Attractive New Low Impact Pavilion in Vincent Massey Park

The Vincent Massey eco washrooms
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Vincent Massey Park, across the Rideau River from Carleton University, North of Heron Road and West of Riverside Drive, is well known among immigrant groups, it appears, as often I see large numbers of East Asian immigrants barbecueing in the summer. The bike path along the river in Vincent Massey Park was closed for a while as the NCC has been widening the path. The NCC and the city didn’t really think of cyclists and simply closed the path, not realising the impact. Consequently, all of a sudden cyclists had to figure out another way around the construction site, which was cumbersome as one of the few alternative routes was unpleasant Riverside. After some pushing by Citizens for Safe Cycling, Ottawa’s local cycling safety group, the city had large signs made with maps showing detours. It is unfortunate, that ‘Is alternative route for cyclists/pedestrians provided and posted?’ doesn’t always appear on the check list of ‘measures to take before we start’ at our local governments yet. A few weeks ago, contractors finally finished the project and cyclists and pedestrians are enjoying the brand new path.

The widened paths are smooth as a peach.

But something else was built as well. It was drawn to my attention about a year ago when I visited the NCC HQ and I noticed this little scale model of a building sitting in a corner. Midcentury Modernist (one of the most informative blogs in Ottawa, I find) did a write up about it in May 2011 (see link below) and last week, my wife told me that finally all fences were removed.

More symmetry: the water runs off into a tank underneath the boulders.

The building is more or less self sufficient. It collects water from the roof, that runs off to the bolders at the bottom of the tips of the saddle roof. There are water storagetanks underneath providing the washrooms with water. The power is provided by solar panels. I couldn’t actually see the panels, but I suspect they are high up at the roof, facing South. I found it a little odd that the lights were on in broad day light, a tiny light sensor should stop unnecessary use of light (so the bulbs last longer).

Handsfree urinals, flushed with rain water from the tanks underneath.

Inside it is all modern. And it appears to be open 24/7. There are no doors. The men’s washroom has the usual urinals, one lowered for kids and physically challenged. There is a large washroom for wheel chairs users and there is a fold out table to change junior’s diapers. Nice touchless taps make the interior complete.

Red countertops: the building is always open.

I am very pleased to see the NCC initiated this wonderful building as showcase of what Ottawa should do more. I might not even use it ever, but it is gorgeous to just cycle by and admire. Let’s hope grafitti have some respect for the new pavilion, as the surface is very tempting.

A cyclist admiring the roof structure: there are several bike posts but way more BBQ’s.

Watching the picture above, you’d never guess you are only 1500 meters (indeed, less than a mile) away from Billings Bridge Plaza!

Did you see the new hip Summer Cycling in Ottawa clip already?

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1 Comment

  1. Yes there are doors,no the washrooms are not open 24/7.The washrooms are locked when the park is closed.There are bylaws against being in parks at night and offenders can be charged with trespassing,
    It may be functional but is a little overwhelming for a park setting and does not fit in with the natural elements or the rest of the park.

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