New Sparks Street features garner optimism from city, mixed reviews from Ottawans

By Taylor Blewett, Ottawa Citizen, July 18, 2018

How do you return Canada’s first pedestrian mall to its glory days as a commercial and social hub after years of general apathy from Ottawans?

The brains behind the Sparks Street Public Realm Plan are giving hammocks, street games, a pop-up library and picnic tables a try.

“Sparks Street is in need of an update, especially given its importance to our tourism industry,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson conceded Wednesday, by way of introducing the new “SparksScape” pilot project. After consulting with the public at a January town hall, the city and its Sparks Street revitalization partners are introducing the new street-level features on a trial basis, with a plan to evaluate their popularity in the coming weeks.

(...)Longtime Ottawa resident Ingrid Navas isn’t convinced. She gave the authorities points for trying, but said, “I think it’s too little, too late.”

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