Theme Park History
The biggest problem with the NCC's planning is that they haven't understood that 90 per cent of the job of creating a great capital is creating a great city.
Rhys Phillips commenting on Confederation Blvd
Ottawa Citizen, March 27, 1999
Bastard child of a mid-eighties NCC proposal to paint several Ottawa streets red for a "ceremonial route," Confederation Boulevard is the most elaborate landscaping project in town, costing upwards of $40 million over 10 years. The NCC describes it as "a ceremonial axis," "a unifying element in the core areas of Ottawa and Hull" and "a vehicle for communicating the Capital to Canadians" (see their spiel here). In reality, it is a bunch of Ottawa streets arbitrarily rebranded by the NCC, done up in granite, a lot of globe lights and, of course, poster collars. Pleasant enough to look at, like most monument-inspired design, it tends to be windswept and deserted after 6 PM.
Featuring boulevards of up to eight lanes and features such as double left-turn lanes, all the landscaping in the world doesn't disguise the fact that its primary function is to keep traffic moving.
Of course, Confederation Boulevard is more than a Tombstone of Waste, it is the tombstone of a great deal of heritage. 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 the contrived Confederation Boulevard theme park of monuments and flagpoles.
To find out more, take the NCC Watch Confederation Boulevard Walking Tour of NCC Planning Disasters. Enjoy!