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Celebrate civil engineering in Canada and the building of a great city

June 15, 2017
Feature Stories

Downtown Ottawa

Buildings, roads, bridges, canals – these vital pieces of infrastructure are some of the cornerstones of our daily lives, and behind the scenes of all of these works are the civil engineers who made them. Starting on June 15, you can explore a brand new exhibit at City Hall exploring how civil engineers helped build our country, and showcasing the important infrastructure projects that ensure our health, welfare, safety and mobility every day.

In celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, Building Canada, presented by the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) in collaboration with the City of Ottawa, the University of Ottawa and the University of New Brunswick, will take you on a journey celebrating our past accomplishments and building excitement for our future, as it highlights the transformative story of civil engineering in our country in a series of posters, videos and displays.

Come visit the exhibit, located in the main foyer of City Hall near the information desk, and check out some of the most innovative civil engineering projects from across the years, including some of Ottawa’s most recent contributions:

The Vimy Memorial Bridge

Vimy Memorial Bridge

The Vimy Memorial Bridge, which spans the Rideau River to connect Barrhaven to Riverside South, was renamed to commemorate the victory and sacrifice of Canadians troops in the Battle of Vimy Ridge a decisive battle that was not only a turning point in World War I, but proved to be a defining moment for the young nation of Canada. This award-winning bridge is unique and striking structure with an important function – linking communities by reducing the travel distance and time for commuters, including improved transit service. It includes three vehicle lanes, a dedicated bus lane and a bike lane in each direction, pedestrian walkways on the outside of the bridge on both sides, and a sustainable reduced-energy LED lighting system.



This historic park's recent redevelopment has revitalized it into an 18-acre centrally located entertainment complex with something for everyone. This easily accessible green space next to the Rideau Canal is a hub for Ottawa’s communities to come together to enjoy sports, exhibitions, entertainment, shopping and dining.

The Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel

CSST Shaft 5

The Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel (CSST) is a $232.3 million construction project and a key part of the Ottawa River Action Plan (ORAP), which is aimed at enhancing the health of the Ottawa River and protecting our water environment for future generations. The CSST, in construction now and scheduled to be completed in 2020, will consist of two massive inter-connected tunnels over six kilometres in total length and approximately three metres in diameter, located 10 to 31 metres below ground level.

The CSST will greatly reduce the frequency of sewage overflows during storms from entering the Ottawa River. During major rainfalls the tunnels will hold up to 43,000m3 of sewer overflow – that’s as much as approximately 18 Olympic-sized pools! By keeping sewage overflow from entering the Ottawa River, the CSST will protect the health of our aquatic ecosystem, lower the amount of contaminants released to the river, and improve the water quality. The CSST is also good for our drainage system. It will reduce the risk of basement flooding in the city’s core, and support our major sewer collectors by giving them a reliable backup and the flexibility that comes with all that extra storage space.

The Confederation Line and Stage 2 Light Rail Transit

Light rail vehicle

As Ottawa continues to grow, we need a world-class transit system that will move our city more quickly, efficiently and confidently. The Confederation Line is the first stage of our Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, Ottawa’s largest transportation infrastructure project since the building of the Rideau Canal. The Confederation Line will be a significant part of OC Transpo’s integrated transit network, connecting to the existing Bus Rapid Transitway at Tunney’s Pasture Station in the west and Blair Station in the east, and to the O-Train at Bayview Station. Together with a 2.5-km downtown tunnel, this light rail system will move Ottawa faster and in more comfort than ever before. The $2.1-billion Confederation Line will also generate significant economic, environmental, cultural and social benefits for the City of Ottawa and its residents, today and in the future.

Next, the city plans to extend LRT farther east, west and south with Stage 2, set to begin construction in early 2019. Stage 2 will launch in staggered openings. If you’re coming from the south, Stage 2 will extend the existing O-Train Trillium Line to Riverside South, while adding stations along the way at Walkley and Gladstone, along with a link that will take you all the way to the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport by 2021.You will be able to get on a train as far east as Trim Road by 2022, travel traffic-free through the downtown tunnel and arrive as far west as Algonquin College or Moodie Drive by 2023. By completion of construction, 70% of Ottawa residents will live within five kilometres of rail. Stage 2 will connect communities, relieve congestion, save commuters time and money, and reduce emissions from cars and buses on Ottawa’s roads.

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