Skip to main content

Main Street Renewal

Construction information

Construction is planned for Spring 2015 to Summer 2017.  Find out how it will impact your daily commute.  Sign up at to receive news through your e-mail!

Learn More

Public art for Main Street

Posted September 11, 2014

New public art selected for Main Street, Old Ottawa East

Ottawa-based artist Stuart Kinmond has been awarded a public art commission for installation on Main Street in the community of Old Ottawa East. The street is scheduled for infrastructure renewal and redesign commencing in spring 2015, and the public art component is expected to be finished and installed when the roadwork is completed in 2017.

Concept for Main2 by Stuart Kinmond.

Kinmond’s winning proposal will catalyze the creation of a much-needed public gathering space on Main Street. Entitled Main2 (Main Square), the artwork will be comprised of blue and green geometric-shaped benches shaded by three 6 meter tall towers, each framing colourful multi-layered glass images of the surrounding landscape of Old Ottawa East: the Rideau Canal, the Rideau River and the land between.

 Main2 details by Stuart Kinmond

In researching his proposal, Kinmond looked at the community’s ecclesiastical heritage, in particular the prominent presence of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and Saint Paul University. The association of stained glass with these religious institutions influenced his choice of materials.

Kinmond describes the concept of his proposal: 

Underlying the concept for this public artwork is the urge to represent the geographical, historical and cultural features that define Old Ottawa East, yet are largely invisible from this street itself. The windows open up this hidden view to the Main Street.  At the same time the landscaped square will provide a community space for resting and socializing.

Main2 (Main Square) will contribute to the renewal of Main Street by serving as a focal point near the intersection of Hazel Street. This central location will capitalize on the pedestrian flow between the campus of Saint Paul University, the Main Farmers Market and the restaurants, businesses and specialty stores across the street.

Stuart Kinmond trained as an architect in Montréal. In 2013 he won his first public art competition – a City of Ottawa commission for the O-Train expansion. That artwork, entitled locomOtion, will be installed at the Carleton station this fall.

Main2 view from the farmer's market by Stuart Kinmond

The Public Art Program commissions artists’ works for display in public spaces. One percent of funds for municipal development projects are allocated for public art in order to enhance communal spaces and make art accessible to everyone.

The Public Art Program initiated a competition for a new work of art for Main Street in January 2014.  Forty-four proposals were received and reviewed by a Peer Assessment Committee. The Peer Assessment Committee chose Kinmond’s proposal based on evaluation criteria that included artistic excellence, experience of the artist, how well the artwork would integrate into the new street design, and comments received during an extensive public consultation process. 


Posted January 17, 2014

Call to Artists - Main Street

The City of Ottawa invites artists to submit proposals to develop, design and install exterior public artwork on Main Street in the neighbourhood of Old Ottawa East as outlined in this Call to Artists.

Traditional Mainstreet, looking south on Main towards intersection at Hazel

above: Traditional Mainstreet, looking south on Main Street towards intersection at Hazel Street 

Deadline for submissions: Monday, March 24, 2014 at 4 pm EST
Information meeting: Thursday, January 30, 2014, 5:45 pm to 7 pm, Old Town Hall Community Centre, 61 Main Street, Ottawa
Budget: $220,000 plus HST 

Established in 1985, the City of Ottawa Public Art Program is committed to increasing awareness and appreciation of the visual arts in Ottawa by collecting, commissioning and exhibiting works of art, with an emphasis on local artists. The Public Art Program commissions site-specific works of art for display in public places. One percent of funds for new municipal development are mandated for public art in order to enhance public spaces and make art accessible to everyone.


This call to artists is open to professional artists who are Canadian citizens or have permanent resident status. Artists may submit a proposal individually or as a team. 

Project background

The existing street infrastructure has reached the end of its life cycle, and the City has identified the need for reconstruction. Main Street is designated as an Arterial Road in the City of Ottawa Official Plan.  Main Street from Echo Drive to Clegg Street is also designated as a Traditional Mainstreet.  Accordingly, the project designs will take into account the streets’ various planned functions and various community contexts within the project limits. This includes the layout of the surface elements including sidewalk, cycling, transit and vehicle provisions, lighting and streetscape improvements. 


Construction is scheduled to begin in Spring 2015 with completion before Summer 2017. Installation of the artwork will take place between Fall 2016 and Summer 2017, depending on the site of the work and coordination with the larger construction project. 

