The Indonesian Embassy

You can see the results. No other region in Canada has been the focus of such long-term, persistent and strategic planning. -- NCC website c.2005

A key part of the NCC's long-term strategic planning has involved expropriating land, demolishing or neglecting whatever was there until it needed demolishing, and leaving it vacant for decades. An excellent example is this parcel of several blocks by the river in Mechanicsville.

Mechanicsville vacant lot

A neglected patch of grass and weedy-looking trees, the property in question is typical of NCC-expropriated wastelands (cf. NCC Wastelands).

Mechanicsville vacant lot

Expropriated in the 50s as part of its campaign to build roads along every shoreline in the capital, seventy-odd years later, the NCC finally revealed a plan for its exclusive riverfront properties: what it grandiosely refers to as an embassy precinct.

CBC: Mechanicsville fights 'distasteful' plan to rezone green space for embassies [10 February 2021]
Ottawa Citizen: NCC's amended plan for 'embassy district' in Mechanicsville still rankles community association [28 July 2021]

You have that right: the NCC's plan to build a capital for all Canadians entails establishing secure compounds for foreign diplomats on prime riverfront land expropriated from Canadians. But setting aside the downright stupidity of all that, what can we expect from this plan as a component of building a capital, if not for Canadians, than for some aesthetic bragging rights in, say, other capitals?

Well, as it happens, we don't need to imagine how bad the NCC's embassy compound plan is. We can see exactly, because an embassy has already been built on an adjacent plot.

Mechanicsville vacant lot

Yes, that's it in the distance.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Indonesia:

Mechanicsville vacant lot

One's first reaction is, whatever did we do to Indonesia to deserve this? Our embassy in Jakarta must be truly offensive.

But no, the Canadian embassy resides on the 6th floor of the World Trade Centre, which is where all these embassies belong. Either that or an industrial park.

Mechanicsville vacant lot

The northwestern facade. Water-stained pale yellow plaster above cracked curbs and sealed asphalt - redolent of an agri food co-op in rural Laos or Thailand.

Mechanicsville vacant lot

The way the building fits in, it might as well have fallen off the back of a truck.

Mechanicsville vacant lot

Judging by its capital, Canada should soon be joining Indonesia in the bottom ranks of the G20.

Mechanicsville vacant lot

Tall shrubbery fails to disguise the overwhelming banality.

Mechanicsville vacant lot

Slabs of tinted glass overlook a vast empty parking lot.

Mechanicsville vacant lot Mechanicsville vacant lot

Tall grass, chain link fencing, and storage sheds under 24 hour surveillance. Absolute garbage.

The days when embassies were stately homes of distinction and taste are long gone. Now they are ugly secure compounds with ample surface parking, and constitute a criminal waste of riverfront property. Nevertheless, the NCC wants to scatter these things along the river like chickenfeed.

When the NCC says "no other region in Canada has been the focus of such long-term, persistent and strategic planning," we believe them.