Our Mandate

To promote Downtown Rideau as a shopping, dining and cultural destination; and advocate for its economic viability within the City of Ottawa.


Capitalize on the concentration of shopping, dining, cultural and entertainment niche uses by branding the area as Ottawa’s Retail, Arts & Theatre District — where a sense of “theatre and excitement” is expressed in the physical space and promoted to cultivate an arts appreciative community that attracts people to live, work, shop and visit Downtown Rideau.

2014 – 2018 Strategic Plan

BIA’s Key Strategic Objectives:

  • Public Perception: Partner DRBIA and its members with the city, hotels, transit, tourism industry, arts, U of O and local residents to create a safe and vibrant district in which to shop and walk.
  • Political Awareness: Advocacy to nurture political and bureaucratic contacts at all levels of government to get them working with us.
  • Vision Priority: Build support for our vision by promoting it to members, stakeholders, public and City Hall, in a frequent, consistent, clear and concise manner.

BIA’S Strategies Supporting Vision

Supporting municipal policies and studies for Downtown Rideau (The Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy, City’s Official Plan Policies, City’s Cultural Policies, University of Ottawa Design Strategy, and Downtown Rideau Design Charrette):

  • Turn Nicholas Street into a distinctive boulevard between Rideau and Laurier (with activity at street level from retail and mixed uses) in conjunction with the expansion of the Congress Centre, Rideau Centre, Arts Court and University of Ottawa.
  • Ensure the CF Rideau Centre opens outward onto Nicholas Street , creating life at street level and possible roof terrace reception space for conference delegates over-looking the heritage buildings on Nicholas Street (Arts Court and Hostel Ottawa Jail).
  • Relocate the heritage Land Registry Building to a more focal location within the district and create a public use for it, i.e. a visitor/e-ticketing centre.
  • Create additional performing arts facilities through existing stakeholders such as the University of Ottawa’s arts department’s and property developments.


City’s Key Strategic Directions:

  • Promote Downtown Rideau as a location for innovative arts and culture entrepreneurs.
  • Unlock the heritage resources of Rideau Street.
  • Encourage CF Rideau Centre expansions to open outward at street level.
  • Initiate a plan for the removal of the truck route on Rideau Street.
  • Initiate a plan for the repair and return disjointed road network around Nicholas/Waller to a traditional grid network — upon removal of the truck route.
  • Encourage a better pedestrian connection to the University of Ottawa.
  • Promote residential intensification along Rideau Street above retail and commercial uses.


BIA’s Key Strategic Directions:

  • Pursue removal of interprovincial traffic (trucks, buses, commuters) from the district.
  • Develop a façade improvement program to improve the appearance of properties in the area, with special attention where they abut heritage resources .
  • Encourage retail along Rideau Street to open outward onto the street to create a more attractive and animated streetscape.
  • Improve the pedestrian experience along Rideau Street with ambiance elements.
  • Replace existing buses on Rideau Street with LRT underground to free-up curbside for on-street parking to improve pedestrian experience and encourage patios.
  • Reduce traffic noise, congestion and noxious fumes to improve ambiance.
  • Initiate a vigorous maintenance program with the city that includes hardy trees, landscaping and lighting to make the area more attractive and improve safety perceptions.
  • Improve the visual impression and welcoming gateway aspect of the east moving approach to Rideau Street by removing the city-owned west pedestrian bridge between Rideau Centre and The Bay and re-design the east bridge into a remarkable and inspiring piece of public art.
  • Redesign Colonel By Drive between Rideau Street and Mackenzie King Bridge to improve visual and physical contact between the canal and the Rideau/Congress Centres and encourage business frontages to open outward toward the canal.
  • Identify priority heritage buildings and research incentives and financing to support a maintenance plan to ensure they do not fall into disrepair and include remaining heritage buildings and structures in the City’s Heritage Reference List for protection in support of the area’s emerging cultural destination.
  • Install public art and reinstate artwalks (crosswalks) program in support of the area’s emerging cultural destination.
  • Introduce on-street parking on Rideau Street to provide pedestrian safety, convenience for short-term shopping and traffic calming.
  • Re-route STO transit (Quebec buses) and “thru” OC Transpo transit off Rideau Street.
  • Un-restrict traffic network turning movements to improve accessibility and circulation to/in the area.
  • Create a public square to provide an entertainment venue/gathering space for public celebrations supporting the city’s designation of the area as a premiere cultural and entertainment centre.
  • Enhance street and architectural lighting to create sparkle and add drama to Rideau Street and improve personal safety.