New Urban Parkette for Ottawa

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Connection from pathways to Pangishimo Park and Falls

The latest edition to our parks is a small corner of waterfront tucked away at the southwest end of the Zibi developments on Chaudière Island, due north of the war museum. The connection across the water had been refurbished already several years ago and we have all waited eagerly for it to become accessible. We are going to check the recently reopened bridge and the new parkette.

A photo of the area from 1928: The yellow dotted line is the NCC pathway along the Ottawa River. The orange line is roughly the route you can now take to the falls. The islands were sacred to the Algonquin, but colonists built sawmills and electrictiy generators on it. Now, developers are turning it into a mixed use working, living and entertaining area. Other parts of the islands will be regenerated with the Algonquin people.
Eric Darwin took this image in the fall of 2014 when crews started to repare the bridge to the island. The row of evergreens in the background is gone unfortunately

Finally at the end of the summer of 2021 this connection was opened and we got to experience the new park, called Pangishimo Park (‘Sunset‘ in the Algonquin language). We can now cycle to the Chaudière Falls without having to negotiate Booth St and Zibi’s construction sites as Zibi is still very much a a work in progress for several more years.

The bridge towards the island with the war museum in the background on the right

You have probably seen some photos and clips already, but I thought I am dropping by at this latest feature for some photos for the blog and to enjoy the improved access from the NCC pathways to the Chaudière Falls.

Awkwardly placed benches

Starting from the mixed use square north of the war museum you first cross a channel with new benches, which I think are placed a bit awkwardly if you are heading south bound towards the war museum. You might walk or bike right into it on a dreary day. They are not very visible from certain angles.

I can see people bumping into these benches (for orientation: the war museum is straight ahead in this image)
The boardwalk being built (photos from Skyscraper forum by ZZPitchka)

At the end of that bridge, you can turn left to the newly designed space. There is a new large boardwalk along the waterfront and at the western most tip, a long bench to watch sunsets over the Ottawa river. You will notice the waterfront is restored with rocks and grasses. Several interactive elements were built to play on.

Due to the cauldron-like shape of the original falls, and the spray rising from the churning water, the Algonquin First Nation called Chaudière Falls “Asticou,” usually translated as “kettle” or “boiling water.” Thus, early French explorers called it “Chaudière,” which means “kettle.”


Pangishimo Park

The 0.3 ha (0.75 acre) Pangishimo Park was designed in collaboration with Algonquin partners and Artscape. There is a short pathway, a grassy area, a boardwalk with an enormous bench, several interactive elements and a restored waterfront with rocks and vegetation. Indeed, it is not big, but you have the big Kichi Zibi river to look at as well as the Chief William Commanda bridge (aka the Prince of Wales train bridge) from the west facing bench.

A slightly elevated viewpoint in the park with downtown Ottawa on the left

The park connects at the north end to another path that leads you further towards the Chaudière Falls, which can be spectacular in spring. There is more park there with Muskoka chairs and benches made from the large wooden bars Hydro Ottawa uses to block off part of the dam’s water inlets. Someone in one of my tour groups recently commented that they are probably the most expensive park benches ever…

Artist impression vs the final built

I am very happy with that connection to the falls. I can take guests of Escape Bicycle Tours to the falls now, without worrying about safety. The park, albeit it very small, will be a nice place for those magical sunsets over the Ottawa River.

The path continues towards the falls
There is another small park at the falls
Pangishimo park is at the tip of the island in the foreground. (Image: Zibi website)

Here is a short clip of me cycling towards and through Pangashimo Park.

I wrote earlier about a really nice urban park in Toronto; you may want to check out this park with its enormous fountain with a number playful elements. Absolutely worth a visit when in Toronto.

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