Macdonald Gardens Park - Park Conservation Plan

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The City of Ottawa is seeking your feedback on the Conservation Plan for Macdonald Gardens Park, a 3.6-hectare park situated in ward 12, Lowertown. The park holds a significant historical background and is currently heavily utilized. Due to its unique history, careful consideration is required for the park’s development, leading to the necessity of a conservation plan. The following text and plans provided in the document folder serve as a summary of the efforts and objectives.


A community information session is scheduled for Monday June 3rd, 2024, from 6 pm to 7 pm, in the Lounge Room at the Routhier Community Centre. You can download and review the meeting presentation using the link provided to the right.


Conservation Plan Purpose

The Macdonald Gardens Park Conservation Plan aims to outline a strategy for preserving and managing the heritage values, attributes, and integrity of the Park. The Plan adheres to the Standards and Guidelines for Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. It aims to direct the conservation and stewardship of the Park’s original design by offering detailed guidelines for future interventions and rehabilitation of the park’s heritage features in a manner that honors the park’s character.


Historic interest

In 1912, the park design was prepared by Frederick G. Todd, one of Canada’s early landscape architects who planned many parks across the country. Macdonald Gardens Park was planned and developed as part of the efforts to beautify the capital in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The park area evolved from cemetery to one of Ottawa’s early planned landscapes. Constructed in 1914, Macdonald Gardens Park is of historical value as an early project of the Ottawa Improvement Commission (OIC), now known as the National Capital Commission (NCC). It was an integral part of the park system that formed Ottawa’s “Capital Landscape” between 1915-1946 (Macdonald Gardens: A Neighbourhood in Lowertown East). Todd’s plan imbued naturalistic garden design principles, reflecting the “steep terracing and picturesque cliffs while the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers rush through Ottawa” and “nature herself” to “provide a place where nature may still be enjoyed, unmarred by contact with humanity,” with “picturesque and diversified scenery.” (Character in Park Design, Canadian Municipal Journal 1:321-22). Todd’s aim was to create a tranquil setting with winding trails, native trees, and open spaces in an urban setting with views of Parliament from the Summer House (SCHV Macdonald Gardens Park, 99 Coburg). Influenced by Olmsted, the design integrated an English style of garden with a pastoral vision to forge a setting for “unconscious or indirect recreation” (Character in Park Design).


Heritage significance

In 2019 the park received designation under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. The Official Plan, the Provincial Policy Statement, and the Ontario Heritage Act provided policy direction related to the designation (Planning Committee Report 45). https://www.heritagetrust.on.ca/oha/details?id=6092&backlinkslug=advanced-search&fields%5Bproperty_name%5D=Macdonald+Gardens+Park

The landscape’s contextual value also lies in its historic setting within the Lowertown area and its prominently located Summer House which has become a landmark for the community.


Over the years

Over the years, the 3.2 ha park has evolved from Todd’s original plan. Some changes took place between the late 1940s and the late 1970s, including the removal of the wading pool and the closure of Charlotte Street. In 1972, the City of Ottawa officially took ownership of the park. Some new trails have been added, replacing the original winding trails and expansive lawns. A massing of large trees and understory shrubs has replaced Charlotte Street. The curved walls in the northwest corner of the site, described as amphitheater walls, might not have been part of Todd’s original plan. New features and materials have been added here and there, blurring Todd’s heritage design. It is evident that over the decades, different styles of furnishings have been added to the park, with no guidance regarding the preservation of the park’s historical character. The NCC aggregate light poles have been displaced over time. It is also apparent that some park features no longer meet current city and provincial standards requirements and/or best practices on universal accessibility and lighting.

New uses have been integrated. Part of the west half of the park has been designated as a ‘mixed’ off-leash dog area. The public pressure and intensive use of the park have made it challenging to maintain grass cover in some areas. There are a number of mature trees within the park in a decline phase of their lifecycle. The Summer House atop a large grassy hill remains and provides views of Parliament and Gatineau Park from a distance.


