15 minute ‘hoods: Densification, greenspace, and great cappuccino in Old Ottawa East

15 minute ‘hoods: Densification, greenspace, and great cappuccino in Old Ottawa East

This interview was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of Ottawa Magazine as part of a series on neighbourhood planning entitled “15 Minutes to the Future”. Find more articles in this package here.

As new homeowners in a neighbourhood full of change, Joel Beddows and Lawrence Aronovitch ponder the risks and benefits of densification

What do you love about where you live?
That we are nestled between the canal and the Rideau River. It’s perfect for walking and biking in summer, skating and snowshoeing in winter. There have been a lot of new builds among older homes, but always in good taste and in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood. The bells at Holy Family Parish ring every day at noon and 6 p.m., giving a sense of community to the entire neighbourhood. Our daughter loves the Children’s Garden on Main Street, and the nearby Café qui pense makes the best cappuccino in the city.

Joel Beddows, Lawrence Aronovitch, and their daughter have lived in Old Ottawa East for two years. Photo by Marc Fowler / Metropolis Studio

What do you dislike about your neighbourhood?
We could use more variety for food shopping. There are some great restaurants on Main, but we’d love to see more variety in terms of cuisine, as well as fancier options for special occasions. The Immaculata High School playing field was leased to a private developer and always looks overcrowded, leaving us nervous for the children using it.

What changes would you like to see, short and long term?
The Greystone Village development on Oblate Avenue has gone far enough. Any more construction would destroy what we love most about our neighbourhood: green space. New construction is a mixed blessing. Higher-density condos and townhouses mean more people around, which can support more services, restaurants, but also lead to more traffic on Main Street. How do you encourage densification while discouraging car use?