Saturday, January 20, 2007

International Malls: Sparks Street Mall

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada - circa 1970s

OK, we're stepping outside for some fresh air today. Welcome to stylish and fashionable Sparks Street Mall, Ottawa's historic outdoor pedestrian mall. If you look on the left side of the photo you can just start to make out that groovy old '70s Woolworth logo, too. From Wikipedia:

"Sparks Street is a street in downtown Ottawa, Canada that was converted into an outdoor pedestrian street in 1966, making it the earliest such street or mall in Canada.

Sparks runs from Elgin Street in the east to Bronson Avenue. The Sparks Street Mall that contains a number of outdoor restaurants and also a number of works of art and fountains only runs from Elgin to Bank Street. The pedestrian only portion continues for another two blocks westward with the final two blocks west of Lyon Street being a regular road.

The mall and most of its buildings are owned and operated by the National Capital Commission."


Anonymous Jeff said...

I walked down Sparks Street about a year and a half ago, and its a beautiful outdoor pedestrian mall. Its located just a few blocks from Parliment and a lot of eateries.

Sat Jan 20, 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger higgy04 said...

I grew up in the Ottawa area so I know this one very well. The pedestrian mall thrived until the Rideau Centre opened in 1983 when a lot of businesses moved there or shut down. A massive redevelopment occured in the late 1980's or early 1990's and the mall has seen a rebound since then. By that time, I moved west to Calgary.

Some of the businesses that I remembered on Sparks Street were Simpson's. The only Ottawa location that is now a Scotiabank. It was a unique store at the time because it did not have any escalators, only elevator operators that took you to one of the five floors. There was a large Henry Birks & Sons store that was huge. It moved to the Rideau Centre claiming it was going to be bigger than their old store. It wasn't even close.

Christmas was a cool place to be on Sparks Street with the stores decorated for the season and the Christmas lights strung throughout the mall.

The Woolworth's in the picture is now home to the CBC's Ottawa Broadcast Centre.

I think there is a Cole's Bookstore further down the street in the picture and the Simpson's was a few doors down from that, I think.

Sat Jan 20, 11:59:00 PM  

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