1915: When Ottawa almost came close to dreaming big

1915: When Ottawa almost came close to dreaming big

You may think you know everything (or is that just me) and there, out of the blue, you realize nope, you're just arrogant in your crass ignorance. When the National Capital Commission tweeted about the Holt-Bennett Plan of 1915 that would have made Ottawa something prettier than it currently is (a somewhat lowish bar, that), I knew I had some reading to do.

It's a big, comprehensive plan to beautify Ottawa-Hull and grow the region in a manner that's human-friendly and that we totally ignored for well over a hundred years.

And when I say "big, comprehensive," I mean it took me forever to read it. If you have time, it's worth it. If you don't, you can read my column-length summary.

It was written by the same guy who was behind the plan that made Chicago what it is which, if you exclude paving and widening Lake Shore Drive (LSD to friend and foe alike) which happened later anyway, is pretty freaking amazing. The Holt-Bennett Plan aimed to make Ottawa some kind of Washington of the North although the American capital was designed by an American-French military engineer who also designed the equally cool streets of Detroit, not that Ottawa needs to be the Anything of Anything Else, it could just be.

Mais bon.

While we continue to dither in spectacular fashion trying to avoid having to decide on a way to think about maybe collaboratively do something with Wellington Street, it's just an ugly and smelly car sewer. I leave you with yet another beautiful image from the 1915 plan to remind you that we do not have to settle for whatever sprawly mediocrity some of our current mayors seem content with.