Tag: LeBreton Flats

Green Buildings and LEED Certification in Ottawa

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

There is no doubt that buildings are responsible for a vast amount of carbon dioxide emissions and energy use within our community and on a global scale. With an increased rate of builds that doesn’t seem to be declining anytime soon, there is a societal demand to create a more sustainable solution. LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design offers new builds, existing builds and homeowners to take part in their green build initiative.  A demand for more sustainable living and working conditions, LEED certification presents its clients with a solution that is both energy efficient and cost-effective.

LEED certification is a third party, globally recognized rating system that is recognized as a mark of excellence and sustainability accomplishment for green builds. LEED certification has become a standard of measurements for green builds in 160+ countries and is raising awareness, fostering creative solutions to sustainable living and offering a more healthful and environmental conscious resolution to the building industry.

Working on a point scale, LEED offers four levels of certification to its clients; certified, silver, gold and platinum. With four levels of certification, LEED is adaptable and accommodating to a wide range of buildings and projects, making it available to any fit and project goal.

Points are allotted to each project based on five major categories that have environmental impacts and human benefits. The five categories include; sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. The goal of the ranking system is to inspire and help as many builds as possible strive for a high level of achievement in each of these categories.

Why LEED? LEED certification and green builds not only benefit the buildings occupants and/or homeowners but the community at large. Green builds facilitate a healthier environment from the inside out, producing better air quality, more natural light, reduction of waste, decreased water consumption and energy conservation. Green builds create a more healthful environment, boost production and leave a green legacy, all a driving factor of LEED certification. As an industry that can do more harm than good, it is time for homeowners and project builds to become more consciously and environmentally aware and it is LEED’s aim to do just that.

The History of LEED

The goal from the start was to educate builders and to help them establish responsible construction practices. Robert Watson set out to change the building market in 1993 with the hopes of defining green building.  LEED’s environmental movement continued to raise awareness and competition for the construction of environmentally and sustainable friendly buildings. Over the years LEED’s standard has grown into a complete and comprehensive classification system that covers a large portion of the development and construction process.

Since 2015 LEED builds in Canada alone has led to energy savings of 12.9 million eMWh, which is enough energy to power 435,000 homes in Canada for an entire year and water savings totalling 24+ billion litres. LEED builds have also contributed to recycling over 2.97 million tonnes of construction waste and a reduction of 2.49 million CO2e in greenhouse gas emissions. These astounding results only continue as more and more businesses, project leads, and homeowners turn to this green solution.

LEED certification continues to incorporate and adapt as new green technologies come onto the market, which is part of what makes it such a comprehensive and globally sought-after initiative.

Why is LEED Certification relevant today?

LEED certification is more relevant and needed today than ever. We are living in a society and a time where build after build, project after project is going up and our environment and health continue to be impacted because of it.

There are countless reasons why buildings should seriously consider being a green build and doing their part in helping to create a sustainable earth. LEED is an innovative answer to this societal push for eco-friendly living, human well-being and sustainability. LEED offers its clients practical ways to achieve sustainable eco-conscious living, save money and promote public health and a more supported and sustainable environment.

This internationally recognized ranking system proves its relevancy because it is not just a system that is designed for one type of build over another, it offers options to projects of any kind; from large government buildings to hospitals to new builds – there is something for every project of every size. There is even an option for single, low-rise or mid-rise family homes to take part and get involved.

Not only is this a world-class ranking system for inspiring and fostering solutions for single structures, but it also applies to whole neighbourhood development projects (containing residential use, non-residential use or a mix) from inception to build, including neighbourhood redevelopment. From a neighbourhood to an entire city, LEED is for the community. Working with the entire city or neighbourhoods within the city, LEED can measure and manage the city’s energy use, water use, waste, transportation and total human experience and offer improvements.

Why do we need an organizational environmental measuring system, such as LEED more than ever before? According to the City of Ottawa, almost 50% of greenhouse gas emissions come from heating, cooling, lighting and operating buildings? By a new or existing building becoming LEED certified by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) occupants have better air quality reducing allergens, financial savings and increased resale value. Certified LEED builds can also qualify for local utility rebates and homeowner reductions through various insurance groups and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).  Most importantly, projects who get involved are doing their part to achieve a more sustainable environment and improving the lives and well-being of the occupants of the building.

