The City of Ottawa is developing an action plan for recreation and culture programming for the downtown core. Lifelong involvement in recreation and culture is vital to creating healthy, creative, and inclusive communities. With a shift in demographics, aging infrastructure and market competition in the downtown core, it is time to redefine the recreation and cultural needs of this community.

What is the downtown core?

The borders of the downtown core are the Ottawa river on the north, Rideau river to the east, Queensway at Catherine Street to the south and Bronson Avenue to the west, refer to the photograph on the right.

The core is a vibrant tourist destination bursting with national and local museums and galleries, year-round events, historical districts, a unique shopping, and culinary scene, a lively nightlife, open green space, as well as local recreation and culture hubs. It is also home to the Parliament, a large business district of 100,000 daily commuters, the University of Ottawa, Embassies and Consulates, and 62,000 residents who encompass an eclectic mix of students, young families, and older adults. Situated on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeg nation, with a large number of Francophones, many new Canadians, racially diverse people, and home of the Gay Village, this community is rich with diversity.

What types of recreation and culture programming are we looking at?

  • Special events (festivals, ceremonies/gatherings, fairs, etc.)
  • Outdoor play (play structures, wading pools, splash pads, rinks, skateboard parks, beaches, sledding, trails, etc.)
  • Cycling
  • Before and after school activities
  • Drop-in programs
  • Summer camps
  • Swimming
  • Skating
  • Sports – soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball, tennis, hockey, etc.
  • Youth programs (e.g. youth club, etc.)
  • Older adult programs (i.e. guest speakers, gentle fitness, cards, etc.)
  • Fitness courses
  • Arts – visual art, pottery, craft, dance, theatre, music, literary, film/video, new media, etc. public art
  • Galleries/exhibitions, artist studios
  • Theatres – live performance, cinema
  • Heritage –built heritage, districts, landscapes, archaeology, museums, archives
  • Creative industries – film and television, music, publishing, design, fashion, architecture, video games, digital media and multiplatform storytelling – transmedia
  • Tours

How will we look at programming?

The City will be looking at programming through asset mapping, data analysis and public engagement in-person and online. This analysis will determine where opportunities and gaps exist in the downtown core and a steering committee of internal and external stakeholders will identify ways to address these through the creation of an action plan. The action plan will reflect sustainable growth, a partnered approach, and quality public spaces, to ensure a variety of recreation and culture programming is accessible to all.

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