The Glebe Under Attack
Editor, Glebe Report
Utility reconstruction on Ella and Ralph streets will widen the street and remove portions of front gardens and my neighbours’ ability to park on their lots for houses on the south side of Ella and possibly Ralph. These houses are close to the street, making the already short driveways unusable even for micro-cars.
Widening sidewalks and road-ways will nibble away parking spaces, replace gardens with con-crete and slowly convert the Glebe into a non-place suburb of thorough-fares and planned mediocrity. Herit-age neighbourhoods are under attack by planners and engineers. Provincial standards are given as the excuse for dramatic changes to the streetscape in the Glebe, which is slowly becoming a place with little recognizable character.
Plans for Ella Street will destroy the character of a narrow, working-class, heritage street as well as removing parking, forcing some residents to park on surrounding streets – Newton, Craig, Gordon – congesting a whole section of the Glebe. Elected repre-sentatives are sympathetic but have little incentive to challenge engin-eers when there are bigger windmills to tilt at.
It’s time to call the planners and pol-iticians to account, and even for class actions. Ottawa has no compunc-tion in imposing irrelevant, “traffic calming,” sidewalk protrusions for small side streets! Rather than listen-ing to residents’ concerns, one-size solutions are imposed on average neighbourhoods while elite quarters of the city are conspicuously exempted. There is no respect for the character of working-class neighbourhoods which have preserved the conviviality of an earlier age. And there is no help other than a “beg button” given to pedes-trians who attempt to cross arteries such as Bronson.
It is high time we refused the city’s headlong flight toward unecological and maladapted engineering. Say no to unethical construction and to design professionals who fail to heed the needs of citizens.
Biking is not for everyone
Editor, Glebe Report
Re: “Cyclists Live Longer,” Tom Trottier, Glebe Report, November 2023.
Firstly, defeatism is not my style and I reject this inappropriate and pejorative label.
Secondly, I reiterate that I support bike riding for those who are fit and able bodied enough to do it, at whatever age.
Thirdly, I reiterate that biking is not for everyone, such as the infirm and some of the elderly like me – and for the record, I am a few years ahead of Mr. Trottier.
Many people do not feel safe on the roads or bike paths, especially when they are covered in ice in the winter. It is often hard enough to walk, let alone ride a bike.
There is another overlooked category – those who have always enjoyed bike riding but have had to give it up due to health issues e.g., dizzy spells. This happened to one of my family members, who had a nasty fall from their bike due to this ongoing balance issue.
But hey, regardless of these “defeatist” concerns, maybe all our wimpy qualms should be tossed out of the window. Egged on by Mr. Trottier’s crusading spirit and zealous defense of cycling always and in all conditions, we could throw caution to the winds.
We could all grab a bike, a trike or Swytch kit and get pedalling. We could battle through ice and snow in the winter and maybe tackle a few snowbanks, which often pile up in the bike lanes. Emboldened by this, we could don our brightest outfits and enjoy a ride through heavy traffic on Carling Avenue. We could follow this by picking up our groceries and lugging them home in our saddle bags, wobbling along and dodging more traffic on our merry way!
Courageous certainly, defeatist certainly not!
Lansdowne 2.0: civic rot
How a majority of councillors could support a proposal that fails in so many ways defies belief. From the financial, planning, environmental, heritage, transportation, green space, consultative, governance and community perspectives, Lansdowne 2.0 will be a disaster.
The disheartening, discouraging 16-9 City Council approval of Lansdowne 2.0 is evidence of rot within our city government: rot of the self-serving Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, City staff who were simply OSEG advocates rather than regulators, most councillors and especially Mayor Mark Sutcliffe.
OSEG and the City premised the whole $419 million proposition on the need to put Lansdowne on a sound financial footing, but there was no real attempt to determine why the initial Lansdowne renovation has been a massive financial failure.
It’s hard to believe that new, roofless, north-side stands, a new arena that will be competing with both a new Senators arena and the old one in Kanata and a mere 8,000 additional square feet of commercial space will turn the Titanic-like investment around. The ship is still going to sink – it’s just a matter of how soon and how many casualties there will be.
Why did most of the rural and suburban councillors vote for Lansdowne 2.0 and most of the urban councillors vote against? It’s not clear to me, but there is a fundamental problem when a massive development is approved against the wishes of those most affected by it.
On a positive note, the efforts of Glebe residents such as June Creelman, Carolyn Mackenzie and Neil Saravanamuttoo and the ongoing strenuous efforts of Councillor Shawn Menard were exemplary.
