Posted by: Shehryar Sarwar
Thirty years ago this summer, Old Ottawa South grappled with rowdy students and major planned changes to Brewer Park.
Students and Residents
In his ‘President’s Message,’ OSCA President Michael Lynch lamented the continuing conflict between residents and students in the neighbourhood. He noted that tension had lingered despite the creation of a Housing Committee a few months earlier. That committee included representatives of the City, the Police, Carleton students and administration, and OSCA, intended to “help re-establish harmony” between residents and students in the neighbourhood. OSCA was now seeking the appointment of an Ombudsman to bolster its efforts to bridge this gap between the two groups.
The OSCAR editorial described how Canada Day weekend in the neighbourhood was marked by groups of drunken students with displays of raucous behaviour, property damage, and the theft of the editor’s expensive new bike. It also noted that police had been conspicuously absent during that time.
The City’s proposal to move the curling facility from Lansdowne to Brewer Park prompted questions about the impact on Brewer: the placement of up to 18 sheets of ice was planned to be accompanied by a banquet hall and additional parking facilities, all imposing themselves on the remaining green space.
There was debate over the changing character of Brewer and whether it would now even ‘qualify’ as a park, given this proposal for multiple curling surfaces between the hockey rink and the City pool, as well as plans to create a beach along the southern edge where the Park meets the Rideau River. These features would introduce lots of sand and concrete, both materials being non-native to that space, so that surely means it is now something other than a park? An introspective piece described its recent changes; the addition of softball and baseball diamonds and a speed skating oval; and found that opinion was divided on the best ways to use Brewer. Some wanted it returned to its ‘marshland character;’ others felt it deserved more ‘proactive’ development.
Municipal Elections 1991
OSCA President Michael Lynch had registered as a candidate for Capital Ward in upcoming Municipal elections of November 1991. His platform included issues that will seem familiar across the decades: traffic, community planning, and the proposed redevelopment at Lansdowne Park. Other candidates included incumbent Counsellor Lynn Smith, Frank de Jong, and a certain Jim Watson…
Finally, that summer too, 1060 Bank Street was undergoing a transition, sort of: a new vegetarian restaurant, Zugg, had announced itself via a giant fork sticking up skywards as its mascot. In a review of the restaurant, the OSCAR’s critic noted the décor was an “eclectic rainbow of bright oranges and blues, surrounding elegant plum-coloured tables and carpets.” She gave a thumbs up to its somewhat bland but competent fare, assigning it “3 ½ rings on the dinner bell”.
Shehryar Sarwar is a longtime resident of OOS and an OSCA Board member.
Featured in the July-August 2021 OSCAR.