A look at Ottawa’s most beautiful spaces taken over by parking
Ottawa is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Even so, why do we ruin our most beautiful spaces with parking lots? Within five minutes walk from Parliament, there exist five large parking lots with well over 500 surface level parking spaces with some of the most spectacular views … for empty cars to enjoy. Why is this? What else could these spaces be?
Whether you’re new to the city or a long-time resident, chances are you’ve spent some time enjoying Ottawa’s beautiful green spaces and historic architecture along the river between the Parliament buildings and the Byward Market. Like us, some of you might have noticed the abundance of parking lots, dead areas, and empty spaces that seem to always be in your way, often occupying some of the most scenic real estate in the city. But as time goes on, this bizarre misuse of valuable land becomes normal or even invisible. We stop questioning why some of the most incredible riverfront vantage points are reserved for parked cars instead of people.
Join us for a walk along some of our most iconic landmarks—popular with tourists and locals alike—to explore and think critically about these under-utilized and wasted spaces, imagine what might be there instead, and discuss how we might reclaim these opportunities for truly vibrant and accessible public spaces.
We will meet in front of the Library and Archives building (395 Wellington St). From there, we will descend to the multi-use pathway beside the Ottawa river, come back up and go east to look at parking on Parliament Hill, and then continue on to the canal and the Chateau Laurier up to Major’s Hill Park. Then we'll go down the York St. steps into the Byward Market, ending at the parking lot there.