Vision Plan recommendations

The intent of the Vision Plan is to provide an assessment of character-defining elements as well as guidance on how to preserve heritage features, restore original design intents, and acknowledge the unique park history while considering existing conditions, maintenance as well as future uses. The main intentions of the Vision Plan are as follows:

  • Re-establish the character and identity of Todd’s original design for the park.
  • Rehabilitate open spaces through spatial organization and by re-instating the essence of the original plan, trails, lawns, “naturalistic” principles, landforms, tree placement, and other park components.
  • Preserve the heritage value and character-defining elements when considering modifications, removals, or additions to the park.
  • Maintain the existing park boundaries, access points, and rehabilitate the former Charlotte Street alignment.
  • Preserve critical views of Parliament, Gatineau Park and the surrounding, area as much as possible.
  • Maintain the heritage value by implementing a minimal intervention approach and removing built features that do not align with the original “naturalist” original design, such as pre-cast brick features.
  • Restore constructed components like the Summer House, amphitheatre, and other built features.
  • Replace site furnishings with features that reflects the site’s heritage character, while addressing regulations and contributing to the park’s historical coherence.
  • Relocate the NCC light poles as heritage elements and add new lighting at designated locations to improve visibility and safety.
  • Recommend a single heritage-style interpretive signage.
  • Preserve and protect mature existing trees on site.
  • Consider the conservation plan recommendations, location, and native species list when replacing or planting new trees. Also, implement new planting to complement the open space layout.
  • Find solutions to restore turf in certain areas while addressing ponding.

The vision Plan will comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, City of Ottawa Accessibility Design Standards, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, and other applicable regulations to make the park universally accessible, inclusive and safe for all users, while preserving its historical character.


The Conservation Plan provides a strategy to acknowledge, rehabilitate the cultural heritage landscape of Macdonald Gardens Park Macdonald Gardens Park. It applies The Standards and Guidelines for Conversation of Historic Places in Canada and was prepared by NAK in collaboration with the Friends of Macdonald Gardens and the City of Ottawa.


You can download and review the Macdonald Gardens Park Conservation Plan, Existing Conditions Plan, Assessment Plan, and Vision Plan using the link provided to the right.


We kindly invite you to participate in the survey below to share your thoughts and preferences. Please be aware that the survey can only be completed once per account. Your feedback is important to us.

The City of Ottawa is seeking your feedback on the Conservation Plan for Macdonald Gardens Park, a 3.6-hectare park situated in ward 12, Lowertown. The park holds a significant historical background and is currently heavily utilized. Due to its unique history, careful consideration is required for the park’s development, leading to the necessity of a conservation plan. The following text and plans provided in the document folder serve as a summary of the efforts and objectives.


A community information session is scheduled for Monday June 3rd, 2024, from 6 pm to 7 pm, in the Lounge Room at the Routhier Community Centre. You can download and review the meeting presentation using the link provided to the right.


Conservation Plan Purpose

The Macdonald Gardens Park Conservation Plan aims to outline a strategy for preserving and managing the heritage values, attributes, and integrity of the Park. The Plan adheres to the Standards and Guidelines for Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. It aims to direct the conservation and stewardship of the Park’s original design by offering detailed guidelines for future interventions and rehabilitation of the park’s heritage features in a manner that honors the park’s character.


Historic interest

In 1912, the park design was prepared by Frederick G. Todd, one of Canada’s early landscape architects who planned many parks across the country. Macdonald Gardens Park was planned and developed as part of the efforts to beautify the capital in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The park area evolved from cemetery to one of Ottawa’s early planned landscapes. Constructed in 1914, Macdonald Gardens Park is of historical value as an early project of the Ottawa Improvement Commission (OIC), now known as the National Capital Commission (NCC). It was an integral part of the park system that formed Ottawa’s “Capital Landscape” between 1915-1946 (Macdonald Gardens: A Neighbourhood in Lowertown East). Todd’s plan imbued naturalistic garden design principles, reflecting the “steep terracing and picturesque cliffs while the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers rush through Ottawa” and “nature herself” to “provide a place where nature may still be enjoyed, unmarred by contact with humanity,” with “picturesque and diversified scenery.” (Character in Park Design, Canadian Municipal Journal 1:321-22). Todd’s aim was to create a tranquil setting with winding trails, native trees, and open spaces in an urban setting with views of Parliament from the Summer House (SCHV Macdonald Gardens Park, 99 Coburg). Influenced by Olmsted, the design integrated an English style of garden with a pastoral vision to forge a setting for “unconscious or indirect recreation” (Character in Park Design).