With regular evaluations and modifications to adapt to advancing and evolving technology, LEED is and will continue to be compatible and well suited for everyone and every project. The continuous assessment of the existing rating system and application of new science and technology will not only continue to make LEED relevant in this industry it will continue to be at the forefront of green builds.

Who is LEED certified in Ottawa? 

With the benefits far too great to ignore, several builds in Ottawa have jumped on board and have been recognized by LEED for their level of excellence in their contribution to the advancement and betterment of sustainable living and working conditions.

Lebreton Flats LEED

LEED Certified Silver

The following developments have ranked Silver on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ranking system, meaning they have earned 50-59 points in the following five categories; sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.

Hideaway LEED

LEED Certified Gold

The following developments have ranked Gold on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ranking system, meaning they have earned 60-79 points in the following five categories; sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.

  • Central Phase 1 – Received LEED Gold certification July 9th, 2014
  • Central Phase 2 – Received LEED Gold certification December 14th, 2016
  • The Rideau – Received LEED Gold certification January 18th, 2018
  • The Vibe – Received LEED Gold certification January 18th, 2018

Prominent LEED Buildings in Ottawa

There are several prominent and outstanding LEED-certified condos in Ottawa that have been recognized for their commitment and efforts, in the above mentioned five categories, to improve the quality of life and wellbeing for their residences.

One3One Holland was certified a Silver LEED building on December 10th, 2015. One3One Holland is distinguished for its efforts and contributions to create a sustainable, environmentally friendly and more health conscious atmosphere for their residences. A one bedroom at One3One averages $441/sqft and a two-bedroom averages $448 sqft.

Central Phase 2 also a highly distinguished certified LEED condo in Ottawa, as of December 14th, 2016 sits at a prestigious Gold level certified showing its dedication to its residences. A bachelor at Central Phase 2 averages $475/sqft and a one-bedroom averages $474/sqft.

Another prominent condo in Ottawa, that has been noted for its great efforts and green build achievements, The Rideau was certified LEED Gold, January 18th, 2018. The Rideau offers one bedroom averaging $565/sqft, two bedrooms $660/sqft and Penthouse suites averaging at $811/sqft.

The Vibe in Ottawa is also to be noted for its mark of excellence on achieving LEED Gold certification on January 18th, 2018, offering its residences a higher quality of wellbeing and eco-conscious solutions. One bedroom units at The Vibe average at $547/sqft and two bedrooms for $600/sqft.

Since the first certified LEED building in Ottawa, The Currents, which became officially certified on January 18th, 2011 many other projects and developments have followed suit and have seen the tremendous benefits of taking part in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and getting certified themselves.

LEED Platinum the Currents

What is the future of LEED Certification?

As more and more people become consciously aware of the building industry’s impact on the environment and people’s health and wellbeing, there is only going to be a bigger demand. LEED and its ranking system have inspired so many and will only continue to inspire more green builds and spread awareness throughout Ottawa and the world.

The latest model, LEED v4 is the future of LEED certification and has upped the expectations on all levels of a build; right from project inception to project completion. Running now off a more performance-based approach, LEED v4 offers knowledge to its customers and then offers practical solutions on how to apply the newly learned knowledge. This knowledge is then measured in the form of practical tasks complete, which offers more goal focused points based on each unique project.

LEED v4 is showing major improvements on:

Flexibility – now offering more flexibility with different tactics to offer each unique build and project to allow each development to find the best fit.

Smart Grid Approach – LEED v4 is bringing a smart grid style to its customers and is recognizing and rewarding the projects that contribute to and engage in demand response programs.

Materials & Resources – Now emphasizing materials and resources used on a project and beyond the total amount used, creating a more whole and comprehensive look at the structural impact.

Water – Offering a more complete strategy to utilize water efficiency by assessing the entire buildings water usage.

Better customer service – now offering a more effective and efficient certification system process, easing customer use.

Since the inauguration of LEED certification, there has been a remarkable amount of growth and improvement shown to cater to the rapidly evolving social climate that is demanding solutions for providing a better quality of life and a more sustainable way to live. Not only does LEED continue to find and adapt efficiently to these needs and demands but does so in a cost-effective way.

LEED, Leading the Way

The demand for a more sustainable, energy-efficient, cost-effective and healthier way to live is only going to escalate as society continues to expand and more people become aware of the environmental and human impact that takes place with expansion.

