Ottawa

Ottawa Art Gallery sees beauty in Lansdowne move

The Ottawa Art Gallery could be moving into the redeveloped Lansdowne Park as the main tenant of the commercial centre, according to a new proposal the city is considering.

The Ottawa Art Gallery could be moving into the redeveloped Lansdowne Park as the main tenant of the commercial centre, according to a new proposal the city is considering.

The gallery, the City of Ottawa, and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, the developers behind the plan to redevelop Lansdowne Park, have begun talks to house a new gallery there.

Coun. Peter Hume, who is pushing for the plan, said the discussions have the added bonus of eliminating the need for the city to continue with plans to find a new, larger home for the gallery in Arts Court in Ottawa, where space is limited.

"There are opportunities to create a space economically that would display all of the gallery's wares and we wouldn't have to build specialty building or space for them," Hume said.

That's music to the ears of Ottawa Art Gallery president Mela Constantinidi, who said as much as 90 per cent of the gallery's collection is in storage because of a lack of space.

"With the gallery being in such a site we will not only be accessible to people in Ottawa and the surrounding area but we'll also become more of a destination for tourists," Constantinidi said.

While the National Art Gallery is home to the visual art of the world, the Ottawa Art Gallery takes pride in its decidedly more local and national bent. Its crown jewel is the 1,600-work Firestone Collection of Canadian Art, which includes work by A.Y. Jackson, Emily Carr and other prominent artists.

Ottawa has been considering new possibilities for the revitalization of Lansdowne, which holds Frank Clair Stadium, the Ottawa Civic Centre and venues that are home to the city's farmers markets.

Plans considered thus far have focused more on a commercial revitalization with some land dedicated to green space.

Council is expected to vote on a final proposal from Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group in June.

With files from the CBC's Sandra Abama

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