Public art vision

Public art for Main Street will broaden and enhance the community’s sense of identity and place by creating an environment that is aesthetically interesting and engaging for both residents and commuters moving through the neighbourhood. The artwork must be conceptually and visually innovative and original, while remaining sensitive to the community’s history, architecture, social commentary and natural geography. In particular, the dual nature of the street—Traditional Mainstreet at its north end and residential Arterial Road at its south end—should be considered when determining the placement and scale of the artwork.

Design requirements for public art

The City of Ottawa is seeking an artist or artist team to create singular or multiple artworks for installation outdoors, in response to the public art vision.

Completed works of art shall:

  • Demonstrate contemporary artistic excellence (conceptual, aesthetic and technical)
  • Be conceptually timeless and enduring
  • Be iconic or highly visible
  • Be engaging to the surrounding community and commuters travelling through the community
  • Be safe for the public
  • Be made of highly permanent materials that are suitable to the environment and require minimal maintenance
  • Comply with building and electrical codes and bylaws, etc.

Selected artist(s) will be expected to work closely with the landscape architect and City employees to ensure that the design and execution of the commissioned artwork is fully co-ordinated with the construction process.

Public art site

In the context of the redevelopment design for Main Street, potential sites for the installation of public art have been identified and discussed with the community:

  1. The intersection of Riverdale and Main towards the south end of the street. Redesign of this intersection will result in the reclamation of green space where there are currently two ramps. This location demarcates the change in use from four-lane arterial to the continuous two-lane roadway within the Main Street corridor. See Riverdale Intersection [ PDF 311.84 KB ] for site details.

    Landscaping options for this site are still being discussed with the community. Artists who choose to work with this site may be required to collaborate with the landscape architect and the community in finalizing the placement or integration of the artwork. Preliminary design ideas have included community gardens and naturalized landscapes.
  2. The design and installation of one or more gateway elements situated within the right-of-way at key intersections along the street. Each piece would need to be designed with attention given to the unique qualities of the proposed installation site, including the character of adjacent buildings and types of activities that take place at these sites.

    When proposing sites, artists are encouraged to consider the overall streetscape design as well as the interaction between cars, pedestrians and cyclists. Of particular note is the introduction of a cycle track running alongside the pedestrian sidewalk above street level. See Supporting documents for street plans and visual renderings.

Note: Artists and artist teams may submit only one proposal for this competition.

Rue principale traditionnelle, vue de la rue Main en direction sud vers l’intersection des rues Main et Hazel.

above: Right-of-way bus stop, cycle track and sidewalk in front of St. Paul’s University, on east side of Main Street looking north

Supporting documents

Supporting documents of:

  • Visual renderings
  • Right-of-ways
  • Street plans
  • Intersections plans

Online resources


The total budget for this commission is $220,000 plus HST.  The commission budget must include all costs required to design, fabricate, store, transport and install the public art, as well as any travel expenses incurred by the artist or artist team.

Selection criteria and process

Proposals should demonstrate the ability to address the public art vision and the design requirements. All proposals will be evaluated based on creativity of approach (written concept and visual rendering), experience and qualifications (resumé) and previous work (digital images).

This commission will be awarded following a two-stage arms length process as follows:

Stage I – Proposals as outlined under the Proposal Requirements below will be evaluated by a peer assessment committee consisting of artists with public art experience, the project management team and a community representative. This committee will review and evaluate proposals from all artists in accordance with the selection criteria and will select a maximum of five artists to move forward to the Stage II. 

Stage II – Shortlisted artists will meet with the Landscape Architect, Project Manager and Public Art Program staff for a second information session, either in person or remotely, and will be given Terms of Reference for refining their proposals and preparing a detailed budget. Artists are required to participate in a public consultation in June to present their final proposals, maquettes and visual renderings and to answer questions from the public. Comments submitted by the public during this consultation will be submitted to the peer assessment committee for consideration. Artists will then meet individually with the peer assessment committee for an interview of approximately 30 minutes in length. It is expected that a finalist will be determined by the committee before the end of June.

Stage II honorarium – Selected finalists (maximum five) will be asked to submit detailed proposals for the second round of the competition, and will be given an honorarium of $2,500 plus HST to assist in covering costs.

Artists living more than 150 km from Ottawa will be reimbursed for travel within Canada and accommodation expenses in Ottawa for the public consultation and interview, up to a maximum of $1700 per artist or artist team.

Please note: The City of Ottawa reserves the right to reject any or all proposals, or any part thereof, or to terminate or re-advertise any project.

