Last week the packed Urban Forum lecture heard and saw Dr David Gordon from Queens expound on planning and urban design in Canada’s Capital, 1800-2000. Note the cut-off year: amalgamation; also removing the necessity to venture views on current plans such as the LRT.
He reviewed planning over the century using professorial wit and hectoring. His theme was drawn from spaghetti westerns, particularly The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. You’ll see the various planning efforts allocated to these categories in the picture below. Indeed, reviewing the outline below will give you a very complete summary of the plot.
Like any short-ish commentary on a complex issue, it was incomplete, selective, and provocative. More than once I winced at his interpretation of things, such as describing the LeBreton project of 1980 (which I once lived, now live beside, and transept daily) as a great success. Maybe I am too close to it and see only the flaws. I must try to be more positive and conciliatory in life.
I was surprised — an I must confess pleased — that he favoured connecting the Vanier Arterial (later remonikered as a Parkway) to the MacdonaldCartier Bridge. While he favoured a bridge over the Rideau River between Porter and Green Islands, I always thought a tunnel made more sense. I regret to say that I was a witness at the OMB hearing that shot down that connection. No doubt I shall be wrong many more times.
He gave kind mention to the mostly forgotten railway relocation programs of the 1948-1970 period, which caused me to dig out my old papers on that subject and these I will inflict on readers in upcoming posts so that we may all be equally edified.
Here is his story line for Clint Does Ottawa: