Sparks Street is a pioneering and well-used pedestrian mall adjacent to the Parliamentary Precinct in Canada’s capital. Since its inception in the early 1960s, various attempts have been made to enhance its setting, but these have met with mixed success.
The National Capital Commission (NCC) retained a consulting team to determine the ultimate best use “vocation” for the mall and to provide preliminary design and development strategies for the recommended option. Carl Bray, as part of a team of Queen’s University professors, had already prepared for the NCC a detailed history of the street’s development, and it was this history that informed the choices made for revitalization.
The options considered for the street all included conservation of the heritage resources that remained, and interpretation of the themes and storylines emerging from the streetís history. Carl provided further research, heritage planning and co-facilitation of the public consultation process. The consensus reached was that the street would be best suited to become a cultural corridor, with mixed uses developed around the street’s heritage assets and cultural facilities, and with limited after-hours vehicular access to support these uses.