Osborne Village gets new outlook with bell tower changes

The bell tower at the corner of Osborne Street and Stradbrook Avenue that’s been a staple in the Village for more than 20 years is about to get an overhaul.

Work to create public lookout included in final stage of streetscaping project started in 2015

Osborne Village BIZ executive director Stephanie Meilleur stands at the bell tower in the Village that's slated to become a lookout tower as part of a streetscaping project started in 2015. (Sabrina Carnevale/CBC)

Things are changing in Osborne Village.

The bell tower at the corner of Osborne Street and Stradbrook Avenue that's been a staple in the Village for more than 20 years is going to be transformed into an outlook that will be open to the public.

"This will be what we believe is the highest point for a lookout tower on this side of the city, and we are looking at making it 100 per cent accessible for everyone," said Stephanie Meilleur, executive director of the Osborne Village BIZ.

Once the bells are removed, the tower will become a lookout that's going to be open to the public. (Sabrina Carnevale/CBC)
The bells will be removed from the tower and the structure — which stands over 50 feet tall — will be converted into a lookout tower that Meilleur says will likely include a lift to make it completely accessible.

The area around the tower will also get new streetscaping, part of a larger project that started in 2015.

"The bell tower was put in as part of a revitalization plan in 1995 … and it was kind of created to become more of a destination point," Meilleur said.

"But we have found that over those amount of years, it's aged and it's ready for a revitalization."

Exactly what the area will look like will be up to those living in the community, Meilleur said.

The BIZ is holding an event at the corner on May 12 to hear from locals about what they'd like to see done with the space.

People attending the event will see a new shipping container at the corner, which will be painted and repainted by local artists every two weeks.

Area residents are being asked to help decide how to revitalize the space around the bell tower. (Sabrina Carnevale/CBC)

There were 48 new bike racks, 16 benches, a number of stools and colour-changing lanterns installed in the Village during the first two phases of the streetscaping project.

Meilleur said the work is being done to bring more people into the area.

"It's physics — people go where people are," she said.

"By having this big, beautiful area that we have here — and it's not being utilized to its maximum potential — we're looking at different ways that we can make this a destination hub.

"It's part of revitalizing a community, revitalizing a neighbourhood."

The third phase of the revitalization is expected to cost $250,000 to $300,000, which will be raised through a fundraising campaign that kicks off May 12, Meilleur said.

With files from Sabrina Carnevale