To the casual observer, the placement of the very large ped lighting fixtures along Preston may be annoying. They hop from inner to outer boulevard, from left side to right side of the sidewalk. Sometimes on decorative metal posts, sometimes bolted to wooden utility “telephone” poles.

More careful observation shows that that they are grouped in rows, designed to line up, creating a pedestrian corridor. That pattern is reinforced by the trees along the street. A back curb serves to protect the plantings from feet, plows and other intrusions. The columnar fruit trees along Preston were in full bloom last week:


I met a landscape architect while walking the street. We stopped to discuss the blooming trees. I asked if this is the sort of show other cities got every year, if they were in a milder climate, such as St Catherine’s or even Toronto. In which case, we’re pretty short changed by our severe climate.

Yup, he told me, other cities get this majesty of blooms every year. But, some colder cities also get a lot more blooms than Ottawa does. They put more effort into larger root beds of top soil, provide summertime watering, even for mature trees, and thus coax more show from healthier trees.

Even measured in tree blooms, it seems, Ottawa is a high tax / low results city.