Proposal requirements

A complete proposal must include the support material listed below. Support material must be saved on CD or DVD in a recognized file format. All other file formats will not be accepted. Please write your name and contact information on the disc. Paper documents are not required. Accessible formats and communication supports are available upon request.

  1. Proposal outline
    An outline of the proposed concept (500 words maximum) in DOC, DOCX or PDF file format. Indicate your approach to art-making, stating how you will interpret the public art vision, how you will meet the design requirements, which materials and processes you would consider for the fabrication of the artwork and your experience working with these materials, where the work would be sited and how the work would be installed.
  2. Proposal synopsis
    A concise synopsis of your concept in no more than 80 words. Your synopsis will be referred to during deliberations as a quick reference for the peer assessment committee. Your synopsis should include the most pertinent, factual and memorable information concerning your proposal and must include the following: conceptual underpinning, proposed material and scale.

  3. Visual rendering of proposed work
    A preliminary sketch or visualization of the concept behind the proposed artwork in JPG, TIFF or BMP file format for static images, or up to 1 minute of time-based media saved in a file format that is PC-compatible and viewable in Windows Media Player, QuickTime or VLC. This file should be clearly named Proposed Artwork.
  4. Current resumé
    A current resumé, maximum three pages and in DOC, DOCX or PDF file format, focusing on experience directly relevant to the project. Include your name, mailing address, telephone number and email address. If multiple artists are involved, include each artist’s resumé and indicate one contact person.

  5. Samples of previous work
    1. A maximum of 10 digital image files are permitted for artists and artist teams. 
    2. Digital images must be:
      1. PC-compatible in JPG, TIFF or BMP format
      2. 72 dpi and no larger than 2 MB each
      3. In RGB format with a maximum of 1240 pixels (length or width)
    3. Files must be named with a number, followed by title, date, material and support, metric dimensions, and cost, each separated by an underscore:

      01_title_date_material and support_height x width x depth cm_$cost.jpg
      02_work in progress_2014_LED and resin_1 x 4.5 x 7 m_$180,000.jpg
      03_ untitled 5_2011_wood and metal_400 x 650 x 10 cm_$19,000.tiff
      04_installation at Karsh-Masson Gallery_2010_mixed media_variable dimensions_$0.bmp
    4. We will not accept materials that require specialized software, plug-ins, extensions or other executables that need to be downloaded or installed, or materials that are embedded in any type of presentation, such as websites, or Word or PowerPoint documents.
    5. If you wish to submit a video or other time-based media on DVD/CD, contact Public Art Officer Lynda Hall at or 613-244-4261.
  6. List of previous work samples
    1. Compile a list with detailed information on the samples of previous work in DOC, DOCX or PDF format as shown below:

      01_title_date_material and support_height x width x depth cm_$cost
    2. When relevant, include a note listing the location of installed work, more details on the medium and the total art commission budget for any previous public art projects.

Please note:  CDs and DVDs will not be returned. Please retain a copy for your records. The City of Ottawa will not be responsible for loss or damage to any materials.

Deadline and notification

Proposals must be received by hand or mail no later than Monday March 24, 2014 at 4 pm EST.  This is not a postmarked deadline. Fax or email submissions will not be accepted. Late or incomplete submissions will not be reviewed. All participants will be notified of the results of the initial stage of the selection process by email in April.  

Mail or deliver proposals to:
Main Street Renewal Project – Public Art Proposal 
c/o Public Art Program, City of Ottawa
172 Guigues Avenue, 3rd Floor
Ottawa, ON  K1N 5H9

Information meeting for artists

An information meeting will be held at the Old Town Hall Community Centre, 61 Main Street, Ottawa, Thursday, January 30, 2014 from 5:45 pm to 7 pm. Community representatives will give an introduction to the neighbourhood of Old Ottawa East, and members of the project team will present plans and drawings and answer questions. If you cannot attend this meeting and would like to receive notes taken of any new information available on this project, please contact Lynda Hall at, 613-244-4261.

Copyright and moral rights

Copyright including any and all designs, drawings, maquettes and final works of art shall remain the property of the artist. Moral rights remain with the artist. The City of Ottawa will seek permission to reproduce the images for non-profit publicity purposes.

Confidentiality of information

City of Ottawa employees and peer assessment committee members are required to treat both the content of proposals and the deliberations of the committee as confidential. To protect confidentiality, committee members turn in their copies of proposal materials for shredding at the end of the assessment meeting. 

Information provided by the applicant may be available to City of Ottawa employees, and members of the peer assessment committee. Personal information contained therein shall be dealt with on a confidential basis pursuant to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Inquiries, 613-244-4433