AVE31 Neighbourhood Spotlight – Wellington West, Ottawa

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The Wellington West Business Improvement Area (WWBIA), includes the popular neighbourhoods of Hintonburg and Wellington Village and is home to over 500 businesses and commercial properties. The area is bordered to the East by Little Italy, to the West by Westboro Village, and is just a 10-minute ride from Parliament. Pedestrians and cyclists have numerous routes and connections to and from the mainstreet via adjoining local streets roughly every 60m, and numerous transit connections.

The Wellington West main-street provides the back drop for the community, where live, work and play intermingle. The overall, historic character of the area was established in the pre-1945 era, primarily of one to three  storey buildings.  Recently, underutilized properties have been developed as three to six-storey, mixed-use buildings with setbacks in keeping with the traditional built form.

Other elements that characterize the area are key buildings and open spaces, such as St. Francis of Assisi Church, Hintonburg Community Centre, the Great Canadian Theatre Company, Tooth & Nail Brewery, CUBE Gallery, the Parkdale Market, and many others a wander in the area will reveal! While not easily visible directly from the mainstreet, three neighbourhood parks are just steps away from it: McCormick, Hintonburg Park, and Parkdale Park.

If you are looking for a historical area, you found it! Richmond Road (later names Wellington Street West) is one of Ottawa’s oldest and longest roads, laid out in 1818. The road has retained its distinctive curve from this era. Initially, the land along it was the site of villas and farmhouses, including Richmond Lodge (circa 1854), which still exists today. The harnessing of the Chaudiere Falls to run mills prompted development at the east end of the road in the mid-1800s, but Ottawa’s slow growth in the 1840s and 1850s meant that little residential growth occurred outside of the Lebreton Flats area.

By the 1880s, a small node of buildings had been built east of the junction of Parkdale Avenue and Wellington Street West, an area that eventually became the commercial hub. The Village of Hintonburg was incorporated in 1893 and annexed by the City of Ottawa in 1907. Wellington Street benefited from the construction of more buildings in the late 19th and early 20th century, particularly after the arrival of the streetcar in 1896. Around this time, the population of Hintonburg was 1,700.

West of Holland remained undeveloped except for a few estate-like properties until the 1920s and its commercial buildings are less distinguished. West of Hintonburg, Wellington Street near Parkdale Avenue became the site of the former Grace Hospital in 1922. A number of other religious institutions have defined the character of the area since the early 20th century. In the residential areas on either side of the street, the trend in development was for the more middle class, red brick houses to be built south of Wellington and the working class, wood clad structures to be built north of Wellington.

This history laid the bones for a diverse, lively street with a wide range of building types (commercial, institutional and religious) dating from the 19th century to the post Second World War era. The surrounding residential streets, with their tight urban lots, small setbacks and mix of housing types at the east end and larger, more gracious houses moving west create vital, richly textured, inner-city neighbourhoods.

If you are looking for more information, COME FOR A VISIT! Or take a look at great resources like the Wellington West Community Design Plan, the Hintonburg Community Association, or the Wellington Village Community Association.

Thanks to our guest blogger Zachary Dayler, Executive Director for Wellington West BIA

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