LEED certification is at the forefront of this huge societal push and is acting as a paradigm to initiate, inspire and drive the industry to do better, be better and offer better. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is trailblazing the way to establish an industry that sets standards and places a high value on more conscious buildings, living and working environments.

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A major announcement on the new Lebreton Flats Development

A major announcement on the new Lebreton Flats Development is expected according to sources involved in the talks between the RendezVous LeBreton Group and the NCC, a tentative land deal has been reached over the future development of Lebreton Flats – ottawacitizen.com. The Lebreton Flats Development, which is planned to have over 4,000 housing units, a major public square, and a landmark new hockey arena, has an estimated price tag of over $3 billion and will without a doubt have a huge impact on the City of Ottawa.

Some may question the significance of this project and whether it’s the best use for this highly coveted piece of Ottawa real estate, as well as whether taxpayer dollars should be spent on the infrastructure to support its build out. I stand to argue that this project is one of, if not the most important development projects needed for the City of Ottawa in recent years.

Let’s think BIG PICTURE. What is it about a centrally located arena that adds value to a community? – The Economic Case for a Downtown Event Centre. For starters, having an event centre that is located in an area that is equally accessible to those in both the West AND East ends of Ottawa improves the quality of entertainment and ensures a strong fan base for attendance at the games. Yes, this is a money-making entertainment business and in order to deliver a high-quality entertainment product, a revenue stream from a strong fan base must exist. Locating the hockey arena on Lebreton Flats Development will create equal accessibility for Ottawa area residence and along with the restaurants, shops, and more expected to be built alongside the arena, create a more appealing atmosphere of complimentary service businesses to attract a larger fan base to games.

My second point surrounds the issue of smart urban planning and efficient use of taxpayer dollars. A city cannot be sustained by spending endless sums of money building new infrastructure further and further out into untouched farmland, which is what Ottawa has seen for far too long now. Urban intensification is now a widespread phenomenon across North America, and it’s happening to lessen the burden on cash-strapped municipalities.

Yes, there will be those who protest “not in my backyard” but the reality is, development always occurs in someone’s “backyard”. Another positive outcome from this development will be the 1,100 affordable housing units that will be integrated into the RVL project and will help lessen the burden on the cities 10,000+ waiting list for affordable housing. Ottawa’s new LRT line will also play a huge factor in creating and sustaining this new community –  the Lebreton Flats Development will attract big Ottawa commercial real estate investments. With the line running directly through Lebreton Flats, residents will have a  very convenient alternative method of transportation to get around, and with that creating an overall healthier environmental footprint for the city.

The upside of RendezVous LeBreton and the number of Ottawians that will gain enjoyment from its new urban housing options, entertainment offerings and commercial spaces, far outweigh any downside. With a major announcement on the new Le coming, let’s be of the mindset of one wanting to continue to grow into a world class city and to welcome RendezVous LeBreton as the next step on this path.

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Illumination LeBreton: LeBreton Flats In The Making

In April 2016 it was announced that the much-anticipated bid to redevelop LeBreton Flats was won by RendezVous LeBreton Group’s Illumination LeBreton. It’s hard to believe that after decades of near-vacancy and intense competition between developers a plan has been made for the land’s future. So, what is Illumination LeBreton and what does the RendezVous LeBreton Group promise that is more favourable than the opposing developer Devcore Canderel DLS Group proposal? 

Illumination LeBreton Visionary

The development slogan boasts of “Linking, Connecting and Completing” and it promises to celebrate the past while inspiring a bright future. Illumination LeBreton’s main design principles are Heritage, Connectivity, Vibrancy, Sustainability and Place-making. RendezVous LeBreton promises to harness LeBreton Flats and the city of Ottawa’s cultural, political, economic and entrepreneurial spirit which was originally fostered by the industrialists of Chaudière Falls over a century ago.

As a central region, Illumination LeBreton will also strive to connect each adjacent neighbourhood, from downtown near Parliament Hill to the west’s Nepean Bay Inlet as well as Gatineau across the river. RendezVous LeBreton describes the area as “the final linking piece of a great puzzle”, creating an infused dynamic between the joining historic regions. Illumination LeBreton will embellish Ottawa’s personality and energy through innovative urban space, districts and street activity. Optimizing the region’s varying climates, the development will focus on maintaining sunlight, both indoors and outdoors, and introducing seasonal activities like outdoor festivals in the summertime and a skating canal in the winter.

