In a weird bit of synchronicity, these two posts came across my "desk" recently.

1. Mid-century Modernist put up some old paintings of Lebreton Flats

2. The New York Times put up some pictures of The Gowanus Canal, in Brooklyn.

It got me thinking as to what could have been on the flats. Sure, the Gowanus is a Superfund site that needs major clean-up, but so is the flats (read back on what they had to do to get the War Museum in there). The similarities are eerie. Each site was a major industrial center, with a canal running through it. The difference is how they were treated. Ottawa has a rich, mainly industrial history, the factories, trainyards and warehouses that were part of Lebreton were a part of Ottawa's industrial heritage that the federal government wiped out because it didn't fit into Greber's master plan. Now the rich industrial heritage of Ottawa has been wiped out and nearly forgotten.

I think it's just because, as David Francey said "I love a good industrial landscape", and as excited as I am about some of the newer developments in Ottawa, it's really sad to realize what could have been here, rather than the harsh and impersonal mixture of Condos and moonscape that exists here now.


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11 March 2010