Heritage significance

In 2019 the park received designation under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. The Official Plan, the Provincial Policy Statement, and the Ontario Heritage Act provided policy direction related to the designation (Planning Committee Report 45). https://www.heritagetrust.on.ca/oha/details?id=6092&backlinkslug=advanced-search&fields%5Bproperty_name%5D=Macdonald+Gardens+Park

The landscape’s contextual value also lies in its historic setting within the Lowertown area and its prominently located Summer House which has become a landmark for the community.


Over the years

Over the years, the 3.2 ha park has evolved from Todd’s original plan. Some changes took place between the late 1940s and the late 1970s, including the removal of the wading pool and the closure of Charlotte Street. In 1972, the City of Ottawa officially took ownership of the park. Some new trails have been added, replacing the original winding trails and expansive lawns. A massing of large trees and understory shrubs has replaced Charlotte Street. The curved walls in the northwest corner of the site, described as amphitheater walls, might not have been part of Todd’s original plan. New features and materials have been added here and there, blurring Todd’s heritage design. It is evident that over the decades, different styles of furnishings have been added to the park, with no guidance regarding the preservation of the park’s historical character. The NCC aggregate light poles have been displaced over time. It is also apparent that some park features no longer meet current city and provincial standards requirements and/or best practices on universal accessibility and lighting.

New uses have been integrated. Part of the west half of the park has been designated as a ‘mixed’ off-leash dog area. The public pressure and intensive use of the park have made it challenging to maintain grass cover in some areas. There are a number of mature trees within the park in a decline phase of their lifecycle. The Summer House atop a large grassy hill remains and provides views of Parliament and Gatineau Park from a distance.


Vision Plan recommendations

The intent of the Vision Plan is to provide an assessment of character-defining elements as well as guidance on how to preserve heritage features, restore original design intents, and acknowledge the unique park history while considering existing conditions, maintenance as well as future uses. The main intentions of the Vision Plan are as follows:

  • Re-establish the character and identity of Todd’s original design for the park.
  • Rehabilitate open spaces through spatial organization and by re-instating the essence of the original plan, trails, lawns, “naturalistic” principles, landforms, tree placement, and other park components.
  • Preserve the heritage value and character-defining elements when considering modifications, removals, or additions to the park.
  • Maintain the existing park boundaries, access points, and rehabilitate the former Charlotte Street alignment.
  • Preserve critical views of Parliament, Gatineau Park and the surrounding, area as much as possible.
  • Maintain the heritage value by implementing a minimal intervention approach and removing built features that do not align with the original “naturalist” original design, such as pre-cast brick features.
  • Restore constructed components like the Summer House, amphitheatre, and other built features.
  • Replace site furnishings with features that reflects the site’s heritage character, while addressing regulations and contributing to the park’s historical coherence.
  • Relocate the NCC light poles as heritage elements and add new lighting at designated locations to improve visibility and safety.
  • Recommend a single heritage-style interpretive signage.
  • Preserve and protect mature existing trees on site.
  • Consider the conservation plan recommendations, location, and native species list when replacing or planting new trees. Also, implement new planting to complement the open space layout.
  • Find solutions to restore turf in certain areas while addressing ponding.

The vision Plan will comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, City of Ottawa Accessibility Design Standards, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, and other applicable regulations to make the park universally accessible, inclusive and safe for all users, while preserving its historical character.


The Conservation Plan provides a strategy to acknowledge, rehabilitate the cultural heritage landscape of Macdonald Gardens Park Macdonald Gardens Park. It applies The Standards and Guidelines for Conversation of Historic Places in Canada and was prepared by NAK in collaboration with the Friends of Macdonald Gardens and the City of Ottawa.


You can download and review the Macdonald Gardens Park Conservation Plan, Existing Conditions Plan, Assessment Plan, and Vision Plan using the link provided to the right.


We kindly invite you to participate in the survey below to share your thoughts and preferences. Please be aware that the survey can only be completed once per account. Your feedback is important to us.

Are there any other comments you would like to share regarding the Macdonald Gardens Park Conservation Plan?

Comments left in the guestbook are public. Please do not include personal information in the comments.  

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

A few remarks and questions
- lampposts: these are a heritage attribute listed in bylaw 2019-292. They need to be retained where they are. More can be added if more light is needed as was done on the nearby Cummings bridge. Removing these would be removing a significant heritage attribute from the park. This is not adequately highlighted or analyzed in the conservation plan - removal is no doubt a significant impact to a heritage attribute. Removing these would also completely change the character and feel of the park. I think better solutions can be found than a generic lamppost that goes in every park.