Consequentially to the location of LeBreton Flats, Illumination LeBreton will focus on long-term sustainability for the 21-hectare region. 1.2 million cubic meters of contaminated land will be treated and revitalized while environmental stewardship and sustainable living will be avidly promoted by residential and commercial stakeholders alike. The “One Planet Action Plan” devised for Illumination LeBreton actually has ten principles with aspiring and attainable goals aiming for long-term environmental and social improvements in all aspects of an everyday lifestyle.

The fifth and final intent for Illumination LeBreton lies within Place-making. As RendezVous LeBreton Group puts it, “the greatest urban environments around the world are places – neighbourhoods that have memorable characteristics and identifiable personalities. These places are an energized blend of iconic architectures, sublime public spaces and exciting or pleasing activities. They are places where people are proud to live, where people are drawn to and where the cities’ identities are framed and formed.” This is the primary end goal of Illumination LeBreton and it plans to be executed in three phases over 10 years.

How? Illumination LeBreton’s Public and Non-Public Anchors

What exactly will Illumination LeBreton incorporate to create such innovation, connectivity and distinction in the City of Ottawa? RendezVous LeBreton’s proposal includes public anchors like the Major Event Centre, Sensplex and Abilities Centre and non-public anchors like commercial, retail and residential components, including affordable housing.

The biggest draw is the 18,000-seat Major Event Centre (MEC) which joins the adjacent LeBreton Square capable of holding a whopping 28,000 more civilians. The MEC will be an incredible facility and a new capital landmark for the city of Ottawa. With year-round public access and events catered to the entire city demographics, the Major Event Centre and LeBreton Square have the potential to restore civic life in the remarkable district. Furthermore, the MEC promises new views of the city, including Parliament Hill and the Ottawa River, from its glass-walled exterior and groundbreaking green roof project.

However, the most important and enticing aspect of the MEC is its proposed tenant: the Ottawa Senators. In a country like Canada, the capital’s National Hockey League is quite the rage and fuels the city’s spirit. However, their current home is a 30-kilometre drive outside the city center. During peak events like Senator games and popular music tours, the trek out to the Canadian Tire Center can be slow, aggravating, and to some locals, sadly not worth it.

Illumination LeBreton will have a community-use ice rink facility a few steps from Ottawa’s downtown core. It will consist of two NHL-sized hockey rinks, being the Ottawa Senator’s home for practice and games and is a viable place to host national and international hockey tournaments. The potential for local spirit and economic growth is not only exciting but exactly what Canada’s capital needs. Attached to the Sensplex will be an Abilities Centre, the second of its kind in Canada. It will be a community centre that focuses on sports, recreation, arts, music, dance and life skills improvements. It will also incorporate a centre of excellence for people with disabilities.

Furthermore, the MEC is expected to bring 175 events per year, roughly 30 more than the current Canadian Tire Centre. Only 30% of these events are hockey related, leaving room for many more performances catering people of all ages and interests. The MEC and joining Sensplex and Abilities Centre will be located directly between the Pimisi and Bayview LRT Stations. Walkways both on and above ground will connect the three important landmarks, making every aspect of the surrounding area easily accessible to the public. 80% of the expected crowd will arrive by public transit, bike or foot, however, there will also be over 8,000 underground parking spots in the area. 

Another unifying aspect is the LeBreton Flats aqueduct that has been so sadly neglected over the years. It will become a historic anchor in Illumination LeBreton and will transform the water channel in an iconic new public space with a boardwalk, cafes and retail space. In the winter the aqueduct will become a public area of outdoor skating, similar to the Rideau Canal.

Other public anchors within Illumination LeBreton includes a Multimedia Nightwalk,  Canadian Science and Technology Museum, a new home for the permanent installation of the Governor General’s prestigious National Honours Awards and a revamped home base for popular events like Ottawa Bluesfest and the Ottawa Race Weekend. Lastly, the proposal includes a new Ottawa Central Library which will sit on the corner of Albert and Booth Street which will become a new and beautiful destination in of itself.

