Walking Tour of Confederation Boulevard

Confederation Boulevard
The NCC Watch Walking Tour

Confederation Boulevard: pride of the NCC. They built it for $40 million, and now they promote it and brand it, all to help "communicate the capital to Canadians." Like they say, "Perhaps no other development in the Capital Region so clearly defines the distinctive nature of Canadian culture." Well, Canadian bureaucratic culture, at any rate. Of course, there are a few things you might not find on the various plaques and NCC brochures. In its zeal to execute whatever plan was popular at the time, the NCC expropriated and demolished much of Ottawa's genuine history, replacing it with Confederation Boulevard's contrived agglomeration of monuments and flagpoles.

To find out more, take the NCC Watch Confederation Boulevard Walking Tour of NCC Planning Disasters. Enjoy!

Map of lost heritage along Confederation Boulevard
  1. LeBreton Flats - expropriated and demolished by the NCC in the 60s
  2. Portage Bridge - built by the NCC in the early 70s, both ends of the bridge feature dismal interchanges. It crosses Victoria Island, expropriated along with the flats, now a ghost town of a few surviving industrial buildings.
  3. Place du Portage - part of the NCC's "building dispersal programme," large tracts of Hull were expropriated to make way for monumentally unattractive Federal Government office buildings, a failed mall, and Boulevard Maisonneuve, a six lane commuter road to the former city of Gatineau cut through the middle of Hull.
  4. Interprovincial (Alexandra) Bridge - part of Ottawa's old railroad infrastructure connecting Ottawa and the Gatineau, now a road link to the McConnell-Laramee freeway, which cuts through Gatineau Park. The old railway bypass that connected the bridge to Chateau Laurier and Union Station in Ottawa is now a private NCC road and the former Museum of Photography (now vacant).
  5. Bolton Street - the NCC expropriated many properties along Sussex as a buffer to its "Mile of History" and then let them go to ruin, and is now in the process of straightening Sussex - and demolishing the last two heritage houses left on the street.
  6. Daly Building - demolished by the NCC in the 80s
  7. Union Station - ground zero for the demolition of Ottawa's railroad heritage, the station itself is, incredibly, still standing, now an underused Federal Government conference centre, closed to the public. The bridge over the canal is the site of a plaque honouring the heritage they destroyed.
  8. Confederation Park - former site of the Roxborough Arms, an apartment building that once stood at the intersection of Laurier and Elgin streets
  9. NCC Info Centre - so much for Jacques Greber's "monumental backdrop" to Parliament Hill; when the Rideau Club burned down in 1979, it was replaced with a nondescript little square backed by the Info Centre.
  10. Canada and the World Pavilion - built by the NCC for no particular reason in 2000, visited by few, and closed in 2005, the Canada and the World Pavilion sits on prime parkland beside Rideau Falls. It will likely become government offices or an embassy.
NCC rail heritage

The NCC commemorates the rail heritage they demolished