What Halifax Thinks of Ottawa

Click here to read What Halifax Thinks of Ottawa at OpenFile Ottawa

Charlene Davis's picture


The panellists and some of the attendees at Halifax’s Capital Conversation. Clockwise from top left: Panellists Frank Palermo, Rhonda Britton and Andrew Fillmore; and attendees Sarah Bonnemaison, Tara Gaskin, Chris Bouey, Ted Brown and Juliana Fombana. Photos by Charlene Davis.

October 19, 2011
The National Capital Commission’s ambitious plan to engage the Canadian people in the evolution of their nation’s capital—by posing six different challenges and then hosting discussions about them all across Canada—found its way to the east coast on Oct. 18.

Halifax’s Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 hosted a Capital Conversation, as these events have come to be known, on Oct. 18. Here’s a sampling of what some of the attendees had to say about Ottawa.

Joanne Bouchard

Joanne Bouchard, a volunteer and mother of five, says “the capital of Canada should show what all Canadians are; it should represent us to the outside world.” Bouchard also thinks Ottawa should be vibrant in terms of arts and culture, while letting the many other facets of the city shine. “I’m very proud of [Ottawa]. I’m a really proud Canadian,” says Bouchard. “I just love it when I go and I see the Parliament Buildings and I see a fresh, vibrant, young city.”

Juliana Fombana

Juliana Fombona, a Halifax architect, has been to Ottawa twice. “You can see a difference between Ottawa and other cities,” she says. “I think the capital should be more diverse, because I think Canada is a very diverse country.” She would also like to see more development in the city, while still preserving green spaces.

Christian Barry, artistic co-director of 2B theatre company and lifetime resident of Halifax, wishes Ottawa had more of “an urban social identity in the evenings.”

“Every time I’ve been in [Ottawa] at around 7 p.m., it feels like I’m on the set of a zombie movie. The streets empty out. Everyone goes home to the suburbs … I’d like to think that the people who are running my country are interested in social exchange and cultural exchange outside of boardrooms with carpets and fluorescent lighting, that they might actually gather in places with other human beings to talk about ideas. And so I would like to see more spaces for that downtown.”

Christian Barry

Chris Bouey, an architecture student, thinks Ottawa should be a cultural centre that reflects the arts and has a stronger focus on music with more festivals to facilitate the connection of the arts. “It would make me more apt to want to go there,” he says.

Tara Gaskin

Tara Gaskin, another architecture student, hadn’t thought much about what she wanted for her country’s capital before last night’s event. “It’s important that the capital represent Canadians, especially to American tourists … who don’t really know how diverse and different a place Canada is from the states,” she says.

Ted Brown

Ted Brown, a Haligonian of 59 years, thinks Ottawa “has all kinds of things going for it.”

“The image is something that we should be promoting nationally and internationally, and I just wish Canadians were a little more American in that we should be waving our flags more and we should be very positive about Canada,” he says.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s