The New Lansdowne
Horticulture Building, Lansdowne Park
Lansdowne Park has been part of the fabric and identity of Ottawa since the late 1800s when Lansdowne was established as a rural exhibition ground. At that time, Lansdowne was located outside the built-up area. As the City grew in the early 1900s, Lansdowne Park itself also began evolving, becoming a key gathering place for numerous activities and events including fairs, sporting events, and encampment grounds for troops going overseas in World Wars I and II.
The walk will consider the changes at Lansdowne over time, from its early history, its heyday of fairs and events in the 1960s & 70s, through its decline in the 1980s and 90s to its eventual revival. The decline was marked by the loss of the CFL franchise and the move of the Central Canada Exhibition and some trade shows to other sites. The site became disconnected from the fabric of the city, sitting as an isolated derelict site with deteriorating buildings in a sea of asphalt.
The proposal by OSEG in 2009 initiated the process for the redevelopment, resulting in the current Lansdowne. Lansdowne is once again a key element of the fabric of the City, one of the places that define the image and identity of Ottawa. With its various elements – urban village, urban park, and stadium complex, the site is experiencing on-going activity.
As part of the walking tour, participants will learn more about the planning and the detailed design work that went into the Lansdowne revitalization, with the result that the site now attracts thousands of visitors and is gaining national and international profile as an example of a world class urban place.