Garden of the Provinces and Territorities

Wellington Street at Bay Street, Ottawa, ON.

In the 1950s, the Garden of the Provinces was situated on a 1.6-hectare site on what was the less-developed, western edge of downtown Ottawa.  Ascending Cathedral Hill, the urban park comprises two formal terraces that overlook LeBreton Flats.  The Garden is characterized by a strong rectilinear composition, complementing the modernity of the West Memorial Building (Allward & Gouinlock, 1958).

The garden was executed in a combination of modern and traditional materials, principally exposed aggregate concrete and limestone.  A canopy of deciduous trees shades much of the park, and there are also gardens and water features.  Animating the upper terrace is the Fountain of the Great Lakes, in concrete, by Emil G. van der Meulen.  The focal point of the lower terrace is the metallic Tree Fountain by Norman Slater.

Floral emblems representing each of the provinces are mounted on parapet walls to the west.  The park is further animated by flags of the each of the provinces, which were positioned in order of their entry to Confederation.

In 2005, the park was rededicated and renamed “The Garden of the Provinces and Territories”, to include the three territories.  While a federal property, the park sits within Ottawa’s Cathedral Hill Heritage Conservation District.  The garden remains one of the principal designed landscapes of the modern era within the National Capital.

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