Can Ottawa Become 'Cool'?

<p>Amid recent talk amongst Canadian officials about the future of Canada's capital city, Ottawa, some say the government city is too square to become an international destination. But others see a way for Ottawa to "swagger".</p>
April 22, 2007, 11am PDT | Nate Berg
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"How does Ottawa become a swagger-worthy city?"

"A city 'with swagger' suggests a town that rocks; where people look around and find reasons to say 'Cool, huh?'"

"That's what happens in places like Providence, Rhode Island; San Antonio, Texas; Quebec City; Barcelona and Copenhagen. Is Ottawa next? While some observers see potential here to notch it up, others say there's no way for a government town to put a swagger in its step."

"It's a tough challenge, says Ottawa architect Ron Keenberg. 'The problem in Ottawa is what people do for a living. We're a city populated by people who went for the safe thing and joined the government. In Ottawa, everything is safe. People don't swagger.'"

"'Still, Ottawa is actually becoming a pretty city and a healthy city. In summer, it's totally buzzing with people.'"

"What ruins Ottawa's financial district are the street-deadening activities on main floors, such as banking and office tower lobbies. He says the city can boost buzz with tax incentives: higher taxes for office use of main floors and no taxes for restaurants and bars with sidewalk cafés, and by allowing metered parking on both sides of downtown streets."

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Published on Thursday, April 19, 2007 in The Ottawa Citizen
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