Neighbours celebrate completion of Main St. 'complete street' renewal project

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Paula McCooey, Ottawa Citizen

There had been bumps along the way, but the mood was upbeat on Saturday as Main Street in Old Ottawa East officially reopened with a good, old-fashioned block party on Saturday.

The two-year, $39-million Main Street renewal project is complete after months upon months of re-routed traffic and area businesses adjusting to ongoing construction.

Residents came out to enjoy the festivities, which included live music, bouncy castles, an open market and food stands between Clegg and Hazel streets.

The changes include widened sidewalks with newly planted trees, a landscaped plaza with public art installations and benches, and new bikes lanes, which are all part of the city’s “complete streets” plan to be shared by “many user types.”

“Over decades, the emphasis has been on motorized vehicle travel to the detriment of all of the other users,” said Capital ward Coun. David Chernushenko, who cut the ribbon alongside community partners. “Complete streets simply rebalances so we now have a street that works for all of the users as best as we can in equal share, and that means for the community the reacquisition of a lot of space.”

During the event, Safer Roads Ottawa put on a bike rodeo for kids and offered tours of the new cycle tracks and bike boxes.

The project, which required that the street be reduced from four to two lanes, received a mixed response. 

Mayor Jim Watson and friends cut the ribbon to officially open the redone Main Street. Paula MaCooey, Postmedia

Area resident Mary O’Donnell likes what she sees. “I like the renewal because before it was just a street for people to rush through, 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night, and now you have the street for 24 hours a day.”

O’Donnell’s friend has a different view.

“I find it very dangerous and there isn’t enough room to park, even in the little parking alcoves,” said Toni Forsythe. “And in the winter it was very dangerous. Nobody made any allowance, it seems to me, for the snow banks. But I enjoy the wide paths.”

Along with the improvements will come more residents with the new Domicle condo development The Corners on Main and EQ Homes’ Greystone Village soon to be built next to Saint Paul University. Also, the newly planned pedestrian and cycling bridge between Fifth Avenue and Clegg will mean increased traffic flow in the Glebe and Old Ottawa East.

Mika Weaver, who has owned Singing Pebble Books since 1995, said she has already noticed more interest in the neighbourhood since the street reopened in the spring. She said that, with new condo plans, some are now comparing Old Ottawa East to Westboro.

“People are (saying), ‘How does it feel to be in a cool neighbourhood now?’ that kind of thing,” said Weaver. “In terms of the business, we find more people are coming in that have never been in the store before, and more people coming in who are just interested in the neighbourhood.”

Steampunk travellers promenade along the redone Main Street. Paula MaCooey, Postmedia

Mika Weaver, owner of Singing Pebble Books, said the Main Street renewal project has increased interest in the neighbourhood.

Main Event & Main Street Re-Opening Celebration lineup

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Saturday, June 17, 10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Main Street from Hazel to Clegg

The Main Event is moving back onto Main Street for a combined Main Event & Main Street Re-Opening Celebration. Main Street will be closed from Clegg to Hazel for Old Ottawa East's biggest & best ever block party — you do not want to miss this one!!

Event is rain or shine but may be scaled back in the event of poor weather. To find out if weather changes are in effect, go to after 8 a.m. on the day of the event.

On stage

10:00 a.m. Stan Clark Orchestra

11:00 a.m. Official Re-Opening of Main Street with speeches from our elected officials, ribbon cutting and CAKE!

11:15 a.m. Stan Clark Orchestra

1:00 p.m. Ralph Mercredi Quintet


  • FREE wagon rides  from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  • Kids can give a bird a home with FREE birdhouse painting at the eQ Homes tent.
  • Bouncy Castle & Obstacle Course
  • FREE Balloons from our friendly Balloon Twisting Clown from 11:00 a.m - 1:00 p.m.
  • Drop by the BMO tent for FREE face painting and prizes!
  • Sula Wok & Merry Dairy Food Trucks
  • Rainbow Kidschool will be on hand with fun kids activities and cool give-aways
  • Lets Talk Science and the Science Lady from 10:00 a.m. - noon
  • The Community Association "Political" BBQ
  • Sandy Hill Community Health Centre
  • Saint Paul University
  • Police and Fire Service vehicles around 1:00 p.m.
  • City of Ottawa Public Art Program with Main2 artist Stuart Kinmond
  • Pedestrian walking tours with EnviroCentre
  • Bike Rodeo
  • Safer Roads Ottawa & Ottawa Public Health
  • Biking loops up the cycle tracks facilitated by CanBike or Ottawa Paramedics’ bike team.

Get ready to celebrate at the Main Event

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City of Ottawa

Residents are invited to celebrate the official completion of the Main Street Renewal Project on Saturday, June 17, on Main Street between Clegg and Hazel streets.

The Main Event is a community celebration, hosted by the Community Activities Group of Old Ottawa East and Councillor David Chernushenko, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attractions will include BBQ, a big band, food trucks, a bouncy castle, hay rides, the Safer Roads Ottawa Bike Rodeo, the Main Farmers’ Market and more! Main Street will be closed to vehicle traffic for the duration of the event, and local detours will be in place.

Mayor Jim Watson will mark the official completion of the project at 11 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the corner of Main Street and Hazel Street, in front of the new public artwork by Stuart Kinmond, entitled Main2.

Construction for the Main Street Renewal Project began in May of 2015. The project involved a renewal of the street’s infrastructure following “complete street” principles, linking the street together as a unified corridor while creating memorable places along it and supporting the character of its communities. Main Street’s residents, businesses, visitors and commuters will benefit from this renewal in many ways, including:

  • Reduced and calmed car traffic
  • Safer and wider sidewalks for pedestrians
  • Safe cycle track for cyclists
  • An improved streetscape (new lighting, furniture, trees and plantings, public art, parking solutions, signage, and surface treatments)

Street fight: Rideau River Drive residents 'incensed' over name change

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'We should have been given an opportunity to be consulted,' says longtime resident

By Jennifer Chevalier, CBC News

Homeowners on Rideau River Drive are fighting a street name change imposed by the City of Ottawa, saying their street is older, longer and more historically significant than a competing nearby private laneway.

Residents were sent a letter by the city June 9 telling them their street name was changing because it was too similar to Rideau River Lane.

Since the amalgamation of the City of Ottawa in 2001, 80 streets have been forced to change names to avoid confusion in the event of an emergency.

"Quite frankly I'm incensed," said Rideau River Drive resident Doretha Murphy. "It goes along the river ... it's appropriately called Rideau River Drive."

"Rideau River Drive existed a long time before Rideau River Lane," said Subodh Anand, who has lived on the street for 48 years. "That should be an important consideration."

Slightly more addresses on laneway

According to the city's own rules, once a decision is made that there could be confusion when police or an ambulance is called to streets with a similar sounding names, a set of criteria is followed to determine which street will get the short straw.

Typically the street with more residents gets to keep its name.

CBC News counted 23 townhouses on Rideau River Lane, which the city said make up 34 separate addresses.

Rideau River Drive comes up short with 20 homes, which the city counts as 25 separate addresses.

But there are other factors considered, including how long the street has existed, if it is a major road, its historical significance and if the street has an identifiable landmark.

The city said Rideau River Drive was renamed from Main Street in 1968, but has no record for when the private laneway was given its name.

While Rideau River Drive residents are organizing to fight the change, several residents on the Rideau River Lane CBC spoke to didn't want to talk about the street name.