City of Ottawa & Lansdowne Park Background

Ottawa Canal

The City of Ottawa (French: Ville d’Ottawa) is the corporate entity of municipal government in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The corporation is responsible for provision of services to the public as well as enforcement of municipal by-laws. It is overseen by the City Manager, and responsible to the Mayor of Ottawa (Jim Watson) and City Council.

The Rideau Canal is Ontario’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site and though built for a military purpose, has only been used for trade and recreation. In winter, 7.8km (4.8 miles) of its length through downtown Ottawa freezes and becomes the world’s largest naturally frozen outdoor skating rink.

After the Rideau Canal construction, forestry became a major employer, and the small settlement known as Bytown was a lumber town. In 1855, Bytown incorporated as the city of Ottawa and just two years later, it was chosen as the capital of Canada, in part because of its English and French heritage and its relative distance from the USA border.

Since the 1850s, Ottawa has evolved as a G8 capital, offering impressive cultural amenities expected by the diplomatic crowd, while maintaining the friendliness and ease of access of a much smaller centre. You’ll still hear English and French spoken on the streets and you’ll also find a thriving high technology and entrepreneurial community that is bolstered by two major universities and three community colleges.

As the capital, Ottawa is home to institutions like Parliament Hill (the meeting place for elected representatives), the Supreme Court of Canada, Rideau Hall (the home of the Governor General), the Royal Canadian Mint and the major national museums, which have evolved to offer a more hands-on and immersive experience than ever before. They all offer impressive family-oriented programming as well, meaning children interact with the exhibits in unique ways – such as creating artworks at the National Gallery of Canada, naming the newborn animals each spring at the Canada Agriculture Museum, or examining the “creepy critters” like beetles and snakes at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

For adults, there are immersive experiences as well. Imagine taking an open-cockpit biplane ride at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum or walking through a recreated World War I trench at the Canadian War Museum. You can stroll through 1000 years of Canadian history – starting from the Vikings’ arrival on the east coast in 1000AD – in the Canada Hall at the Canadian Museum of Civilization or explore the science behind everyday life at the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

The year-round ByWard Market is a particular hotspot – not just the name of one of Canada’s oldest and largest farmers’ markets but also the name of the surrounding neighbourhood. You’ll find 120 places to eat and drink within a four-block radius – a foodies’ paradise.

The festival scene is also of note, with music festivals like the RBC Royal Bank Ottawa Bluesfest attracting hundreds of thousands for fun in the summer sun each July. The TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival leads into the biggest and best Canada Day (1 July) party in the country. The Ottawa Chamberfest fills downtown churches and concert halls with beautiful chamber music while the Ottawa Folk Festival allows everyone an end-of-summer breather. The Writers Festival, Animation Festival, Winterlude (winter activities), Canadian Tulip Festival and dozens more animate almost every weekend throughout the year.

Parliament of Canada 
Canadian Museum of Civilization
National Gallery of Canada 
ByWard Market neighbourhood
National Arts Centre 

old lansdowne park

Lansdowne Park
Lansdowne Park is a 40-acreb historic sports, exhibition and entertainment facility in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, owned by the City of Ottawa. It is located along Bank Street and is adjacent to the Rideau Canal, in central Ottawa. Lansdowne Park contains Frank Clair Stadium, the Ottawa Civic Centre arena (the stadium is built into the arena), the Aberdeen Pavilion hall, Coliseum and other exhibition buildings. Until 2010, the Park was the site of the annual Central Canada Exhibition (Ottawa SuperEX).

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In 1847, the then Bytown was deeded 24.5 acres (9.9 ha) acres by the Dominion government, and acquired another 15 acres (6.1 ha) bought from owners over several years, to make up the initial grounds of Lansdowne Park. Two notable exhibitions occurred prior to the first Central Canada Exhibition. In 1875 the City of Ottawa hosted the thirtieth annual Exhibition of the Provincial Agricultural and Arts Association. In 1877 an exhibition included the first public demonstration of the telephone in Canada.

A third provincial exhibition was held at Lansdowne in 1879. In order to provide sufficient space for subsequent fairs, the City acquired more of Lansdowne in 1883 for $25,000, as well as the buildings that were already there. The Central Canada Exhibition Association was formed in 1888 and the site witnessed many improvements, including the erection of a new Horticultural Hall and Grandstand. The first Central Canada Exhibition opened on September 20, 1888 and was held annually until 2010.

The Aberdeen Pavilion has also figured prominently in military matters: troops of Lord Strathcona’s Horse were encamped there during the Boer War; the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry mustered there before being sent to France in the First World War; and during World War II it served as an induction centre for thousands of Canadian troops heading overseas and was the home to The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards).

The City of Ottawa periodically reviews the use and state of the facility. Lansdowne was developed as a municipal fairgrounds, and somewhat rural in nature. Over time, permanent buildings were built on the site, and a majority of the site was paved, both for parking and for exhibition use. As the result of a review in the 1990s, the City demolished some of the buildings, and restored some parkland. The City restored Aberdeen Pavilion at the time, using funds planned for a Central Canada Ex move, in exchange for allowing the Ex to continue to use the site.

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Disclaimer: has No Affiliation with the City of Ottawa or the OSEG. We are a local blog providing news & sports updates on Lansdowne Park.