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Underground City in Ottawa

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With the arrival of the Confederation Line, new connections between buildings have been built in Ottawa's downtown core.

At Parliament, the station is connected to the Sunlife Financial Centre and to the Heritage Place (and WINNERS).

At Lyon, the station is connected to the vast underground concourse of Place de Ville (which includes the Delta and Marriott hotels).

At Rideau, the station is connected to the Rideau Centre, and through it all the additional buildings and venues attached.

St-Laurent Station is connected (as before) to the St. Laurent Shopping Centre.

This is a good start and allows people the opportunity to go for example from their space in Place de Ville to the Rideau Centre without having to step foot outside. Much more can be done and should be done however, this is a start but more buildings need to connect into this new underground network or city.

If we look at Montreal's RESO, it is arguably the biggest underground network in the world, with alot of the downtown business district connected. I have walked many times the RESO, starting at Peel station, passing through various builidings to arrive at the Eaton Centre. Continuing on past Place Ville Marie to the Gare Central and then Place Bonaventure. Heading off to Square Victoria, then to the Palais de Congress and Station Place d'Armes. Moving on through the Desjardins and Hyatt centres, to finally arrive at Place des Arts station and arts venue. When walking this entire circuit, most is underground but there are parts that it returns to street level and a few occasions that it is a floor or two above street level to once again descend below. In most cases this walk can take 30-45 minutes depending on how fast you go and which intersections and branches of the network you take. You pass through or go near 6 metro stations as well, that help anchor this RESO network.

Ottawa has connections forming, and we need to help encourage this growth to have something similar. As it is, the downtown is already built up with underground parking and buildings that will remain for a while to come. Connecting many of them to this new network would be expensive and a challenge from a physical and layout standpoint. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.

To start, I would love to see the World Exchange Plaza connect to Parliament Station.

A connection to Lyon station through Place de Ville, to Constitution Square and to the Minto Place beyond would also be great.

Keep in mind, as in Montreal, buildings can network and connect to one another to create a pedestrian right of way, they don't need to connect directly to the station, as doing so would be more difficult to realize and wouldn't make much sense.

What are your thoughts? What do you hope to see develop? Have you heard any news of new connections, building refits to connect or new developments that will integrate? Let us know below.

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  • 3 months later...
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  • 10 months later...
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Small update, or lack thereof.

Was at Place de Ville recently and other than the lobby being redone with that appear to be white marble tiles or panels by the tower elevator lobby, the underground concourse is as drab and shabby as always. Ceiling tiles missing and exposed wiring and lights hanging out for dear life.

Little shocked nothing has been done to complete whatever work they had started. Even the Podium Building parking ramp ceiling is still half missing or contains broken slats.

Disappointing, but not surprised. When the place is dominated with pepto-bismol pink and 1980s operating room green, any improvement is quickly picked up on and noticed.

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  • 5 weeks later...
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Place de Ville underground concourse renos. Finally! Looking from the Marriott entrance towards the Podium elevators. But quite disappointed. Very white and sterile. Hopefully it's improved with furniture,  retailers, people. Murals would be great. 

No accessibility improvements so far. 


Edited by J.OT13
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  • 6 months later...
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While I would love to see more underground / covered connections between the buildings downtown, it does feel like it is unlikely to see it happen given how difficult it is to find retail tenants to occupy already existing spots. It remains uncertain that all offices downtown will ever see as much occupancy as they formerly did, so the business case becomes less interesting as time goes by.

A shame really.

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I agree. I would love in any case to see Place de Ville finish its decade long renovations, and for there to be a underground concourse connection to Constitution Square and Minto Place. Same for Parliament Station linking in to the World Exchange Plaza (unlikely as the WEP is already under heavy renovation and the parking garage layout underneath).

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