City Tot Lot with Pee Post

There is a mixed use development proposed for the corner of McRae Avenue and Scott Street. This is right across the street from the new Farm Boy store, which is also in a mixed use complex (one office tower 7 stories, one residential tower 9 stories, one level of retail).

The proposed tower is 19 stories, which seems relatable to the 9 stories adjacent, and the 32 storey Minto tower on the north side of Scott which then segues into a forest of 20+ storey towers from the 1970’s (Island Park Towers). And immediately east of the 19 storey tower is the former Trailhead store site, on which someone will propose something slightly shorter. The 19 storey tower will be part of a development with several lower buildings including townhouses. Given that all this is on the doorstep of the Westboro Station it seems textbook Transit Oriented Development (TOD).

There is also a large vacant intensification-lot-in-training on the north side of the Station, where the CBC once had its studios and as a student at Champlain HS we used the antenna mast and its shadow to calculate a triangle to figure out its height. I don’t imagine that will be subdivided for 1200 sq ft bungalow affordable starter homes.

So all seems to be going in the right direction: fine grain, mixed use, intensification directly adjacent a majorly accessible transit station on the Confederation Line.

Two issues stand out: making buildings relate to McRae given the hi tension electric right of way on the east side which pushes buildings back behind a [ convenient but suburban strip mall style-] parking lot, and the lack of local amenities.


above: former trailhead at top left, farm boy and cs coop on top centre, scott street with free parking to the left

Smack dab in the middle of the proposed buildings on the west side of McRae the developer is proposing a parkette. It’s not very big, just 526 sq m  (about the size of two neighbourhood home lots). Is it worthwhile having? I’d suggest Yes.

It all depends, of course, on what you see the park as being for. Obviously not a soccer field or a run-around-on-the-big-lawn sort of park that is so scarce in urban Ottawa. In this neighbourhood, little Chloe and Dakota get their exercise walking to Starbucks and the craft store. Not being driven everywhere means walking instead. Our sidewalks should be attractive urban places with big trees and benches and amenities. Linear parks in fact.

Given the surrounding number of apartments built and proposed, and given the impediment and risk of crossing overly-busy roads that city lards our neighbourhoods with, I’ll put my dime on a tot lot park. With amenities aimed at resting parents (bench!WiFi) and the under four set (tot lot structure) with a surrounding fence. Maybe some benches along the sidewalk for office workers on break.

Now most of those apartment residents might well be adults (SINKS or DINKS) but old or young I gather weird-named breeds of dogs are the new children. The City hired a downtown Toronto consultant to advise them on what high rise apartment groupings need for better urban design, and he pointed out Toronto has an average of six dogs per floor of condo towers. Six ! And all those “parents” come home at 5 o’clock and many will want to take their “child” to the park. So, that parkette on McRae better have both a human tot lot and a dog run with a pee post or else the greenery will be urinated to death and the lawny patches spotted with burns.

I’ve seen other cities with dog toilet facilities, but not here in Ottawa. We have our first gravelled dog run parkettes though. But none with dog waste composting, dog wash stations, or flush toilets for (hu)man’s best friends. [dog toilets are basically a shower pan like depression with a post/fake fire hydrant and a drain and a foot pedal to start the wash of water that “flushes” the toilet. Same technology as a spray pad at the human park, but smaller scale…]


I think there is room in the proposed parkette for a human tot lot and a dog walk/poop zone. Take care of everyone’s children, regardless of species.

I also notice that one garage entrance to the complex is mid-block, with a paved laneway beside the park. This laneway certainly could be low speed woonerf-style space sharable by dog walkers, pedestrians cutting thru the block, and garage users. While not exactly a park space, it is not antithetical to the official park either. Therefore the parkette should have entrances on the NW and SW corners as well as the street front.

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6 thoughts on “City Tot Lot with Pee Post

  1. Will a male dog really pee where you want him too? Mine won’t. Pete saves his pee so he can sprinkle here and there on his walks. He’s marking territories letting other dogs know “I live here too”. Our female also picks a spot. But it could be anywhere along the walk. She spins around about twenty times and the lets it out all at once. Can they be trained to go where you want?

  2. What? 6 dogs per floor in a condo tower? That would translate to some (?) 50% of residents being
    pet owners (does it include cats?)
    How many units per floor? Can we get more specitif?

  3. That parkette seems kind of small for a dog run. There is however a bit of disused land on the north side of the transitway by that 32storey tower that would be ideal for a dog run. It looks like it is currently used as an access way to the transformer station. It is 150m long so a dog could get a full head of steam before having to turn back. The linear path along Scott Street is also a useful dog walking amenity. I’m not really sure what this tiny lot would be used for. It is hard to find comparable sized parks in the city. Even Roy Duncan Park is larger than this plot of land.

    1. It is small if you picture a ground oriented housing type of dog, ie labradoodle or scot sheep herder , which run big and far… but as the housing units shrink, so do the dogs. The folks outside high rise condos seem to have little yappy things, purse size dogs, and pugg type dogs, for whom a run 12′ x 100′ of gravel might be just right. I am making suggestions not prescriptions.

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