The site

Launched in 2016, urbform is a collection of posts about architecture and planning in Ottawa. From time to time, sites in Montreal and other favourite places experienced through travels are likely to pop-up.

As an observer and champion of interesting places and quality design, my aim is to share some photos and information about places that inspire or intrigue. At times, I may offer an idea or two on possible enhancements to a place, or explore buildings / ideas lost to time.

The briefs

Each post examines a building, a site, a theme, or a district. Some are short and some will be lengthy. Briefs looking back at lost buildings or unrealized plans tend to be organized in a timeline of oldest to most recent events, while places that continue to exist / evolve are usually arranged from most recent to oldest activity. If new developments occur or research reveals something of interest, a brief may be updated with the info inserted at the appropriate place in the timeline.

If you have research or photos to contribute, I encourage you to send me a note; if your info fits into the narrative I'm trying to tell, I'll be most thankful and will eagerly credit you as the source of your contribution.


Born in western Canada and raised in eastern Canada, I've lived in Ottawa since 2000. My studies in architectural theory and history led me to a multi-year stint on the Ottawa Built Heritage Advisory Committee. My passions include design and photography, and I do a some small-scale web design as time permits.

Finally, if you enjoy something you find on this site, please consider donating to the Ottawa Food Bank.


Rideau Centre • 50 Rideau Street

CA • ON • Ottawa • Byward Market

shopping centre



first published: 17-Jan-2016
last updated: 17-Jan-2016
author: SKFW

The brief


First opened for business in 1983, the Rideau Centre was born of a consortium of government and private interests.  Several city blocks and substantial buildings were razed, including Postal Terminal 'A', designed by Cecil Burgess.  Some buildings were saved and incorporated into the Rideau Centre development, such as the impressive gothic-detailed Transportation Building found at the corner of Rideau and Sussex Drive.

In 2013, plans were announced that the 30 year old shopping centre would soon be expanded and modernized.  While the redevelopment leveraged a standing 2011 City of Ottawa decision enabling the dismantling and partial reinstatement of the previously-intact Ogilvy Department store, it positively promised reconstruction of a new street-frontage to replace large surface parking lots facing Rideau Street and a direct connection on the Confederation Line, Ottawa's first purpose-built light rail transportation line that's targeted for completion in 2018.

The project also proposed major updates to the two existing pedestrian walkways running above Rideau Street, and ultimately resulted in the complete reconstruction of the wider overpass at the former location of Mosgrove Street and the elimination of the narrower westerly bridge. 

With major new tenants (Nordstrom in 2015 and Simons in 2016) and square footage, the Rideau Centre redevelopment project should be completed in 2016. It's possible that a short stretch of Nicholas Street between Rideau and Besserer could become pedestrian-only in the coming year or so, and future development could arguably include a new hotel as well as condominiums further north along Nicholas.   

Flickr album

Rideau Centre • 50 Rideau