A new hockey arena
Ryan Mockett Fulcrum Contributor
Photo: CC, Meier
Being a 15 minute bus ride from the city centre, LeBreton Flats is prime real estate for the construction of a new stadium like the current Canadian Tire Centre or TD Place.
TD Place has been incredibly successful and has had a great impact on the area around it by acting as a centerpiece for all of the commercial development that has opened up around the stadium.
With a little planning LeBreton Flats could have a similar effect on downtown, especially with its location on the planned LRT Confederation Line.
Some may worry about the potential parking issues or traffic jams, which is valid. However, since the LRT is running right through LeBreton Flats anyway, the venue could offer the incentive of a free OC Transpo or LRT ride with proof of a ticket for an event, similar to the deal offered by TD Place.
While the Canadian Tire Centre is an excellent closed-roof venue with over 19,000 seats, it’s really far out of the way for just about everyone who isn’t in Kanata.
People interested in seeing a game are forced to either bus or drive for at least 40 minutes.
If LeBreton Flats was developed into a closed roof stadium, then hockey games and other events held there would be made more accessible for people living in the city, potentially increasing turnout and therefore profits. A LeBreton Flats stadium would act primarily as a NHL-sized hockey arena, providing more seats than TD Place is able to, but also serving as another possible venue for larger-scale artists looking to perform closer to downtown.
We simply don’t want the last undeveloped urban piece of land to go to a housing development because, while it would be prime real estate for buyers, it would be a shame to miss out on an incredible opportunity to add one more gem to Ottawa’s crown. This opportunity would dust off a jewel hidden in Kanata and bring it firmly into downtown in a way that shows the team off more as well as making it more accessible.
An aquarium or biodome
David Campion-Smith Opinions Editor
Photo: CC, Zac-Wolf
Many of the proposals for what should happen to LeBreton flats involve making a new or better version of something the city already has, whether it’s shopping space or a new sports arena. All of these views miss the fact that this is an opportunity to add something the city doesn’t already have—some sort of living, indoor nature exhibit such as an aquarium or a biodome.
Currently Ottawa has the Museum of Nature and the Experimental Farm, but this could be an indoor exhibition space that functions similarly to the Ripley’s Aquarium in downtown Toronto. This new construction could provide a space for people—but children in particular—to learn about animals in an up-close, simulated habitat.
A nature exhibit of this sort would also attract people who aren’t already interested in Ottawa, since we don’t currently have an attraction like this. An establishment of this scope could help pull more families into the downtown area, which would be good for many of the businesses there.
We shouldn’t waste the opportunity to create something new and innovative at LeBreton when we already have a hockey arena—let’s instead focus on improving access to our current one. Suggestions for a shopping area to be constructed only undermines the extensive work done on the Rideau Centre.
Instead of building a better version of something Ottawa already has, let’s use this opportunity to build something that will help put Ottawa on the map.
The Devcore proposal
Nicholas Robinson Fulcrum Contributor
Photo: CC, Bob-Owen
It’s true that Ottawa doesn’t have the long imperial history of Paris or London—but that doesn’t mean we need to wait to build a great city. LeBreton Flats has been sitting empty for years and of the two proposals submitted to the National Capital Commission, the Devcore LeBreton Reimagined is by far the best.
The proposal involves the construction of museums, entertainment centres, a public library, an aquarium, a beach and more. I admit that I wouldn’t find the proposed automotive museum that interesting—how about a new science museum instead? A science museum is especially needed since the old one was shut down two years ago after the discovery of mould on its premises.
In fact, the proposal’s only big flaw is that it doesn’t go far enough. We need this type of disruptive, fresh vision for Sparks and Rideau Streets, and the Byward Market. It’s time to free Ottawa from its self-imposed shackles.
The Devcore proposal is a chance to build the Ottawa we want based on our progressive, multicultural values , and to completely revitalize an area of downtown that has stood empty for far too long.