- implementation. I could not find the maintenance standard for parks online. I wonder if we could operationalize the recommendations re more frequent watering and tree maintenance for this heritage park by specifying these actions in that policy as a priority, so that it is clear to all what the expectations are, and it would be in the next budget cycle.

- former wading pool area: please no gravel circular feature.

- east side: I do not see a need to get rid of the existing path with iconic lampposts. I suggest improving this diagonal path for accessibility. Adding more paths would cut into the landscape and use of the park.

- notes on how the park is used: I observe what goes on daily on the east side of the park. The east side is used for casual pick up sports, kids running free, people doing exercise (body weight training and yoga), cross-country skiing, picnics where people like to move picnic tables depending on the sun and size of group, gatherings of neighbourhood groups meeting daily on the benches under the trees.

-Charlotte Street - new straight path: I have hesitations about this. I think more design work is needed. I am concerned about bikes and e-scooters zooming down while kids play and learn to bike and dogs run out.i know the existing meandering path that makes you feel like you are out of the city (unless you spy the beautiful library of parliament!) is not accessible and was not in Todd’s design - but to me how it is today embodies the spirit of his intent for strolling under trees in the park.

Questions
- what is the risk management plan?

ASab 27 days ago

There must be a way to make the park more accessible from the Lower Charlotte side, and alleviate the drainage and erosion issues, without creating the straight, wide pathway the plan calls for.
I would caution that, unless you make the entranceways difficult for cars to navigate, you will get people trying to drive through.
As well, Todd's original loops around the east side of the park don't make sense now, given the sidewalk in front of the Brigadier Private properties and the diagonal path running northeast/southwest. People use it because it gets them to where they're going; if you take it out, they'll just wear down the turf in a straight line where the paved pathway is now.
Yes, it's a lovely place to stop and relax, throw a frisbee; it's also a pleasant place to walk through, and those needs must be recognized as well.

Tom Vradenburg 27 days ago

Frederic G. Todd had general thoughts about park design pronounced at the Convention of the American Society of Municipal Improvements in Montreal more than 100 years ago. They still have relevance today to the Macdonald Gardens Park that he designed.

“It seems to me that if there is one thing more than another which is always pleasing, it is to go through a park with a strong individual character of its own, whose expression is varied and yet harmonious. That park is certain to give the most pleasure and accomplish the most good for humanity which, while it is designed to care for every practical necessity of the people, still preserves a definite character of its own, varied in its expression. It has been demonstrated over and over again that public parks are not only great benefactors, but public necessities in all large cities.
What would London do without her large parks? What would New York do without her Central Park? People whose lives are lived among the hustle and strife of a large city require some place where they can rest after the day’s exertion: ... to all these what a boom are the public parks, where the air at least is more pure than on the street, and the children can romp on the grass or roam through the woods.”

Ilona Horvath

Ilona 27 days ago

It is not clear to me what changes are being proposed for the lighting in Macdonald Gardens Park. Although I am aware of the concept of limiting the light dome over urban areas and the requirement to provide adequate lighting for security purposes, I think it is important to retain the existing lamp posts, some of which are original to the Park and some reproduction replacements. This style of lamp post, a white glass globe atop an aggregate pebble post, was introduced in Ottawa around 1916 as lighting along the Rideau Canal. It can also be found in other areas in Ottawa such as Strathcona Park, Dundonald Park, Rockcliffe Park, Island Park Drive and other areas. Although there is a movement to replace these iconic posts in some areas in Ottawa, they are entirely appropriate for a relatively small heritage Park such as Macdonald Gardens. They add historic character and ambiance in both day light and nighttime hours. If more illumination is required for security purposes, I suggest additional discrete lighting be added.

Paul Corban 28 days ago

After reviewing the vision plans, I came away with mixed feelings. Overall I like the direction of the vision plan.

I agree with planting trees near the weather station - that would greatly help with that eyesore.

IMHO the winding path up to the gazebo/summer house would greatly benefit starting a little earlier and more to the west - it would make for a gentler slope and not require removal of any of the existing trees.
Note that the tree shown on the plan near the bottom of that new path was removed last month - giving you more flexibility.

