Wellington Street (Ottawa)
Wellington Street (French: Rue Wellington) is an important street in Ottawa, Canada most notable for being one of the first two streets laid out in Bytown in 1826 (the other being Rideau Street. It is the street upon which Parliament Hill, the Bank of Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada, and the national library Library and Archives Canada are located. The street runs to the west from the Rideau Canal from the juncture where Rideau Street extends to the east. In the downtown it is the farthest north of the east-west running streets, being just south of the Ottawa River.
Just west of the bridge over the canal Wellington forms the northern edge of Confederation Square, south of which runs Elgin Street. West of the square is the Langevin Block, home of the Prime Minister's Office. Also on this stretch, opposite Parliament Hill, is the former American embassy and future portrait gallery and the Wellington Building housing minor MPs. At Metcalfe, directly south of the Peace Tower, is an open plaza and the tourist information office. At Wellington and Bank Street is the Wellington Building with the headquarters of the Bank of Canada on the other side of Bank. Opposite the bank on the northern side of the street is the Confederation Building.
Beyond the parliament area there are a number of other important buildings. The Supreme Court of Canada is just to the west of the Confederation building, and opposite it is St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church and the East and West Memorial Buildings. West of the Supreme Court is the National Library and Archives of Canada, with the Garden of the Provinces across the street. Between the Supreme Court and the National Library is a large open area that is today a mix of park land and large parking lots. Until the 1970s this was home to a cluster of temporary buildings that had been erected in the Second World War to provide much needed office space. In the 1970s there was a plan to build both a home for the Federal Court and the National Gallery. A design competition was even held for the National Gallery, but in the end the government cancelled both projects.
West of the Ottawa O-Train Bayview station, a separate segment (originally an extension of the same street) is now known as Wellington Street West, and continues through the Hintonburg and Island Park neighbourhoods which becomes Richmond Road at Island Park Drive.
Both sections of Wellington are four-lane historic urban arterial roads with a speed limit of 50 km/h (30 mph), although the flow is generally even slower than that due to high pedestrian traffic.
When Bytown was first laid out, the street was named after the Duke of Wellington, who ordered the construction of the Rideau Canal in 1825, and who is thus one of the founders of the city. Sir John A. Macdonald, the first prime minister of the Dominion of Canada, told an Ottawa audience at Lansdowne Park in 1874: “The Duke of Wellington had previously decided that Ottawa was a most important point from a military point of view and had caused the Rideau canal to be built.”
A number of proposals have been made to "Canadianize" the street's name. After the death of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau renaming it after him was raised as a possibility, but this was not undertaken.
Wellington Street from Bay Street to the Rideau Canal showing the prominent structures located along it. See Downtown Ottawa for a map of the entire area.
- PDF (1.49 MiB), accessed 15 November 2006
- West Wellington Community Association, accessed 15 November 2006