On January 25, the NCC Board of Directors met to discuss recent and upcoming projects. Here are the highlights presented in my Report on Activities.

Rideau Canal Skateway

This month marked the launch of the 54th season of the Rideau Canal Skateway. Our team learned a lot from the challenges we faced last year. We were able to put measures in place, helped by more seasonal temperatures, to get the ice ready to welcome visitors.

NCC 125

This year marks the National Capital Commission’s 125th anniversary. This is a unique opportunity to highlight the NCC’s work as a leader, planner, partner and steward of the Capital, and to showcase the significant contributions of Indigenous peoples, and citizens, in building an inspiring, green Capital that reflects the great diversity of all Canadians.


We are making progress on many projects and plans:

  • Victoria Island: In September, remedial construction started west of the Portage Bridge. The work is expected to continue into 2024, and remediation east of the Portage Bridge is scheduled to start in 2025.
  • Rideau Canal Lighting: Late this past fall, work began on the Rideau Canal Lighting Rehabilitation project to overhaul the lighting systems within the Rideau Canal corridor, which had reached the end of their useful lifecycle.
  • Philippe Lake Campground: Much of the construction site is now shut down for the winter, but work will resume in April 2024. We are on track to reopen in summer 2025.
  • Westboro Beach Area: Westboro Beach is also scheduled to reopen in summer 2025. The park pavilion roofing and site levelling is now complete, and landscaping will begin in May.
  • Lady Grey Drive Wall and Escarpment: Construction has started. The structure of the 113-year-old Lady Grey Drive retaining wall and the escarpment require major work to ensure they remain safe and stable.
  • Parliament Hill Escarpment: Project completion is anticipated for November 2024, with the pathway to be fully open in fall 2024. This major project was necessary to stabilize the slope from erosion, repair damage, and increase resilience to future floods. 
  • Tesasini Park: The park is now complete and is scheduled to open in spring 2024. It is designed to provide the public with informal access to the low-lying riverbank, as well as be resilient in the event of flooding.
  • Kìwekì Point: The site will reopen this summer, bringing back and improving spectacular views of the shorelines. The site has been completely transformed to offer a new experience to visitors, including a signature pedestrian bridge connecting to Major’s Hill Park and an architectural structure providing panoramic views of the Ottawa River and Parliament Hill.

Community engagement

Throughout April to November 2023, Phase 3 of the National Capital Core Area Plan moved ahead, with our teams consulting key municipal and federal stakeholders, including the City of Ottawa, Ville de Gatineau, Public Services and Procurement Canada, and Parks Canada, on the draft vision and principles of the plan.

In November, we held our first meeting of the public advisory group (PAG) for the Alexandra Bridge Replacement Project. Composed of 14 community stakeholders, the PAG represents a wide range of perspectives. Public consultations on the design concepts for the bridge are anticipated for spring-summer 2024.

We also launched the Capital Design Guidelines website, a new interactive web platform that allows designers and decision-makers to build custom lists of guidelines. Our goal is for the Capital Design Guidelines to continue to evolve and grow, and to shape our common understanding of excellence in design.

And, our 2024 NCC Urban Design Challenge has started. It focuses on the “Parks District” of LeBreton Flats. You can find the design brief on our website and you can join the competition if you are an architecture, planning or landscape architecture student. The awards ceremony is scheduled to take place on May 23, 2024, at the NCC Urbanism Lab.

Parkway program

Parkways program users

Our parkways program once again proved very popular. From May until Thanksgiving weekend, our electronic counters registered 430,000 visits on Kichi Zībī Mīkan, Queen Elizabeth Driveway, Sir George-Étienne Cartier and the Gatineau Park parkways.

We also conducted a survey, and the results indicate high satisfaction rates and public support for the continuation of the parkway program. Amongst the 10,686 responses received, over 69% of all respondents supported the NCC’s commitment to creating car-free experiences on the Capital’s scenic parkways. This number increases to 85% in respondents who took part in the 2023 season of the program, which ran from May to early October.

We will use this information and continue to work with stakeholders to plan for the 2024 iteration of our parkway program.

Environmental sustainability

I am pleased to report that the NCC’s Sustainable Development Strategy for 2023–2027 was tabled to Parliament in November. Our key priorities for the next four years will centre on sustainable transportation, access to green space, affordable housing, nature and wildlife conservation and climate action.

Electric vehicle charging stations

And our Climate Adaptation Plan is currently being finalized and will be presented to the Board of Directors in spring 2024. This plan will address associated climate risks to the region, with the aim of increasing climate resiliency over time. We also continue to monitor our greenhouse gas emissions, with our first net-zero real estate portfolio plan, which will be finalized in spring 2024.

We are also strengthening our commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions with the installation of several electric vehicle charging stations located at different NCC sites across the Ottawa region.

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