The large dip in the path near the entrance at Cobourg and Tormey becomes a large swamp every time the snow melts. And a wide thin-ice pond afterwards. The path needs to be elevated to match the surrounded areas.

The east side of the park has a few deep large dips in the grass that would need filling and levelling (mostly in the middle, near the diagonal path).

That same area is often used by families playing soccer, and other activities i.e.: frisbee, catch, Spikeball (mini-trampoline), and birthday parties/celebrations. Adding or greatly modifying the existing path in that area would be a mistake, foot traffic would continue to follow the existing path (desire line), and the new paths would impede the family activities.

Adding new stairs that are going to be closed from Dec-April (5 months) seems frivolous, and certainly not accessible. Replacing the existing stairs with a long ramp that can remain open all year round would be a great improvement. A similar ramp on the east-side of lower Charlotte would be preferable than stairs (there is ample space on that side). With the addition of flowery gardens maybe?

That lower Charlotte path is in very poor shape due to the asphalt breaking apart during the spring thaw. That path becomes a river and is difficult and potentially dangerous to navigate in the spring. I agree that it needs to be re-worked and these issues addressed, but I don't believe a straight path all the way to the top is the best option.

I walk my dogs daily in that park, and collect various paraphernalia to assist the Needle Hunters. I also open Service Requests for burnt-out lights and graffiti, among others issues. The park needs some TLC, and your vision plan is a good start.

P.S.: Many dog owners have expressed that having some sort of fencing to deter dogs from running onto Tormey street would greatly improve their comfort level - especially when the dogs are young and learning. Something potentially difficult to implement in a heritage park - maybe using the same fencing used at lower Charlotte would help tie it together? Food for thought.

Thank you.

Marc D'Aoust 28 days ago

Please leave the east side of the park as is! It is beautiful, green, open space, with lots of mature, lovely trees that give a lot of shade. This side of the park is well-used by families with kids and the community for sports, parties or relaxing on a bench with friends. I agree that the west side of the park could use some love, but please avoid cutting down trees! The suggestion of a wide 3-metre path bisecting the park is unfortunate - the path is wide enough and already paved. Widening it would destroy many mature trees and introduce more concrete in a green space - the opposite of what a city park in a high-density neighbourhood needs!

Please reconsider this approach. MacDonald Gardens doesn't need much work (or money) to remain gorgeous and useful for the community.

Melissa Burke 30 days ago

While I appreciate and look forward to the city finalizing this plan for MacDonald Gardens Heritage Park, I do have a couple of comments to add to the discussion. Firstly, I would like to reiterate what was stated by a few people at the recent meeting that I do not see value in having a straight line path connecting Charlotte Street to Heney Street. We really don't want to remove healthy trees and a straight line pathway would encourage bicyclists to travel through the park very quickly. Also the curved path as existing is aesthetically pleasing.
Another point I would make would be to not have benches placed along the existing sidewalk parallel to the 23 townhomes. Years ago there were a few benches there and this created a lot of problems for the residents at night time as people would often get into loud conversations at night, distracting and keeping people up. We could however use more benches and tables in the park providing they are aesthetically in keeping with the Heritage designation. Finally, I support having an off-leash area on the western side of the park, but regrettably many dog owners bring their dogs to the Eastern side as well. Given that the Eastern side is used extensively buy children and adults for various recreational activities it's not particularly healthy having dogs doing their business on this side of the park. I also witnessed an off-leash dog attacking another dog owner two years ago this owner was walking along the sidewalk with an unleash pet and the large off leash dog attacked it and its owner.

ChrisCarmen 30 days ago

Thank you for your interest and efforts in our lovely MacDonald Garden's Park. I'd like to give feedback, because although I appreciate the park's history and heritage status, I was very concerned to read the proposed plans. I have sent a more detailed email, but in summary, spending money to 'rehabilitate' an already perfect park seems like a waste of funds that are so badly needed elsewhere in the community.

My spouse and I and our children are daily users of this wonderful park, from weekly soccer games with Lowertown kids to cross-country skiing, we are one of the young families who benefits greatly from this park. NB. I’ll speak only about the East side of the park.

My main message is: Please leave the East side of the park as it is. Please understand that this park is perfect as it is. Our Lowertown neighbourhood is dense with children and families living in small apartment buildings; these kids need wide open places to run and play, and everyone benefits from the beautiful shady forest for a spot of nature downtown. I support money going towards replanting & watering trees, repairing benches & garbage cans as needed, and widening the current paths to be accessible, but I do not support any other changes; they are not required or desired by park users.

