Green Roof at College Square

The roof at Algonquin College’s new building is planted. The pic above shows the steepest part of roof, as seen from the northwest.

I think the north half of the building bears a resemblance to the War Museum on LeBreton Flats.

I notice the Ottawa U station will be called “Campus”; the Carleton U station is called “Carleton”; but the Algonquin College station is called “Baseline”. I think Baseline is a poor choice, since the road after which it is named is many kilometers long while the station is in one place only. Either “College Square” or “Algonquin” would be better names.

At least some of the new LRT stations will have themes. The LeBreton station will have an Algonquin theme (but not the Algonquin Station). The downtown east station theme will be Confederation, although it is several blocks from Confederation Square, and must not be confused with the Confederation O-Train station.

The proposed Gladstone Station is also named after the road that crosses the O-Train route, a road that is again found in many neighborhoods. I prefer something more unique to the site, like “Little Italy”.

I hope that someone at City Hall is actually looking at these current names and giving some thought to their long-term viability, uniqueness, and clarity to visitors and users alike. As yet, none of the stations has a high degree of name branding. This is an opportunity for the City to get people involved in their LRT and transit system, which in turn will result in a system that is more “owned” by the people.

23 thoughts on “Green Roof at College Square

  1. “Gladstone” is a long-term viable name for the station, and helps with navigation for casual or visiting users of the transit system. Cf. the naming convention of the Toronto subway.

    “Little Italy” is not a long-term viable name, because there is no guarantee that that will be the character of the neighbourhood forever. In fact, the history of “ethnic” neighbourhoods throughout North America would suggest it won’t be.

    1. As someone who just bought a house at Beech and Loretta except for the businesses there appears to be very few people with vowels at the ends of their surnames presently living in Little Italy. Like most Little Italies in North America (Toronto, NY, SF) they have been gentrified and taken over by largely education WASPish cool people.

  2. One other reason not to call it Baseline Station is that it is actually 375m from Baseline road. It is like calling Bayview Station “Somerset Station”.

    1. End-to-end, Baseline Station covers a distance that, on some downtown routes, would have three bus stops.

      I know a Baseline shuttle bus would sometimes be useful to make transfers at this p.o.s. station designed by people who drive to work.

    2. It might be about 375 metres now, but once the ‘real’ baseline Station is built south of the tunnel, the Baseline Station will be over 560 metres from the closest part of Baseline Road.

  3. wjm: why not college square? It would help to give a reason. I realize it is the name of the big box/pad plaza next door, but it in turn is named somewhat after Algonquin. A station named after a destination is useful to riders.
    I agree that Little Italy might change, just as what is Chinatown today used to be Little Italy barely 25 years ago, and probably, despite the Arch, won’t be much of a Chinatown in the future, even if the Somerset Palace is built (a project germinating for a chinese-themed big building…).
    But Gladstone ??? what happens when a second LRT line is built, and also crosses Gladstone? Should have have two gladstone stations? Or if someone wants to go to some place and Gladstone and gets off at the Gladstone Station only to find the Tunney’s station was much closer to Gladstone, but several km west?
    I much prefer unique station names, that are not easily confusable with other major stations, and that are specific to the station area.
    Thanks for reading and commenting,


    1. Because “College Square” sounds like a tacky, god-awful, turned-inward, parking-centric, cheaply-built shopping plaza.

      Which, oddly enough, it is.

      My vote is for “Algonquin”.

      Which second LRT line will cross, and have a station at, Gladstone? Let’s cross the naming bridge in about 436 years, which is when we’ll be coming to it in this visionless town.

      The person who shoulda got off at Tunney’s also shoulda looked at the map. No sympathy from me.

      1. And I gotta say, about College Square: what a wasted opportunity; yet another piece of garbage built well into the supposed enlightened era of pro-pedestrian, not-beholden-to-car planning in talks-the-talk-but-doesn’t-walk-the-walk-because-it-would-rather-drive-the-drive-Ottawa.

        Oh well. At least it’s cheaply-enough built that a future owner won’t sweat too much about flattening it and maybe getting talked, goaded, or cajoled into building something that doesn’t look like the commercial real estate equivalent of ass. The 1970s-era strip malls on Baseline have more character than College Square.

