Uptown Rideau: Main Street Resurgence?

Photo: Wallis House pre-renovation.

As the traditional route for traffic from the east to central Ottawa and Parliament Hill as well as to the Byward Market and hotel-arts district, Rideau Street is one of Ottawa's oldest main streets. Uptown Rideau is the newer section east of King Edward Avenue, and has a neighbourhood role, rather than the central-business-area role that the western part of Rideau Street enjoys (Downtown Rideau). Using business directories since 1878, one can learn about the flavour and evolution of the street's businesses over the decades, as well as the non-commercial activities. 

This is the fifth iteration of this walk. The name has been changed to reflect the recent more positive outlook for the street in recognition of the momentum of new community design plan, rebuilt street, and inclusion as part of the Downtown Rideau BIA.

Participants are invited to share their experiences and ideas.  For instance, are there businesses or services that are sorely needed in this neighbourhood?  What effect will the community design plan have on the kind of street that Rideau St. becomes? 


The group will meet just inside the entrance to the Loblaws at the corner of Rideau & Nelson.  From there, the guides will point out interesting former businesses as the procession heads east. Highlights are the oldest branch of the Ottawa Public Library, the former Pestalozzi College, Jewish community sites, streetcar barns, County of Carleton Protestant Hospital and related institutions (including four cemeteries in what is now Macdonald Gardens), ending at the "accidental" Besserer Park.  Besserer Park overlooks the Rideau River from a promontory on the south side of the street, at the west end of the Cummings Bridge. 

Photo:  Wallis House after renovation. 

Wallis House Rideau St 250

About the walk leader

Chris has lived in Ottawa for over 45 years; over 35 of those in downtown, including 12 in Sandy Hill near Rideau St. Dedicated to pedestrian issues, he was founder and president of Ottawalk (1988-2000) and was co-founder and co-manager of Vrtucar (2000-2006). He has been leading walks for Jane's Walk Ottawa every year from the very beginning. He convenes the Friends of Uptown Rideau network.

Peter Ferguson is a member of Friends of Uptown Rideau and chair of Lowertown Community Association's planning committee. He is a retired staffer from Industry Canada.  He resides close to Rideau St. on the Lowertown side.


Chris Bradshaw & .............................Peter Ferguson and Peter Ferguson

Date:Sun May 6, 2018
Time:11:30 AM
Duration: 2 hours
Language: English
Start:Entrance to Loblaws, <p>............................363 Rideau St.
End:Besserer Park, at west end of <p>............................. Cummings Bridge
Area:Sandy Hill / Lowertown
Distance:1.0 km

The gathering place is indoors at ground level. Rest of route is outdoors, level or gently sloped.  The endpoint has a new sloped ramp to the raised park from Rideau Street. Dress for the weather. 

Volunteer to Marshal This Walk