Although commercial and residential plans aren’t concrete, the Illumination LeBreton proposal includes a hotel with 800 suites as well as 4,400 residential units. An impressive portion will be dedicated to affordable housing thanks to RendezVous LeBreton’s partnership with the not-for-organization Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation. After reaching full completion of the project by the planned date of 2026, Illumination LeBreton will have up to 12,000 citizens working there and around 7,000 residing in the area.

The Losing Bid: LeBreton Re-Imagined

The runner-up in the LeBreton Flats redevelopment bid was LeBreton Re-Imagined by the DCDLS Group. It included a Canadian Communication Centre and Ottawa Public Library, both similar to Illumination LeBreton, as well as a Canadensis Walk acting as a uniting feature to enrich the social and cultural draws for visitors. However, the main difference was a proposed “World Automotive Experience” Museum. This was instead of the NHL Sens headquarters and a lot less exciting than a new home for the locally praised hockey team.

The main issue with the LeBreton Re-Imagined redevelopment plan was its lack of confirmed tenants. The selection committee was worried about minimal support and information for the financial viability of the public anchors. Although Illumination LeBreton also lacked concrete investors, the committee knew that a Sensplex arena and similar ventures were successful from previous models established in the region, such as the current Canadian Tire Centre. Not only was an automotive museum a whole new idea, but it lacked the lustre that the Sens would definitely bring downtown.

Another important advantage the Illumination LeBreton had was better overall planning. The MEC’s location is perfectly placed between the Pimisi and Bayview LRT Stations near LeBreton which supports their “connectivity” design principle. The selection committee also preferred the divided districts of Illumination LeBreton and plans to cover the LRT tracks, making the area walker and biker friendly. They felt the opposing LeBreton Re-imagined lacked innovation and that the use of big city blocks would minimize the “walkability” flow of the area. The “social sustainability” of Illumination LeBreton was an easy winner in contrast.

Nevertheless, there is still uncertainty about the redevelopment as a whole. Officials speculate that Illumination LeBreton’s original proposal is expected to change as planning moves forward. There are also many questions about overall cost, somewhere around $3.5 billion, and the timeline of the entire project from start to completion. The NCC and RendezVous LeBreton Group must still get together and negotiate. With a piece of land that has taken so long to even reach this point, one can assume that negotiation will not be a short and easy process. Only time will tell so stay tuned as more details regarding Illumination LeBreton unfold!

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LeBreton Flats Are First Nations Coming Second

In late January, it was announced that Illumination LeBreton was the highest ranking proposal for the LeBreton Flats redevelopment. Favoured by most, RendezVous LeBreton Group will proceed in their 3-phase expansion of the massive plot of land. However, there is still one stakeholder that needs to be consulted: The First Nations people.

LeBreton Flats has a deep connection with the Indigenous people of the region who first discovered, used and cared for the land before industrialists took over. In the present day, the Flats are regarded as traditional Algonquin territory and any use of the land must be negotiated and approved by First Nation officials. There have already been two meetings in late January and early February between the First Nations, the NCC and developers. Chiefs and other ambassadors from ten different Algonquin communities gathered to discuss the future plans for their sacred land.

Of course, with consultation comes some controversy. The first meeting was scheduled to be a presentation by promoters for the development, however, things took a defensive turn. Algonquin representatives told the presenters to leave. They wanted to discuss the plans alone with just the Nation Capital Commission. Chief Lance Haymond of the Kebaowek community voiced his displeasure with RendezVous LeBreton and their failure to collaborate with the Algonquin people given the sacredness of the land.

Chief Haymond states that “[the developers] have failed in the duty to consult and accommodate [us] given it is a sacred site for the Algonquin.” Still, he made it clear that all blame should not be placed on RendezVous LeBreton Group. He reminded “[the NCC that] it is not the promoter’s responsibility to consult, it is the federal government’s responsibility.” Both parties, being the developers as well as the government of Canada, are at fault here and the Indigenous community must stand up for their rights.

It is not the first time they have failed to include the First Nations in major plans. Previous developments at the Chaudière Falls by Windmill Development Group lacked consultation. Furthermore, a November 19, 2015 resolution was passed by the Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador that deemed all levels of government are violating Canadian law by changing the status of land without meaningful dialogue and acculturation of the Algonquin communities.

