Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sketching Ottawa's "Streetside Spots"

On July 6, 2016 Ottawa urban sketchers met at the Percy Station parklet. Please take the time to read Project Percy Station: Filling a void in our community (by Raunaq Singh) to see why these spaces are so important to community.
Sketches of Percy Station by Colin White

Sketch of Percy Station by Trish Woolaver

On July 20th, Ottawa urban sketchers met at the Beechwood parklet that is called "The Water Garden".

 This parklet was designed by Carleton University students.
"When Carleton Architecture Prof. Johan Voordouw learned about the city’s plan to repurpose on-street parking spots into outdoor patios, parklets and vending stalls, he called up city councillors to see how he could get his students involved."
The "Water Garden" parklet at 43 Beechwood, Vanier was designed by fourth-year architecture students Tori Hamatani, Trevor Whitten, Mitchell Gray and Simon Petepiece (below).

Carleton University students with their design (Photo source: CBC)
Quoted from the CBC: 
The guidelines for the mini parks, called "parklets," were that they needed to be able to fit in a parking space, include live plants and be open to the public.

Because of the requirement to have live plants, these students had the roof inverted so that it could collect rainwater that will be stored in a cistern and used to water the plants!!

Sketchbook page by Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

(P.S. The park cost $15,000 to build and will cost $5,000 for maintenance as the park will be torn down each fall and reconstructed each spring)

The "Water Garden" parklet gets beautiful light in the evening!
Sketch by Kristina Corres on twitter

A City of Ottawa Pilot Project 

The City of Ottawa calls this pilot project the "Streetside Spots Pilot Project". The idea originated in San Francisco in 2010.

The value of streetside spots is best stated by Jamie Kwong (Quartier Vanier BIA):

Source: Jamie Kwong's twitter

Eleven locations applied to take part in this pilot program, which runs from April to October.

Four Parklets – public spaces that will contain everything from seating and greenery to games tables and music:

  • The Water Garden at 49 Beechwood – A meeting point, a community gathering space or simply a shelter from the elements, The Water Garden will feature a central column and a canopy designed to channel rainwater to pots of plants, herbs and flowers. The Quartier Vanier Business Improvement Area submitted this design by students from the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism at Carleton University.
  • Percy Station at 605 Somerset Street West – Percy Station will offer rotating programming that includes a coffee house, micro shows, live music, poetry readings and theatre sessions. The design features a seating area that can be configured in a variety of ways. Strip lighting will help animate the structure’s form and illuminate it at night for safety.
  • The Nük on the north side of Second Avenue, east of Bank Street – Nük will feature a seating area and games table, creating a space for people to stay connected through community events. The design features a built-in table and an L-shaped bench that faces Bank Street. It will incorporate vegetation and soft ambient lighting. The Glebe Community Association submitted this design by students from the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism at Carleton University.
  • A parklet on the south side of Third Avenue, west of Bank Street – The neighbourhood, and in particular local merchants and restaurants, will welcome the added seating and greenery this space will offer for relaxing and socializing. Visitors will feel connected to the vibrancy of Bank Street, where narrower sidewalks make it impossible to accommodate patios. The Glebe Community Association submitted this project by a designer who is a resident in the community.
Seven patios – private spaces reserved for patrons of cafés or restaurants that do not have an existing patio:
  • The WORKS at 326 Richmond Road
  • The Ministry of Coffee at 1013 Wellington Street West
  • Corner Bar and Grill at 344 Richmond Road
  • Blue Cactus Bar and Grill at 2 Byward Street
  • The Cupcake Lounge at 6 Byward Street
  • Asian Alley at 8 Byward Street
  • Zak’s Diner at 14-16 Byward Street

Do You Like the Idea of Streetside Spots?

Tell the City of Ottawa what you think!

Complete this short questionnaire by August 20, 2016 for your input to be included in the evaluation.
For more information or comments, send a message to


  1. We've got a couple similar 'repurposed parking' areas in Limoilu (part of Quebec City) and while they do have a few plants, the centerpiece of each is a public piano. Ours don't have a roof, however, which would be a great addition and make it easier to protect the pianos from the elements. Kudos to those organizing these projects in Ottawa.

    1. Thanks Larry for posting about the repurposed parking in Limoilu. Centrepiece pianos would be wonderful in these spots!!! What a great idea

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