Ottawa’s Chinatown runs along Somerset from Bay Street to Bronson to Booth to Preston. The Chinatown Royal Arch, of course, is immediately west of Bronson. Do you recall that its primary colours are red, turquoise, and gold? Most people remember only the red:
The bit of Somerset from Booth to Rochester to Preston has been reconstructed over the last year. Out of the big mess has come some nice textured red pavers, a significant number of locust and other trees.
And now, benches. The new benches are in turquoise and red. They are laser cut steel with a pattern of wind-blown lanterns. Benches are positioned on the street so the preferred east or south wind blows the lanterns. I am really pleased with the bright bench colours; in contrast, the Chinese Red lamp-posts are a dull red rough finish.
Right now, these new benches are found only in the reconstructed section of Chinatown. But several more have been ordered to go at the base of the Chinatown Royal Arch. Since Bronson is being reconstructed, a few more Chinatown benches might appear at that corner by December 2013. Hopefully, in future years the Chinatown BIA will be able to afford one more bench for each block of the strip.
One of the things the street design committee pushed for was to group benches in seating clusters, rather than just lined up along the street. Alas, there often isn’t much space, but a few were put at right angles to the street, and there is a nice cluster at the bus stop in front of the drugstore at Booth.
The street has also gotten some new garbage cans. The asian motif is a bit more subtle here. The four surfaces are laser cut with different plants, including bamboo, chrysanthemum, and lotus.
Like the benches, the design for the cans evolved. Initial designs included using a version of the Chinatown BIA logo on the side:
The reconstruction project on Somerset is now coming to a close. There are still several things to be done:
- the civic artwork, being fused glass dodads attached high on some of the lamp posts
- the red and white concrete crosswalks at Rochester and Booth
- the zodiac granite inserts for the sidewalks
each of which will be covered as they get installed.