Proposed development considers cyclists

A Toronto developer is proposing a 16 storey high-rise on a lot assembled on Gloucester Street, with some frontage on Lyon Street. It is kitty-corner the octagonal Minto Carlyle building (28 floors) and opposite the Minto-built stacked townhouse block that faces Lyon on the east side. Here is a plan of the ground floor. What I thought noticeable is the attention paid to cyclists. There is bike storage for residents in LOCKERS for 46 residents. These storage lockers are on the ground floor. No word on whether these lockers hold more than one bike. There is also 10 storage lockers … Continue reading Proposed development considers cyclists

Old Trouble-maker reincarnated as MSM needs content

A friend (thanks Michelle!) sent me these links to an earlier incarnation of myself. Or maybe it was my doppelgänger. Back in July, 1980, a future unlicensed amateur blogger hit the front page of The Citizen and the morning radio news with this story: Notice that the story begins on the front page of the daily, and continues on page 77. Imagine 77 pages of Citizen today! The rising mortgage interest rates mentioned in the story were 12.5% when I bought, and quickly soared to 21% within fifteen months. It really made a big I in PIT. Another story, this … Continue reading Old Trouble-maker reincarnated as MSM needs content

Planning for salvation

There have been no end of critics for the Our Lady of the Condos site on Richmond Road; or for the Franciscan site in Overbrook (  The Dominican fathers on Empress have talked about selling their property. Now there’s a second chance (second coming?) for Hintonburg-Westboro too. The Salvation Army operates Grace Manor on West Wellington. Immediately east of the modern low-rise Hobbinesque nursing home is an elderly manor on a large lot. Here’s a Google streetview (before the streetscaping was installed): The red-brick manor house shows up just left of the bus. On the nearest left of the picture is the Rosemont Library. The parking lot … Continue reading Planning for salvation

Instant renovations

Sometimes renovations can be almost instant, although they come at a price. I have this kitchen door to the side yard which I never liked very much: I saw an advert for a firm that puts new windows in existing doors. I called them to drop by to look at the old door, and give me an estimate: “Structurally sound, lot’s of life left in the door, easy to replace … $350. And it we will do it right now, be done in forty minutes.” They popped the old door out, cut out the panel, inserted the glass: Zowee, lots of … Continue reading Instant renovations

Insulation tells a tale …

Note the semi-detached house in the centre of the picture. The near half, with the square skylight, has a totally bare roof. No snow cover. It melted away. From heat loss. Note the second half of the house, covered in snow. Better insulation, possibly better attic ventilation too. Here is a view of the warehouse roof outside my third floor windows. First built as the Champagne streetcar barns, then called Vimy House, now it’s a secure document storage facility (know to us plebes as a mini-warehouse). The roof structure on the original building is 2×4’s or 2×6’s set on edge and packed together. Some sections … Continue reading Insulation tells a tale …

Slogging blogging

Now with the horsepower of the Ottawa Citizen behind it and a writer/editor with 33 years of journalism experience plus a joy of commentary, The Bulldog gets tens of thousands of page views a month. – Kenneth Gray After reading today’s post, I’m not sure what Ken Gray’s real point is. Is it that bloggers can’t get enough readership because their topics are too narrow? Or that they are poor writers, compared to professional journalists? Tens of thousands, eh? Now that covers a huge range. If it’s 50,000 a month, divided by 30 days (Gray posts pretty much every day) … Continue reading Slogging blogging

Alta Vista Corridor new roadway

I share the concerns of many that we don’t need more roads in the downtown neighborhoods nor the inner suburbs. They merely encourage / enable more car traffic to the detriment of a denser, more pedestrian friendly city. After all, all those cars have to get to and from the new road link. Here is a petitition to help stop the Alta Vista highway: In this article:–opposition-mounts-against-alta-vista-corridor  Councillor Hume is quoted as saying that opposition is “nowhere near a tidal wave.” The petition is one way to add a bit to that cresting wave. Now I do think that the AVTC could have … Continue reading Alta Vista Corridor new roadway

