Rideau Canal Crossing Public Art Project

City of Ottawa

Project Background
The Canal, constructed between 1827 and 1832, is an important cultural heritage asset and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as a National Historic Site of Canada, and a Canadian Heritage River. Construction of the Canal was a catalyst for development around which the Capital grew, and it is still a defining element of Canada’s Capital today. In the 1950s and the 1960s, the National Capital Commission (NCC) constructed wooden footbridge, in the winter, annually, between Second Avenue and Herridge Street. 

The objective of the new Rideau Canal crossing is to support sustainable and active transportation solutions by enhancing east-west connectivity and linking the crossing to the broader pedestrian and cycling networks.  The new bridge will improve access for all users of the City’s extensive network of pedestrian multi-use pathways and connect communities such as the Glebe, Old Ottawa South, Lansdowne Park, and Old Ottawa East.

A significant component of the Rideau Canal Crossing project is the beautification, restoration, and expansion of the wetlands area on the western side of the Canal, which includes the restoration of the Lilly Pond. 

The City of Ottawa is working closely with the Algonquins of Ontario on this initiative along with key project stakeholders including the National Capital Commission, Parks Canada, and Transport Canada.


Public Art Vision

The construction of the bridge will include landscaping and the addition of benches along the pathway for resting, meeting friends and watching passersby. This presents an opportunity for unique artist-designed furnishings.  Two benches on the western side of the Rideau Canal, between the Rideau Canal and the re-landscaped wetland area will be artist-designed benches. These benches will help create a unique sense of place and presents an alternative to standardized benches. Although designated as public artworks, the artist-designed furnishings will need to fulfill the traditional functions of a bench or seating element, as well as meet safety requirements set out by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).  The selected artists will work under the mentorship of a third-party manufacturing company contracted by the City of Ottawa to produce the artwork.  The fabricator will translate the artist’s design to production and installation.


Deadline: February 28, 2018 at 4 pm EST
Budget: $20, 000
Information: Allison O’Connor, Public Art Officer

For more information, please download and review the full Call to Artists (including a French version): CREATIVE_CITIES_Call_to_Artists_Rideau_Canal_Crossing.pdf.


To apply

Please visit HERE, or contact Allison O’Connor, Public Art Officer at or 613-244-4429.