Re: Proposed pathways changes (east side):
Please don’t change these paths! Kids cannot play a large game of soccer with a 1.5 m path cutting through the field. All the open areas are highly valuable and well used. Please leave the open green spaces as is (no new paths).

Re: Replanting trees:
When replanting trees, please continue to plant them along current pathways and in areas with other trees, to maintain the open spaces for active play.

Re: Proposed addition of more benches and picnic tables:
No thank you, we have enough! The benches are used for social gatherings or for drug use. There are currently 10 benches and 5 picnic tables (+ more on the west side) and they are never all full.

Re: Paving a 3m wide straightway connecting Charlotte to Lower Charlotte:
Please do NOT DO THIS. That area is the most natural and beautiful part of the park, and to make a wide paved path would require clear-cutting many mature and beautiful trees. There is already a paved path connecting the two Charlotte streets and a dedicated bike lane on Cobourg for those who are in a hurry. As another commenter noted: “Sous le prétexte de «rétablir la vision originale» du parc, la ville se propose donc de couper des arbres et d’y substituer un «chemin»? C’est absolument absurde!”

I loved another commenter’s quote: “Even a heritage park evolves over time and as long as its spirit is intact it should be allowed to change to meet contemporary uses and needs.” This park is loved and well used; a peaceful haven in the city. Don’t fix what’s not broken! Thank you very much for allowing for feedback and thank you in advance for listening to the community.

CGV about 1 month ago

I recognize the difficulty of my idea. If there were any way for the community to volunteer or get involved with being part of the development of the park (planting plants) that would make the park itself maybe more sentimental to the community. I have skills in landscaping, and I am sure there are more people in the community with the other valuable skills or as simple as being a helping hand. we can go through whmis no problem too.

Samuel5232 about 1 month ago

Re-establishing the Charlotte Street axis is essential to restoring the heritage character of the park and the neighbourhood street grid. It also restores important connectivity between Sandy Hill/Rideau Street and Lowertown East. A 3m asphalt path is arguably insufficient to meet these goals. Suggest a 4 m concrete path with lighting and benches.
The plan needs to place far more emphasis on rehabilitation and enhancement of the native tree canopy in the park and removal of invasive trees. While I generally support preserving mature trees, the current canopy is dominated by invasive Norway Maple. According to the tree inventory in Appendix E, there are 126 Norway Maples in the park and only, for example, 19 Sugar Maples. The Norways suppress growth of other, more desirable trees and cast a dense shade that contributes to a gloomy, vaguely sinister atmosphere in the area of the Charlotte Street axis. There are also patches of Common Buckthorn, which again is invasive and creates dark, inpenetrable thickets if left unchecked. Of course, any tree removals should be balanced by a replanting plan, one focused on native species of shade tree like Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Red Oak, Bur Oak, etc. One species that likely would have historically been far more common in the park is American Elm. Varieties of this species are now available that are resistant to Dutch Elm disease (e.g. Princeton, Valley Forge, Prairie Expedition). A selection of these should be planted to begin returning this historically important trees species to the Ottawa area.

BryanD about 1 month ago

The park's original design was done at a time when we were not in a climate crisis. We need to put trees and native plants at the top of the priority list, above any heritage designations and designs. I do appreciate the park's layout and the beautiful features of the "summer house" and amphitheater area, but those don't trump the city's (government AND citizens) obligations to maintaining and increasing green space.

I also disagree with the removal of trees and addition of (more) asphalt to the central/Charlotte path. I understand the need for accessibility, however, the tree coverage is more important than having a straight path and the introduction of toxic asphalt will not help the plant life or the human life in the long run. There are way to create a smooth, usable path that don't involve destruction.

As "njjohnson" noted here a few days ago... even a "heritage" park can evolve with the times.