      2. @WJM – I actually think College Square is not bad. Not good. But not bad. The stores are in a circle around the parking and you can walk from store to store most of the way around (starting at Loblaws and ending at the Beer Store. You’ll spend a lot more time walking while shopping than you would walking from and to your car.

        Contrast that with South Keys which is a big straight line, requiring you to walk twice as far as you should, with no short-cuts allowed.

        It’s not as nice as some of the newer retail centres. I lived near a nice one in Fairfax, VA ( ) that had parking around the outside, mixed residential adjacent, an office building, and two-story nice retail buildings in a grid. With a central plaza with water fountain that kids were actually allowed to play in.

  4. Please not “College Square”! What a boring and useless name. There are many colleges in this city, and giving a transit station such a generic name is not good wayfinding.

    If you don’t like “Baseline”, the obvious other name is “Centrepointe”, after the immediate neighbourhood.

    1. I agree, “Centrepointe” would be a better name than “College Square”. I would also be happy to go with “Algonquin” or “Algonquin College”.

      “Gladstone” is not the greatest name, but “Little Italy” has issues for long term viability, also. That is a tough call.

  5. One of the arguments for Baseline may be that they plan on having a secondary BRT on that road so naming the LRT station after the road simplifies things.

    Q: Where do you switch from LRT to the Baseline transitway?
    A: At Baseline Station.

  6. Algonquin or Algonquin College would be good. I don’t think our transit stations should be named after big box developments. It makes a lot more sense to name it after the college that has been on that site for almost 50 years.

    1. While I think that “Centrepointe” would be appropriate, I wouldn’t necessarily nix “College Square”. The name itself evokes a place for people to gather within or around the College campus. While this idea has been appropriated for a suburban big-box plaza, the dissonance of the name could help to accelerate the humanization of the space as we (hopefully) begin to correct these big-box complexes over the next decade or so.

      Associating it with “College” isn’t a problem in my mind. While Algonquin isn’t the only college in Ottawa, it’s certainly the most prominent. “Campus” station could refer to a heck of a lot more places than just a postsecondary institution, but it seems to be alright. I have bigger concerns about calling such a station “Algonquin”, because I associate that name not with the college, but with the nation, which has little to no presence in that area as far as I know (aside from the college’s name). I was pretty confused the first time I saw Carleton Ave in Mechanicsville (there’s also a Carleton St in Fitzroy Harbour), and when I think of Carleton, I think of the entire county, which was mostly suburban/rural, yet Carleton University and transit station is pretty central by comparison.

      Regarding stations with names far from the locations they represent, I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned Westboro.

  7. Peter: if there is a Baseline BRT, then they could really save money by mass-producing Baseline Station signs to be put up at every BRT stop along Baseline…

    1. I assume your tongue is firmly in your cheek with that response. After all, it is the cross-streets which have dictated the station names (and now stop names since the NSAS). As such, Baseline Road is the closest major road that the SW Transitway passes under. I agree that as the station gets pushed further south the name becomes less relevant, but it is a well known station name – and OC Transpo doesn’t like changing names (i.e., buses still stop at Nepean Centre instead of Bells Corners).

      1. The #14 used to go to “Iris” for years (even when it used to be the #41). It is now properly #14 Carlington. OC Transpo does change…eventually.

      2. There are a whole raft of buses which have the name “Nepean Centre” in them, for no obviously good reason. They all serve, or terminate in, different locations. Where the hell is the centre of amorphous Nepean, anyway? I’ve never seen it, unless they are referring to the bits that Ottawa annexed decades ago.

  8. Barrhaven Centre is the end point of the southern transitway for the 95 buses…don’t know what (or where) Nepean Centre would be.

    1. I wouldn’t either. However, the OC Transpo timetables describe one of the directions or service areas of the 67, 69, 157, 158, 166, 174, 178, and 179 as “Nepean Centre” whereever or whatever that is. There are also some routes which are described as “Nepean Centre” on the bus signs or pole information, but not on the website.

      Perhaps we should fundraise and mount an expedition to “Nepean Centre”.

Comments are closed.