Nepean Point is one of the most spectacular lookouts in the National Capital Region, making it a key Capital destination.

The NCC is currently redeveloping Nepean Point to create a lively, 21st century park, in the heart of the Capital. The site is closed until summer 2023 to ensure the safety and security of the general public during the redevelopment.

Map of different closures on Nepean Point

The latest on the project

The site has been under construction since November 2019. We have completed the demolition of the Astrolabe Theatre and the removal of monuments and statues, including art sculptures from the National Gallery of Canada. These have been either relocated or are now in storage and undergoing restoration. The plan is to reintegrate them as part of the redevelopment.

In April 2022, the NCC’s Board of Directors approved changes to the site plan. These include the following:

  • The Anishinabe Scout will stand on the park’s north perimeter pathway, observing the Kichi Sibi (Ottawa River).
  • The Samuel de Champlain statue will stand along the internal winding pathway leading to the park’s lookout.
  • An interpretation plan will focus on telling the story of the “Big River Landscape” through nature, using the landscape features of the site and their integral relationship to the Ottawa River.

Impact of site closure

The site is closed for construction purposes, but the public still has access to the remaining National Gallery of Canada art pieces located outside of the construction zone. The NCC and the National Gallery of Canada are taking appropriate measures to protect the art pieces.

The Samuel de Champlain and Anishinabe Scout statues were removed to prepare for construction. As part of this redevelopment, the NCC will move the statues to their new locations within the park.

About the project

The “Big River Landscape” concept plan guides the redevelopment of Nepean Point. It is the winning entry, by Janet Rosenberg & Studio, from the 2017 international design competition.

The design will improve the park in terms of universal accessibility, interpretation, landscaping and new vistas. It also features:

  • two levels of unobstructed views of the Capital Region;
  • an architectural shelter named the Whispering Point; and
  • a new pedestrian bridge recalling the historical pedestrian connection between Major’s Hill Park and Nepean Point.

Through coordination, the project team has refined the winning design. The revisions align with refined cost estimates and changes in the surrounding context.

Engagement

Throughout the project, the NCC consulted the public, federal stakeholders and First Nations partners.

In 2021 and 2022, the NCC held site visits and work sessions with federal stakeholders and representatives of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn. The sessions focused on the approach for the interpretation elements and the final locations for the statues.

Implementation

Part 1

Part 1 of the plan focuses on the park’s landscape design, including the pedestrian bridge to Major’s Hill Park.

Features of the design include the following:

  • improvements to the perimeter wall
  • the construction of a landscape ha-ha feature
  • the construction of a pedestrian bridge, connecting Nepean Point to Major’s Hill Park
  • the construction of an architectural shelter facing the Ottawa River
  • various pathways leading to multiple discovery experiences for visitors
  • intricate mature tree plantings throughout the park site

The perimeter wall and landscape ha-ha feature will offer spectacular unobstructed views of the Capital, and will increase biodiversity in the plantings at the park’s edge.

Part 2

Part 2 of the plan will focus on the entrances to Nepean Point park from Sussex Drive through the National Gallery of Canada property, and the reconfiguration of St. Patrick Street. It is part of a separate project which will need coordination through various federal and municipal partners.

Process and timeline

We launched the Nepean Point redevelopment in 2014. The project is ongoing.

2014: Launch of project
A public planning workshop helped us develop a vision and design elements for Nepean Point

2017: International design competition
The Board of Directors approves the winning proposal, entitled “Big River Landscape,” in November

2019: Beginning of demolition

2020: Board approval of revised concept

2021: Board approval of the remaining design elements

In 2021, the NCC began implementing many elements of the park:

  • the infrastructure required for the various project elements
  • the construction of the below-grade mechanical room
  • the architectural shelter structure
  • the perimeter wall and the landscape ha-ha feature
  • the foundations for lighting fixtures

2022: Board approval of the site plan amendment

2023: Estimated completion of construction

The project is scheduled to be completed, and the site reopened by summer 2023.


The redevelopment implementation of this project is part of the NCC’s major infrastructure projects made possible with the Government of Canada’s $52.4-million investment from the 2020 federal budget.

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