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2014-2015 Season Past Lecture:

Heart of a Nation

The Long Term Vision and Plan for Ottawa’s Parliamentary and Judicial Precincts

June 10, 2015

Presenters:  Lyette Fortin and Robert Allsopp

Since Queen Victoria selected Bytown as Canada’s capital in 1858, the Parliamentary and Judicial Precincts facing Wellington Street have become the symbolic—and physical—heart of the country. This forum examines the history of the area, the key principles of its layout, and the pivotal role of a long term master plan to accommodate its evolving needs. How is the district planned to reflect our democratic institutions and practices? What development pressures has the area confronted in the past? What are the current issues and opportunities facing the Parliamentary and Judicial Precincts?

These questions were particularly timely at the time of the presentation as controversy swirls around the location of the proposed Memorial to the Victims of Communism in the Judicial Precinct. The existing plans for the site, and how the Memorial impacts the larger planning vision were key to the considerations presented.


Lyette Fortin, a Consultant in Architectural Conservation who worked over thirty-two years as a Conservation Architect with the Federal Government. In her former role as Director of Architecture Strategic Planning for the House of Commons of the Parliament of Canada, she represented the institution in the development of the Long Term Vision and Plan working in close collaboration with all stakeholders and the consultants. She is active in conservation at the regional level as a member of the Outaouais Cultural Commission and at the municipal level as a member the Urban Planning Committee. She is also a contract instructor at Carleton University Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism.

Robert Allsopp, a leading Canadian urban designer, has been a key figure in the planning and design of the heart of the National Capital over the past thirty five years. Mr. Allsopp, with Roger du Toit and Peter Fletcher Smith of DTAH, prepared the 1987 Long Range Plan for the Parliamentary and the Judicial Precincts and the Plan’s update in 2007. Mr. Allsopp has also been instrumental in establishing urban design policies for Commemorations in the National Capital.

The discussion was moderated by Christina Cameron, Professor and Chairholder, Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage, School of Architecture, Faculté de l’aménagement, Université de Montréal.


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