Nepean Point is one of the most spectacular lookouts in Canada’s Capital, making it a key Capital destination. At the highest point of the site is a majestic statue of Samuel de Champlain, who explored the Ottawa River in 1613.

Current Project

The demolition of the Astrolabe Theatre and associated infrastructure began in 2019, as they have reached the end of their life cycle, no longer meets universal accessibility standards and poses a potential risk to the public. The demolition will include the removal of seating, stairs, railings, light standards and ticket booth, as well as contaminated soil.

To ensure the public’s safety, access to the construction site will be closed, and a perimeter fence will be in place for the duration of the work.

Accessible public art

The public will still have access the following art pieces located outside of the construction zone:

  • One Hundred Foot Line, by Roxy Paine 
  • Majestic, by Michel de Broin
  • Black Nest and Water Planet, by Bill Vazan
  • Nature Will Reclaim You, by Nicholas Galanin

The statue of Samuel de Champlain will not be accessible to the public, as it will be located inside the perimeter fence.

Project Implementation

  • Demolition work began in mid-November 2019
  • The site will be closed until summer 2020 to ensure the safety and security of the general public.

About the redevelopment project

A two-stage international design competition to redevelop Nepean Point will create a lively, 21st century green space in the heart of the Capital. The NCC’s long-term vision for this area is to build multi-use recreational pathways connecting cultural institutions, the existing pathway network and green spaces, to create a continuous promenade from the Rideau Canal to Rideau Falls Park.

The design competition followed a June 2014 public planning workshop, where the public, community stakeholders and interest groups highlighted a vision for the site, themes, objectives and guiding principles toward building a prominent destination that residents and visitors can enjoy.

The winning 2017 proposal, entitled “Big River Landscape,” was submitted by Janet Rosenberg & Studio Inc. with Patkau Architects, Blackwell Structural Engineers and ERA Architects Inc.

The redevelopment of Nepean Point presents an opportunity to include new interpretation, innovative design, improved landscaping and enhanced public access.

Next steps

Subject to the availability of funding and federal approvals from its board, the NCC is proposing to move forward in implementing Part I of the project plan:

  • Temporary removal, rehabilitation and storage of the Samuel de Champlain statue and monument, the Anishinabe Scoutstatue, the boundary marker, and the Centennial Survey Monument.
  • Temporary relocation of the National Gallery of Canada’s Black Nest, Water Planet and Majestic art sculptures and protection of the 100 Foot Line and Nature Will Reclaim You sculptures.
  • Site works related to the perimeter of the park, including the restoration of minor sections of the existing perimeter wall and the construction of a recessed landscape design element, a ha-ha border feature around the majority of the park perimeter.
  • Restoration of segments of the perimeter wall, and excavation of base materials in areas for the ha-ha feature that will replace the existing perimeter wall.
  • Removal of trees that are in poor health.
  • Foundation and infrastructure work toward a pedestrian bridge linking Major’s Hill Park and Nepean Point.

A notice of intent on this project is also available on the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry.

The NCC will share more details on the next phases of this exciting project in spring/summer 2020, following the initial phase of work.