Click here to read What Halifax Thinks of Ottawa at OpenFile Ottawa
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, 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 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.”
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, 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, 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.