John Dance, Old Ottawa East
Tragedy of the wars in our small neighbourhood
Editor, Glebe Report
A tremendous vote of thanks is owed to Dave O’Malley for his excellent research and map in the November Glebe Report showing how the two World Wars impacted the Glebe. It looked like a carpet bombing, with barely a street untouched, really bringing home how dramatic the tragedy of those wars was on our small neighbourhood.
And this “just” reflected the deaths. Try adding in the numbers who served and returned to the Glebe forever changed by physical or mental scars from the experience.
Lest we forget.
Battle of Ortona remembered
Editor, Glebe Report
This year will be the 80th anniversary of the Second World War battle of Ortona.
I would like to bring your attention to the connection of this event with another interesting one of the Trottier brothers who lived at 36 Newton Street, Eddie and Gerald Trottier.
This important battle for Canadian soldiers took place in December 1943 in Ortona, Italy.
My late father, Gerald Trottier, who lived and painted in the Glebe, with the help of another Ottawa artist, painted the largest Second World War battle mural. It is 48 feet by 8 feet and is located at the Loyal Edmonton Regiment Military Museum in Edmonton. The mural depicts this battle where the artist’s brother, Eddie, fought in a tank.
Gerald listened to his brother’s testimony and others who fought in it.
(Gerald Trottier also sculpted, among others, the bronze Blessed Sacrament crucifix whose double is in the National Gallery.)
Let us not forget!
Editor’s note: For more information on artist Gerald Trottier, see the April 2014 Glebe Report, available at glebereport.ca under “Past Issues.”
Don’t give away our peace and quiet
Editor, Glebe Report
Along with letter writer and neighbour Alan Freeman, I am pleased to see that sound baffles are being installed along the Queensway. Hopefully this will indeed help to reduce the background “hum” of traffic.
I am very concerned, however, that the peace and quiet of our community is being eroded by the buzzing, growling and roaring of cars with mufflers that have been modified to make noise, in contravention of the Ontario 2007 Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Muffler Noise). The noise from Bank Street, Chamberlain, Preston and other streets is particularly noticeable on weekend nights during warmer weather, but the din is becoming ubiquitous. I am awoken every morning by a neighbour starting a pickup truck with an exhaust modified to make an enormous roar that settles into a loud, throaty growl. It’s ridiculous.
During the summer months, it is becoming difficult to sit quietly outside in the evening or read inside with a window open – such is the din of cars modified to make them sound like they are screeching around the Indy 500.
I stopped by the police station on Elgin to ask about this antisocial behaviour and was told by the front desk officer that this was not a police matter but a city issue. She then said to call the police when I notice the problem. She then said the police were powerless to stop it. She warned me not to approach any of the offending motorists because they could be armed. It was an odd, contradictory, dispiriting exchange.
I have contacted our counsellor’s office and was told they are aware of the issue. I contacted the mayor’s office, and they replied by forwarding my email to the police. There has been no follow-up from anyone, and the problem continues to grow.
I don’t know why as a community we have to be subject to this unlawful racket. In Paris, France, they have installed “sound cameras” to capture and ticket offenders. We ought to do the same thing here. Also, police should stop and ticket offenders. They are not hard to find. As a community, we need to take our peaceful, quiet, law-abiding environment more seriously. The right to enjoy a reasonably quiet outdoors is not something we should give away so readily.
John M. Richardson
Error about Glebe history
Editor, Glebe Report
Re: “Neighbourhood of Sacrifice,” by Dave O’Malley, Glebe Report, November 2023.
The otherwise excellent article “Neighbourhood of Sacrifice” by Dave O’Malley in the November 10 issue of the Glebe Report suffers from a serious error about Glebe history. His map of the Glebe labels the entire Dow’s Lake neighbourhood as “area undeveloped before both wars.” This is incorrect. Sunset Boulevard (now Old Sunset Boulevard) and the area south of it, which was known as the Kennedy lands, were developed in the 1920s. Our home on Old Sunset Boulevard, for example, was built in 1921. A few houses on the Kennedy lands were built much earlier than that, including the 1870 Kennedy House on Lakeview Terrace. Homes began to be built in the1930s north of Sunset Boulevard after the removal of the railway and the Fraserfield lumber yards.
It’s a pity Mr. O’Malley didn’t consult John Leaning’s excellent book The Story of the Glebe when he was researching his article.
Old Sunset Boulevard