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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Ottawa Underpass Streetscape Initiative

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By the end of this summer, two of Ottawa’s underpasses will be that much more welcoming thanks to a city-led initiative aimed at brightening these often overlooked urban grottos. The ‘Murals on Underpasses‘ pilot project will see the Highway 417 underpass at Metcalfe Street
and Riverside at the Bronson Bridge being painted, each with one side dedicated to its surrounding neighbourhood, and the other commemorating Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, which will be celebrated in 2017.

These murals are expected to make these dark spaces more inviting for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike, as well as celebrate both local communities and the city’s role as the national capital.

According to the city, “Similar to the artwork under Highway 417 on Preston Street in Little Italy, murals will be created by artists to beautify and enhance these underpasses as key gateways to the City with images that reflect and depict local culture, history or visions of artistic expression. Outdoor murals are effective in managing graffiti vandalism, supporting arts and culture and contributing to economic development.”

A Request for Qualifications is expected to be released this month, with the artwork to be completed by the of August 2014.

What would you like to see on Ottawa’s underpasses? Which ones are in greatest need of a facelift?

Image: Little Italy Mural, Kristen Gagnon



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