However, the road goes both ways. Even though First Nations feel overlooked, an effort has been made both federally by the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and municipally by the country’s capital to recognize that the “land within the boundaries of the City of Ottawa lies within the history Algonquin Territory.” This was both outlined in the city’s “Official Plan” document of 2011 as well as at the December 2015 Assembly of First Nations held by Justin Trudeau.

With all this in mind, the Indigenous community is not against redevelopment. They simply want to ensure that the incentive behind LeBreton’s regrowth will also benefit the Algonquin communities. Chief of Pikawakanagan First Nation is seeking meaning and innovation in LeBreton Flats. This means “not just street signs and some plaques… We’re looking for and seeking some significant benefits” he states firmly.

Months after the controversial gathering with the NCC and First Nations, the City of Ottawa announced that the first Light Rail Transit stop west from downtown will be named Pimisi. Extremely well received by Indigenous representatives and communities alike, Pimisi means eel in the Algonquin language, with sacred significance being a source of spirituality, medicine and food. Public murals and mosaics will be created by Algonquin artists and an authentic eel statue will also be incorporated in the station.

In terms of LeBreton Flats, long-term strategy and economic development are amongst the opportunities the city can provide First Nations people. They’re hoping for relevant benefits beyond generic employment and training, however further consultation and negotiation is necessary. The NCC and RendezVous LeBreton Group have tentative meetings with First Nations scheduled on the LeBreton Flats development timeline before anything is finalized. The Algonquin community may be cautious for now but there is plenty of time to incorporate their history and needs into Illumination LeBreton.

References

Most facts and dates extracted from Leveller.ca’s article Ten Algonquin Chiefs Meet With NCC Over LeBreton Flats and Zibi Project.

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LeBreton Flats Redevelopment

The LeBreton Flats redevelopment has been quite the topic of conversation in Ottawa’s municipal news. Something exceptional is about to hit the 84-hectare region that sits a mere 20-minute walk from Parliament Hill, and it is about time! The majority of LeBreton Flats’ sprawl has sat virtually empty for decades. Why? Let’s take a look at the rich history buried beneath the soil of Ottawa’s most talked-about land.

The Early Years

Much before hockey stadiums and condo towers were in demand, sacred ceremonies were performed at the Chaudière Falls by the First Nation people. Indigenous groups including the Algonquin, Huron and Iroquois would conveniently set up camp around the corner on LeBreton Flats. Nevertheless, the harmless and pure nature of the First Nations could only last for so long.

Both Europeans and Americans started setting foot near the grounds in the early 1800’s and it wasn’t long until industrialists decided to capitalize on the powerful Chaudière Falls. Robert Randal of Maryland, USA, purchased the Flats, known as Lot 40 at the time, in 1809 for paper milling purposes. Soon after, he went bankrupt and his land, full of potential, sadly sat empty for the next few years.

During the War of 1812, plans were made to connect the Ottawa River and the lower Saint Laurence River with a military canal. Royal Engineer and British Surveyor-General Joshua Jebb gathered that a canal was achievable once improvements were made to the Ottawa River in order to direct it toward the Chaudière Falls.

Construction began in 1818 and in 1820 George Ramsey, the Earl of Dalhousie, toured the area with the idea of the canal addition in mind. He knew that the Richmond military settlement officers needed a place to safely store their cargo and equipment away from the weather, wildlife, and burglars. Shortly after noticing the potential of all the empty land, he publicized his idea to purchase Lot 40 at an officer’s dinner. Captain John LeBreton was in attendance that evening.

Captain John LeBreton was England-born but raised in Newfoundland and at the time was residing in the Nepean Township of Britannia, Ottawa. Living so close to Lot 40, LeBreton decided to pursue the lucrative plot of land without Dalhousie knowing. In 1820, he discovered Lot 40 was being sold in Brockville at a sheriff’s sale. Needing more capital to invest, LeBreton teamed up with a Brockville lawyer named Livius Sherwood. They purchased the land for £499 (approx. $835 CAN) from the newly-released but severely in-debt Robert Randall. Lot 40 was understandably renamed LeBreton Flats and Sherwood Heights.

The cheeky LeBreton then went to Dalhousie and the government and offered to sell his eponymous piece of land for £3000 (approx. $5,024 CAN). Absolutely infuriated, Dalhousie rejected his offer after realizing the man had scammed him. An intense feud began and Dalhousie assured LeBreton that the government would never purchase the Flats; Dalhousie took this grudge to his grave.

