The 5.6-hectare Victoria Island — a place of special significance to Indigenous peoples in Canada’s Capital Region — is located in the Ottawa River, immediately north of Ottawa’s downtown core.

The site historically supported mixed industrial, commercial and residential land uses dating back to the late 1800s. Soil, groundwater, sediment and surface water at the site are contaminated from these former activities. The NCC is currently in the process of cleaning up the site, which is closed until 2025 to ensure the safety and security of the general public during the cleanup project.

The latest on the project

Remediation work on the timber slide ravine on the south side of the island (Phase 1) has been completed. The competitive public tendering process for the second phase of remediation has also been completed. The majority of construction is expected to be undertaken between October and December 2021.

About the project

Soil samples taken on the island in 2017 revealed elevated levels of contaminants. To ensure long-term safety in terms of both human health and the environment, immediate remediation work was required.

A temporary capping and fencing program was completed on the west side of Victoria Island in spring 2018. As this temporary cap does not satisfy long-term requirements for the protection of human health or the environment, the NCC is undertaking additional environmental remediation work.

Process and timeline

The Victoria Island site remediation project was launched in 2019, and is currently ongoing.

Phase 1 — Completed

Phase 2

To be undertaken between 2021 and 2022:

  • Full-depth remediation of current commercial areas on the west side of the island, or installation of an engineered cap where remediation is not technically feasible
  • Basic site reinstatement, including restoration of the aquatic habitat in the timber slide ravine

Phase 3

To be undertaken between 2022 and 2025:

  • Development of a remedial action plan for the current parkland areas on both east and west sides
  • Installation of an engineered cap and/or remediation of current parkland areas on both east and west sides

About the site

As far back as 9,000 years ago, Indigenous people inhabited the region. Nomadic peoples lingered here to portage and to exchange goods. Archaeological evidence shows that this region was a lively trade hub some 6,000 years ago. The Chaudières Falls (Akikodjiwan or Kîshkâbikedjiwan) was a place of ceremony, as witnessed by Samuel de Champlain in the early 1600s.

The NCC acquired the majority of Victoria Island in the 1960s, and the remainder in April 2018, from Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Victoria Island is a place of special significance to Indigenous peoples in Canada. As part of the Plan for Canada’s Capital, 2017–2067, the NCC will be developing a master plan in partnership with the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation to establish a place of special significance in the Capital for Indigenous peoples and their cultural traditions. Following the completion of the remedial work, Victoria Island will be reopened to the public to enjoy until such time as the master plan for the island is developed and implemented.