Ottawa City Council has approved a new name for the pedestrian and cycling bridge being built across the Rideau Canal: Passerelle Flora Footbridge.
The name is apt, dedicated as it is to the memory of a true bridge builder, pioneering Canadian politician, Flora MacDonald.
The five-metre wide and 123-metre long footbridge will connect communities – specifically the Glebe and Lansdowne with Old Ottawa East, Main Street and Old Ottawa South – and improve access to Lansdowne and the City’s network of multi-use pathways.
A humanitarian at home and abroad, Flora MacDonald built her bridges between political parties and across cultures.
Ms. MacDonald was Canada’s first female foreign minister, and during her term as Secretary of State for External Affairs, she played a key role in helping six American diplomats escape during the Iran hostage crisis in 1980. She also helped Canada welcome more than 60,000 Vietnamese refugees after the Vietnam War.
She received the Order of Canada for her humanitarian work and leadership in federal politics, and the Pearson Peace Medal for her efforts in fostering international understanding and development.
For four decades, Ms. MacDonald called the area near the bridge home, and frequently speed skated on the Rideau Canal Skateway.
A naming committee considered 86 unique suggestions submitted by residents. The committee was composed of two residents from each of the neighbouring communities – Old Ottawa East, Old Ottawa South and the Glebe – along with two City representatives, including Ward Councillor David Chernushenko. From an initial shortlist, the committee ultimately settled on Passerelle Flora Footbridge.
The footbridge, a collaboration between the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Ottawa, is expected to be complete by summer 2019.