It’s a Soho World After All …

Soho Champagne & Soho Italia have a sales office at the south end of Preston, on the proposed Soho Italia site. Now the sales office is really an information office, as there isn’t yet anything to sell on either location, nor is there much information. They will take your name if you are interested in the Soho Champagne (first tower of which is at the top of the photo, in dark; its larger sibling is shown transparent, as is the Soho Italia tower) and ask for “community support” for the Italia Tower. I declined to give my support, and the rep … Continue reading It’s a Soho World After All …

Inside the Staircase House (iv)

The view out the window from the second (bedroom level) floor towards the cliff managed to be interesting. The window is in the hallway and will need to be draped or frosted. I was surprised at how much light came in. Wa-a-a-y down at the first floor (studio level) there is a small window that looks right into the cliff face just a few feet away. The jagged rock has tree roots coming out through the cracks. The house has about 2600 sq ft of living space spread over the four floors. The huge windows make the most of the dramatic distant … Continue reading Inside the Staircase House (iv)

Inside the Staircase House (iii)

The kitchen/dining room are on the third floor. Just beyond the fibreglass insulated wall is the garage. The front door to the house is just off-picture to the left. The room in the background is a walk in closet and powder room. The developer is standing where the kitchen cabinets will go. There will be a wall of 15 cupboards, of four different widths, heights, and depths, making an organic sculpture with pizzaz. Cabinets are being crafted just a few blocks away (buy local…) by Prendergast on Young Street. There will also be an island. Turning to face the other way, the … Continue reading Inside the Staircase House (iii)

Inside the Staircase House (ii)

It looks weird from the Lorne Street sidewalk level (third floor of the house) to see huge windows facing the escarpment. It seems, from the outside, that little light would get in. How wrong that is … the huge windows flood the house with light. The two windows on the cliff side might need to be covered in shears or with window film for privacy. The main staircase runs up past the windows through a multi-storey light well: The stair stringer is a single steel box beam, with metal supports for each tread. The treads themselves will be wider wood … Continue reading Inside the Staircase House (ii)

Inside the Staircase House (i)

Marc Dupuis, the builder of this infill on Primrose/Lorne staircase showed me around the inside. There are some “new” construction techniques and features that are worth looking at over the next few posts. The house consists of a street level entry, kitchen, dining room, and garage. One floor up (the fourth) is the large living room and deck. One floor down (the second) are two bedrooms. The first floor, at the Primrose level, is a studio arrangement of bedroom, studio, bathroom, wet bar (aka kitchen) and separate entrance. All logic and good design suggests that the entrance at this lower … Continue reading Inside the Staircase House (i)

Z6 grows a shell

The Z6 condo under construction at the corner of Balsam and Booth is finally showing some signs of its final look. The picture above shows the brickwork on the Balsam side. It is considerably less-detailed than promised in the advertising picture, but that’s just quibbling. The building is a breath of fresh air on Booth Street and in the centre of the neighborhood which dearly needs a shot in the arm, a visible testimony that someone has faith in the community’s future. The remaining yellow panels will be clad in various metal sidings. The building appears to have an interesting mix … Continue reading Z6 grows a shell

More Life on LeBreton Flats

The second phase of the Claridge project on the Flats is now being occupied by residents. Note just in front of the moving van, the ground floor patio has furniture on it and blanket-drapes. I was interested to note that the low-rise building has balcony railings that are glass above a metal panel, which hides some of the balcony clutter and reduces nosey people (like me) looking in. The balconies on the first phase on the opposite side of the courtyard are all glass. I prefer the Beaver Barracks solution shown a few posts back, where the top half of the glass … Continue reading More Life on LeBreton Flats

Preston/Norman infill detailed …

Recall that a previous post looked at the potential redevelopment of this lot at the corner of Norman and Preston. In essence, the proposal is to demolish the garage and build a 3 storey apartment unit.  See,   I asked readers what they thought of the infill, and got a number of intelligent replies. So, end the suspense, what does the site owner propose? What does the project look like? These two elevations are from the City development application:   And this one is from the developer:       The landscaping plan shows the ground between the building and the street to … Continue reading Preston/Norman infill detailed …