LauraF about 1 month ago

In looking at the Conservation Plan for Macdonald Gardens I basically agree with the general philosophy of keeping open spaces for multi-purposes and the continual greening of the park with new plantings of native trees and shrubs. The only quibble I have is with the asphalt trail that is slated to cut across the park where Charlotte used to be. I think this part of the heritage aspect of the park could be let go of. I would hate to see the destruction of healthy trees which this would necessitate and I quite like the meandering path that exists there now. It's a lovely grove and addition to the park. There is also a plan to place benches at right angles along the side of the trail. The park has become more casual and less formal than when the original design was developed. Even a heritage park evolves over time and as long as its spirit is intact it should be allowed to change to meet contemporary uses and needs. There are benches in place around the park and their unstructured placement should remain.

njjohnson about 1 month ago

Mon grand-père paternel opérait un commerce aux coins des rues Augusta et Rideau durant les années 40 à 60 du XXe siècle. Ma mère a donc grandi dans la Basse-Ville. J’ai acheté ma première maison sur ce qui était alors le nouveau développement de la rue Brigadier privée en 1996 et demeure maintenant à deux pas du parc MacDonald, sur l’avenue Daly. Mes enfants ont grandi dans la Basse-Ville et dans la Côte de Sable.

Je suis donc très bien informé sur l’histoire vécue du parc MacDonald. Je me dois donc de signaler une inexactitude fondamentale dans le plan de redéveloppement du parc. Cette erreur d’apparence anodine masque à mon avis le parti-pris et la philosophie du service d’urbanisme de la ville.

On y indique que de « nouvelles activités » s’y sont rajoutées au fil du temps, comme la glissade. Je peux affirmer que cela est tout à fait faux - mon grand-père paternel y a amenée ma mère dans sa plus tendre enfance pour y glisser (circa 1930). Enfant, j’y ai moi-même glissé avec ma mère (circa 1964). Et mes enfants y ont glissé tout au long de leur enfance (circa 2000 à 2010). Quatre générations ont donc profiter des joies de l’hiver dans le parc MacDonald, sans trop se préoccuper des « risques » de blessures. En 2018, lorsque nous avons participé avec d’autres citoyens et citoyennes à l’accueil d’une famille de refugiés, c’est sur la petite colline du parc, sous la coupole, où nous avons mené la petite famille de futurs Canadiens pour y glisser, offrant aux petits un rare plaisir et une vignette sur ce que leur réservait la vie dans leur pays d’accueil.

Qualifier cette activité de « nouvelle » cache, je le crains, les intentions inédites de la ville qui, dans son interventionnisme sans borne et sa culture d’aversion au risque, et encore davantage au plaisir, cherchera ensuite nul doute à interdire cette activité comme elle l’a fait à plusieurs autres endroits à Ottawa. (On a bien vu récemment en évidence la philosophie de la ville - « the City that fun forgot » - d’interdire les activités sportives et en plein air des enfants… comme si de réels problèmes ne devraient pas occuper plutôt les fonctionnaires de la ville!)

Le service de « planification » de la ville pousse également son souhait d’éviter les « nouvelles activités » au ridicule en proposant rétablir le lien de la rue Charlotte. Le sondage bidon mis à la disposition des citoyens ne me permet pas d’exprimer adéquatement mon opposition à cette proposition. Sous le prétexte de « rétablir la vision originale » du parc, la ville se propose donc de couper des arbres et d’y substituer un « chemin »? C’est absolument absurde! Pourquoi pas y rapporter les sépultures et ossements humains qui jadis reposaient paisiblement dans le parc?

Si certaines autres propositions du plan peuvent paraître sensées, l’incompétence du service de « planification » (je propose qu’on le renomme plus adéquatement « service de la régression urbaine ») soulève chez moi des craintes profondes qu’un des rares joyaux urbains de notre quartier sera ruiné par les bureaucrates municipaux. On peut dores et déjà prédire l’ajout de sentiers de ciment partout (ça va donc être joli quand la ville rapiècera les craques d’asphalte, comme on l’a vu partout sur les trottoirs du quartier ces dernières années), le déboisement et la coupe à blanc des vénérables arbres du parc.

Je n’ai qu’une recommandation à la ville - laissez mon parc tranquille! Leave my park alone!

Le plan tel qu’il a été conçu est fondé sur de fausses prémisses et la propension de la ville d’intervenir là où aucune intervention n’est requise, tout en ignorant les véritables problèmes du quartier.

Dépensez-donc plutôt mes impôts en travaillant à l’établissement de nouveaux parcs. Ottawa en a grandement besoin, elle qui se déverdit à un rythme alarmant et perd ses arbres et espaces verts au profit du développement sans bornes ni contrôles.

Marc Tremblay about 1 month ago
Page last updated: 17 Jun 2024, 09:22 AM