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Sparks Street Public Realm Plan

Project Status: 

Sparks Street Public Realm Plan

Public engagement opportunities

As part of developing the Public Realm Plan, the City and its partners are committed to engaging the public about the future of the iconic public space known as the Sparks Street Pedestrian Mall – how should it be used, what should it look like, and how should it be programed. The City is reaching out to:

  • residents
  • business owners
  • landowners
  • surrounding community associations
  • government agencies, and others who may be interested in sharing their perspectives and ideas on the future of Sparks Street.

Public engagement will conclude early in 2019 with a report to Finance and Economic Development Committee and Council. During the public engagement period, the City will gather feedback using:

  • online questionnaires
  • design workshops
  • information sessions, and
  • e-mail

At the end of the engagement period, City staff will recommend to Council the approval of the preferred Public Realm Plan to guide investments, improvements and phased renewal of the Sparks Street right-of-way between Elgin and Lyon Streets.  

About Sparks Street Pedestrian Mall

Sparks Street is Canada’s first pedestrian street and a famous place for residents and visitors alike to gather and celebrate in the heart of Ottawa’s downtown. An outdoor open-air pedestrian mall since 1967, visitors find shopping, dining, festivals, beautiful heritage buildings and lots of places to sit and watch the world go by. 

What’s being planned?

  • new residential and retail uses, now under construction
  •  two key light rail (LRT) stops around the corner
  • a major STO stop planned at Lyon and Sparks
  • a new Indigenous Cultural Centre recently announced for 100 Wellington
  •  the new Lord Stanley’s Gift Monument, and
  •  the  plans for a major renewal of buildings along Sparks Street and throughout the parliamentary precinct

Given all this, it is time to look at the many current plans and policies to and create one cohesive plan for the future.

Under Council direction, City planning staff are working together with their partners to review the guiding policies and plans that govern Sparks Street to explore and assess:

  • street functions and spacial relationships
  • streetscape theme/s, and design elements – identifying what a renewed Sparks Street will look like and how it will fit into the broader Capital experience, and 
  • financial capacities for operation


November 2017                                    Project launch 
January 2018                                        Mayor's Town Hall - The Future of Sparks Street 
June 2018                                             Public event #1
November 2018                                    Public event #2

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Contact information

David Atkinson, Planner
Urban Design
Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1
tel: 613-580-2424 ext. 15013

Related links

Official Plan Volume 2a Sparks Street (Ottawa)
The Plan for Canada’s Capital 2017-2067 (National Capital Commission)
Core Area Sector Plan 2005 (National Capital Commission)
Downtown Moves 2013 (Ottawa)
Capital Illumination Plan (National Capital Commission 2017)
Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy (Ottawa 2004)
Public Services and Procurement Canada’s LTVP for Parliamentary and Judicial Precinct (2006 and update once completed)