As a result, the canal was hastily moved to Entrance Bay, the current location where the Rideau Canal joins the Ottawa River. The overall cost of construction was significantly higher as extra locks and a longer route for the canal was necessary. To further redeem himself, Dalhousie also purchased a piece of land called Fraser Parcel which soon became the village of Bytown and Barracks Hill, the future location for Parliament Hill.

LeBreton earned a notorious reputation in the region, however, he is said to be one of the only people to fully recognize the land’s potential and future commercial value. Over the years, LeBreton and Sherwood began dividing their land into smaller portions and selling them to reap huge profits.

The Great Fire of 1900

By the mid-1800’s, LeBreton Flats was a fully functioning and well-established lumber mill community. While there was residential housing for workers and owners alike, a rail line including a station and yards were built to fuel industrial development. Hotels, taverns and other community-oriented stores were also open for business to the local population of LeBreton Flats, Chaudière Falls and Victoria Islands. Sawmills were established at the falls and the land encompassing Chaudière became lumber yards with a plethora of wood piled up to dry out.

On April 26, 1900, there was a defective chimney that caught fire across the Ottawa River in the heart of Hull, Quebec. Although fires were common and manageable, an intense wind began causing incurable problems. Soon half of Hull was burning and the south-travelling fire was rapidly heading toward Ottawa. Once it reached the E.B. Eddy Pulp and Paper Plant there was no point of return. Flames spread across the Chaudière Falls to the numerous lumber yards set on both sides of the Ottawa River. Stacks of lumber transformed into one huge bonfire.

The wind died down by midnight, but 14 hours of fire had done irreversible damage. Two-thirds of Hull was burnt to the ground and 440 acres sprawling from the Chaudière Falls to Carling Avenue on the Ottawa side was destroyed. Although only seven civilians were killed, 15,000 were left homeless as 3,000 buildings from Hull to Ottawa became piles of rubble, splintered wood and melted steel. The regions suffered an estimated $10 million in damage.

LeBreton Flats was once an endearing community to build a home and set up shop in. After the devastating fire of 1900, the region was rebuilt but locals were scared of repeating events. The Flats became a purely industrial area and the only residents living there were workers with nowhere else to reside.

The Tear Down and Current LeBreton Flats Redevelopment

LeBreton Flats became an industrial desert of train yards and lumber production for decades. Fast forward to 1962, the Diefenbaker government was working on gentrifying the area, which didn’t fit into the prestige of Canada’s capital. Officials planned to spruce up the area with a new defence headquarters and offices for the Government of Canada.

On April 19, 1962, all residents of LeBreton Flats and the direct surrounding area received notice of expropriation to beautify Ottawa’s central area. Roughly 2,800 residents in the 150-200 acres were forced to vacate their homes and make way for demolition. By 1965 the last of the houses and small businesses were gone, with the teardown costing a total of $15 million.

However, there were many conflicting viewpoints on the use of the land and soil contamination from the stakeholders of the redevelopment. Intense disputes between the National Capital Commission and the municipal government lead to figuratively demolished plans. For over four decades, LeBreton Flats lay vacant. It was primarily used as a snow dump during Ottawa’s brutal winters, while runoffs from the excess snow caused further contamination to the land.

Fast forward again to the 2000’s. The Canadian War Museum opened on a northern section of the LeBreton Flats redevelopment in 2005, the first actual initiative of the LeBreton Flats redevelopment that the city had seen in years. It is currently home to a multi-residential development, Mill Street Brew Pub and a connection of pathways for buses, bikes and cars. Ottawa’s popular 12 day Bluesfest festival grounds are also located at the LeBreton Flats redevelopment site. Furthermore, Canada’s National Holocaust Monument and the city’s first Light Rail Transit System will be situated there as well.

So, with all this in mind, 2016 will be one for the books with the LeBreton Flats redevelopment! The NCC accepted applications for the LeBreton Flats redevelopment in the area in December 2015 and the RendezVous LeBreton proposal won the hearts of officials. The three-phase development will take years, even decades, to complete but for the first time in centuries, the LeBreton Flats redevelopment has concrete plans to finally live up to its original potential.

Historical facts and dates extracted from Leveller.ca’s Article The Ugly History of LeBreton Flats Article and NCCWatch.org’s The Blunder: LeBreton Flats article.

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