Environmental & Infrastructure – Parks & Recreational Facilities
Pindigen Park occupies a unique location in Ottawa, bringing together public, residential, institutional and commercial domains. Adjacent to the Canadian War Museum / LeBreton Park, the National Holocaust Monument, the Canadian Firefighters Memorial, LRT transit expansion, and existing and future development of the LeBreton Flats, Pindigen Park creates an exciting experience drawing both local users and tourists to this intersection. Park elements and layout create a pedestrian friendly intersection, improving connections to the adjacent uses and future development. The expanded intersection leads to an interior open space that is welcoming the public – Pindigen – Algonquin for ‘Come in, all are welcome’.
This project involved extensive collaboration with local First Nations peoples in concept, execution and public art and was was opened on June 20th 2017, the eve of National Aboriginal Day.
The creation of Pindigen Park is a collaboration between two indigenous communities, federal government agencies and design firms. The park was officially opened on June 20th, 2017, the eve of National Aboriginal Day. The opening featured speakers from the indigenous communities and government representatives, as well as indigenous music and a tree-planting ceremony signifying how all parties came together in partnership.
The theme of the park is the Anishinabe philosophy of living well, which is finding a harmony between the land, the water, the air and the people. If these elements are not kept in balance, the whole suffers. Pindigen Park is an expression of this idea, and a timely reminder to all people of the importance of seeking this balance.
Expressing this theme, a series of four interpretive panels with text in Algonquin, English and French, feature colourful illustrations depicting Anishinabe people interacting with each element. There are full-scale steel animal silhouettes of a moose, a black bear, a river otter, an eagle and a turtle in the park. These artistic elements were created by visual artists from the two indigenous communities
The theme is also conveyed by the visually engaging landforms and hardscaping, which represent waves and movement, combining the elements of land, water and air. People are invited in to complete the balance, the ideal harmony, or Engadjitonanan aki, in Algonquin.
Visitors can explore a different type of landscape, bringing harmony back into focus through the dramatic landforming and planting, the art and interpretive content. The space invites exploration and offers the visitor comfortably secluded, quiet, safe spaces. The park remains aesthetically pleasing whether in spring bloom, cloaked in summer green or fall colours, or covered in snow.
This project is the result of the decontamination and beautification of a long neglected, unused site on the Lebreton Flats near downtown Ottawa, completed in time to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.
In addition to decontaminating the site, the environmental ecology was respected by using recycled materials as much as possible. Salvaged and repurposed materials from the NCC storage yards provided a large selection of quality materials. These natural limestone and granite slabs, cobbles and curbs were repurposed for pavement treatments, seating elements, edging, terracing and creating accents at the end ‘crests’ of the landformed ‘waves’. Water courses are depicted by various sizes of river-stone culminating in the large boulders at wave crests.
Plant material, indigenous and naturalized, is used to help define the waves and lower swales, and lawn is minimized by using clover and low grasses in large areas, requiring less maintenance. Infiltration of surface water into the ground is the main system of storm water management; use of below grade piping into the storm system takes off any excess water.
Solar lighting, which provides ambience at night, means no hydro connection or use is required. This site also serves as a test site for this technology, paving the way for use on other sites in the city.
Ruhland and Associates LTD. Role: Project Landscape Architects
Location: Sir John A MacDonald Parkway at Booth Street, Ottawa
Date of Construction: 2014 – 2016
Owner: National Capital Commission
Ottawa Urban Design awards 2017 award of Merit in the ‘Public Places and Urban Spaces’ category.