- Written by Gwendolyn Gall
Old Ottawa South (OOS) is a vibrant urban community in the heart of Canada's capital with a population of approximately 6,500 residents.
The area developed as an early suburb at the turn of the last century, and was annexed by the City in 1907. Growth proceeded quickly after that, and many of the solid red brick and clapboard homes that filled the neighbourhood are still lovingly maintained. Growth is continuing to this day, as appropriate infill becomes the clarion call to keep Ottawa's urban boundary contained and the downtown healthy—without losing the City's urban lungs or its famous front porches to asphalt and garage doors.
The community is defined by its waterways: bounded on the north by the World Heritage Rideau Canal, and on the south and east by the Rideau River as it winds its way north to the Ottawa River. Carleton University forms its western boundary, adding an academic flair to the character of Old Ottawa South.
Residents here are committed to the principles of walkability and environmental sustainability. Bank Street runs as a traditional main street spine through the centre of the community, offering a variety of retail options: from cafés, pubs, restaurants and toy stores, to second-hand clothing and antiques, as well as fine take-out, catering, and kitchen stores—including a full service grocery store. And it's all within walking distance for locals, with good parking for visitors.
The area is well serviced by transit. Four major bus routes take residents downtown or south, and the "O-Train" takes students and others north and south at Carleton University. And there are "VirtuCars" available for those who need occasional wheels but wish to respect the environment by not owning a car.
Our population is a mix of older residents who've lived here for years and young families who like the quality of the schools and recreational options nearby. There is a substantial university student population, who liven up the streets each September when they shop the annual Porch Sale to furnish their new digs.
The Old Ottawa South Community Association is very active, organizing hugely popular after school and recreational programs and special events, such as our Fall and Winter Festivals, that serve to strengthen community bonds. Many residents actively participate as volunteers and coaches, and we have a terrific new Cardio Fitness Centre. Some neighbourhoods hold annual events to celebrate their own uniqueness, such as the Brighton Beach Clam Bake and the Pansy Avenue block party.
There are several excellent parks that preserve nature on the river and provide good fun for children and dogs: local volunteers are proactive in helping maintain them and keeping them clean and safe. Children's play areas, water parks, skating rinks, and a local indoor pool (Brewer) are also part of the mix. Just to the north over the bridge is the city's "Jewel in the Crown", Lansdowne Park, with its 1898 Aberdeen Pavilion and its "all local" farmer's market. [Note: The Ottawa Farmer's Market moved to Brewer Park in Old Ottawa South for the duration of the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park, beginning in May 2012, at the entrance of Carleton University at Bronson and Sunnyside Avenue, and returned to Lansdowne in 2014.]
Old Ottawa South is a great place to live, and with our commitment to greener living, walkability and sustainable growth, will become even better, especially as residents become more involved in their neigbhourhood by joining the Old Ottawa South Community Association (OSCA). Everyone who lives, works, owns property or runs a business here is encouraged to join the association, or serve as a volunteer or on the board. Please join us in making OOS a better place to live!
To learn more about Old Ottawa South and what we have to offer, please explore the OSCA website! Register for the weekly email Events Newsletter—"News Between the Bridges"—only once a week in your inbox and it keeps you up to date on what's happening in our great neighbourhood!
And, of course, visitors are always welcome. See you 'round the 'hood!