Thursday, October 25, 2007

Why Ottawa is so beige.

So, instead of doing my own research, the Ottawa Citizen did it for me. And horror of horrors... They did it pretty well!!! Ken Gray goes through the reasons why Ottawa is the way it is today. And he takes some pretty hard shots at the city. A rare moment when I am impressed by the Citizen. Thanks, Mr. Gray!


Jan Triska said...

Yes, it's a well-written article.
I read it the other day.
Certainly, Greber's heritage is mixed, at best, and like all urban development and planning of the 50s and 60s, it has saddled us with hard-to reach suburbs, car oriented patterns of growth and -worst of all -a bizzare, patchy, not-quite connected public transit web, one that is not really a web, not really a system...

I am convinced that the low-density model is on a decline all over Canada's cities. Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and even Toronto are adding density in the inner cores and many young people are simply not even looking to buy property in the 'burbs' it is expensive, too far, socially isolating and it places huge strain on one's car - if you have a car. And, to add more complication, car ownership is not cheap anymore, nor is gas, insurance and all of that.
We can not live a 2000s lifestyle using financial and consumption patters of the 1970s. It does not make sense.

joncormier said...

I think this is a neat examination as to why the city is a suburban wasteland, but honestly, which city isn't these days?

I think a stronger reason Ottawa is so beige comes from a story I heard from a mother of 3 while in the pool at Chateau Montebello. She was having a bite to eat in the Corner Bar and Grill in the Glebe (great brunch by the way), just her and her 3 kids. She has a girl under a year old who is at the point of discovering her own voice so she kind of squeals every now and then - very cute kid thing to do right?

Well the only other people in the place turn to her and ask her to shut her kid up then they call her a suburban breeder.

I don't know what is more offensive, the comment itself, the fact that they think The Glebe is the suburbs (obviously they haven't heard of Kanata or Orleans), or that someone has the foolish notion that having dinner at a bar and grill in The Glebe makes them an urbanite (or possibly erudite?).

Who says that outside of network television? To quote Jack Nicholson, "This town needs an enema."

Jan Triska said...

Well, Jon, great story...but the story is so weird and unique that it doesn't help me with capturing the sense of anything, not even a sense of beige-ness in Ottawa.

I think the beige-ness comes largely from the fact there are so many mousy, office-type white collar workers and not enough of an actual working class. Also, many people have moved here for work reasons initially, are not quite amongst their own, among the home-crowd, and are thus timid and relunctant to offend anyone.

joncormier said...

Who acts like that but sad sad people who think they're entirely too important? Who goes to the Glebe to get away from families? What the heck were they thinking? Who let's a kid under a year old ruin their night? The people in The Glebe who try too hard to be hip are part of the problem - who needs a $1000 stroller, but who needs to care enough to insult someone with a $1000 stroller. Whatever floats your boat.