Pantone colour this building

I vaguely recall taking some pleasure when the new construction trades building was proposed for Algonquin College, as it has large green (planted) roof areas and a colourful exterior. Each visit to the College Station at Baseline and Woodroffe proved disappointing, as the building seemed to grow uglier each month. I know, I know, it’s reckless to knock it before it is finished. But where were the coloured windows? I checked out the building rendering on display in the front  window of the architect’s offices on Slater Street, and the windows were not colourful, just bland ole’ gray. Chalk up another victory … Continue reading Pantone colour this building

Downtown’s changing skyline

Ottawa has a curious bunch of downtown buildings dating from the Robert Campeau era (1960’s and 70’s). They all share a certain formula: towers “inspired” by famous buildings elsewhere, usually built on massive ugly windowless podiums, and with no apparent front doors. Consider the Centennial Towers, whose entrance used to be facing a drive through arch, mercifully removed during its last renovation. Or the Marriott hotel, also sitting on a rough concrete windowless podium, its entrance facing a mid-block driveway well concealed from motorists and pedestrians alike. Or the black cube Place de Ville office towers, some of which still have their entrances … Continue reading Downtown’s changing skyline

Beaver Barracks: dialing for dollar$

The Beaver Barracks project has some elderly neighbours. This adds interest to the views, and avoids that “all built at once” project look. The bottom part of the balcony railing is frosted, giving the inside of the units more privacy, and concealing from streetview the junk that always accumulates on balconies. The whole project is heated by geothermal energy. Hundreds of wells were drilled under the site. A closed-loop system transfers heat up from the ground and circulates it to the units. In the summer time, it pulls heat out of the apartments and puts it back into the ground. The units are … Continue reading Beaver Barracks: dialing for dollar$

Soho Italia promoters set up tame blog

The developers and promoters for the Soho Italia project have set up their own blog to counter the critical coverage and commentary they have been getting in the media and blog world. It’s at  Unfortunately, you cannot elect to keep informed of exciting new posts and drooling interviews with the architect as there are no subscriber or feed options. They don’t actually own up to being behind the blog, but it’s pretty obvious they are, it contains their advertisements, discount opportunities to buy their condos, and very carefully selected media exerpts. One odd word of ownership creeps in … Over … Continue reading Soho Italia promoters set up tame blog

Thatched roof on the Beaver

Make no mistake, the buildings are tightly packed in on the Beaver Barracks site. Every inch counts, including the roofs. There are some large roof patios. The railings are made of glass, to maximize the views and break the wind. Most of the roof is planted with sedums and grasses in shallow planter beds. In addition to the building’s planters, there are planter boxes for use by tenants, and even a potting shed/room with running water.   Also the roof has access to the top of the “round” turret that graces the south-east side of the building. Thus far, the room … Continue reading Thatched roof on the Beaver

The Common Beaver

Another post in the continuing series exploring the Beaver Barracks development by CCOC. Here are some shots of the common areas: The bike room is right inside the front door of the lobby. It maximizes convenience for cyclists, so they are more likely to take the bike than go to the garage. It is generously large as many tenants will not have a personal car. The hyper-tidy laundry room is on the main floor by the back lobby. Big windows allow parents to supervise outside play; and outside people to over-see the laundry. More eyes = more safety. There will … Continue reading The Common Beaver

Interior of the Beaver

The lobby area of the Beaver Barracks building on Metcalfe features a large common room and kitchen to cater to events, parties, and cooking lessons: The sloped wood ceiling is made of reclaimed wood. Several large trees were cut down on the site last year. That wood was augmented by some wood reclaimed from the Ottawa River. They were milled into rough-cut boards to make ceiling panels like above. The main lobby also has these ceiling panels. They look great from a distance, but personally I felt they were a bit too rough and crude, too “packing-crate” for my liking. Here is the interior … Continue reading Interior of the Beaver