recreation and relaxation. And with connections between Bank Street, the Rideau Canal and many cycling and walking pathways, the park will help unite residents of nearby neighbourhoods.”

    City Council gave initial approval to the Lansdowne Partnership Plan in 2009. The overarching vision was to develop the 40-acre site into an urban destination that increases recreation and green space in the urban core, is accessible by many modes of transportation, preserves and enhances visitors’ understanding of local heritage and culture and exemplifies the City’s commitment to environmental sustainability. The final partnership agreements with OSEG were approved in 2012 initiating two years of construction activities across the site.

    “The development and planning for the new Lansdowne showed us that good design matters,” said Peter Hume, Chair of the Planning Committee. “The beautiful park that we have today is the result of a commitment by City Council to seek the assistance of Canada’s best urban designers and architects and to entice the world’s best designers with an open competition that produced a first-class design worthy of this historic site.”

    In recognition of the importance of heritage to the new Lansdowne, a representative of Ontario Heritage Trust presented Mayor Watson with a special heritage plaque during the event. Another plaque, commemorating the official opening of Lansdowne Park, was also unveiled during the event. Both will be prominently displayed in the park.

    “Lansdowne Park completes the vision of transforming this historic site into a destination for all,” said City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick. “Lansdowne Park is an example of how Ottawa is applying smart growth by incorporating active recreation, new green space and innovative design to create places that  benefit residents from across the City.”

    The City’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department will be responsible for the ongoing programming and management of the urban park area. A range of programs with local community partners will be offered at Lansdowne Park beginning this fall and will include a Christmas farmers’ market, 2015 Winterlude events and programming at the outdoor refrigerated skating rink. Lansdowne Park and TD Place will also be among the six venues across Canada hosting the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

    Ottawa residents are invited to help celebrate the opening of Lansdowne Park with an old-fashioned carnival and picnic in the park on Saturday, August 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit ottawa.ca for details, or follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for updates.

    The Family DayPass from OC Transpo is the perfect way for families to travel to Lansdowne on Saturday. DayPasses can be purchased from the driver for $8.10 and can be used for up to six people, with a maximum of two aged 13 or older. Event-goers should also consider riding bikes to the celebration and locking up at the free bike corral. More information on how to get to Lansdowne Park is available at ottawa.ca.

  • Construction milestone for the Rink of Dreams

    -UPDATE –

    Ottawa – Today, Mayor Jim Watson, Cyril Leeder, Ottawa Senators President and Danielle Robinson, President of the Sens Foundation, placed three pins in the Rink of Dreams before concrete was poured over the area. This is the next major milestone before the outdoor refrigerated rink opens at the end of January in time for the 2012 NHL All Star Game.

    The three pins – one from the City of Ottawa and two from the Ottawa Senators – signify the partnership between the two groups, who have been working in collaboration to bring Ottawa’s newest downtown attraction to life. The City will operate the rink and is contributing $250,000 towards constructions costs. The Sens Foundation along with local partners and construction companies will contribute the remainder of the design and construction budget for the Rink of Dreams project.

    – 30 –

    Posted on October 5, 2011

    Ottawa – The city’s newest downtown attraction is one step closer to reality today following the groundbreaking of the Rink of Dreams at City Hall by Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Diane Holmes, Cyril Leeder, Ottawa Senators President, Jim Durrell, Chair of the Hockey Canada Gala Committee, Danielle Robinson, President of the Sens Foundation and Todd Jackson, Senior Manager of Member Services for Hockey Canada.

    “The Rink of Dreams will serve as a hub and attraction for residents and tourists alike, breathing new life into Marion Dewar Plaza and our downtown core,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “It also creates new opportunities for us to collaborate with the community and host exciting events that complement the many festivals and attractions held in our city.”

    Once completed, the 12,500-square-foot refrigerated ice surface will be open for skating until March and serve as a community space during the spring and summer months. The refrigerated rink will be open again for skating in November 2012.

    “We are extremely pleased that in less than a year we have completed the fundraising, finalized design, rallied support across the community and are commencing construction,” said Cyril Leeder, Ottawa Senators President. “Every organization and individual that we approached to be involved with this project said yes and each one of them asked ‘what else can we do?’ – all evidence that the Rink of Dreams is an important project for our community.”

    “The goal of the Hockey Canada Foundation’s Gala and golf tournament held this past June was to raise funds to make the Rink of Dreams a reality,” said Jim Durrell, the chair of the Hockey Canada Gala Committee. “As a result of those events, more than $400,000 in funds will be directed to this very significant project.”

    The City will operate the rink and is contributing $250,000 towards constructions costs. The Sens Foundation along with local partners and construction companies will contribute the remainder of the design and construction budget for the Rink of Dreams project.

    For more information on the Sens Foundation, visit www.sensfoundation.com. For more information about the Hockey Canada Foundation, visit http://www.hockeycanada.ca/foundation.


  • Ottawa Board of Health invites comments on 2012 Draft Budget

    Ottawa – The Draft 2012 Budget for the Ottawa Board of Health was tabled at the Sept. 19 meeting of the Board. The Board invites comments on the draft budget, which can be found online at ottawa.ca. The budget is scheduled to be approved at a special meeting of the Board on Oct. 17.

    “We want to hear from residents, community groups and businesses across the city about this budget and the strategic direction of Ottawa Public Health (OPH),” said Councillor Diane Holmes, Chair of the Board. “I encourage residents to have their say by emailing, calling or presenting us with their feedback.”

    The Draft 2012 Budget projects a $52.7 million balanced budget in line with the City of Ottawa’s Long Range Financial Plan, including a 2.5 % increase on the City portion. About $11.5 million is funded through the City of Ottawa, the remainder is funded by the Province of Ontario.

    The budget maintains public health services from vaccine clinics to restaurant inspections to breastfeeding support and also provides for the identification of $517,000 in reinvested efficiencies. Those efficiencies will allow OPH to undertake programs that address new health needs:

    – Outbreak Management & Public Health Inspection – Increases the number of inspections of establishments where invasive body modification procedures such as piercings, tongue-splitting, subcutaneous implants, and tattoos are performed. ($200,000)

    – New Baby Express & Social Determinants of Health – In partnership with the Ottawa Public Library, a program focused on supporting new parents in the areas of breastfeeding, newborn growth and development and parenting skills. ($145,000)

    –  Support to Seniors & Caregivers – Increases awareness and access to information and supports forinformal caregivers in Ottawa. ($147,000)

    “I’m proud of the work that was performed by staff at OPH on this budget,” says Dr. Isra Levy, Medical Officer of Health. “We met the challenge of finding savings and following the strategic direction of both the Board of Health and City Council.”

    OPH staff are also exploring new funding opportunities through sponsorship, community partnerships, a review of fees for service and increasing one-time grants.

    Residents wishing to address the Board are encouraged to register in advance by contacting Jane Dare at 613-580-2424 x12799 or e-mailing: ottawaboardofhealth@ottawa.ca.

    The Board will be approving the budget on October 17 at 6 p.m., in the Champlain Room at Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West.