June PMR Newsletter

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Friends of Prime Ministers’ Row,

After a long, icy winter, and chilly spring it seems safe to say that summer is finally here! The sunny skies and warm breezes have motivated us to put pen to paper and fingers to keyboards to assemble this little update. As usual, we have been busy on a number of fronts and we’re happy to share this season’s news and developments with you.

You’ve heard us talk about it, and soon we want to hear you talk about it! PMR was excited to finalize our High-Level Design Plan for the Laurier Avenue streetscape earlier this year with the amazing and talented team from GSM Project. We worked with Interactive Designer Erika Kiessner, Project Director Hani Salhab, Content Director Jeremy Taylor and Head of Graphic Design Laurence Pasteels to put together a high-level concept for the space. We’re looking forward to sharing this plan with you via community consultations in the winter, as the starting point for ongoing dialogue regarding how this vision should evolve and develop.

Our winter Whisky Tasting at allsaints Event Space was a rousing success. Under the expert guidance of Eric Godmaire (founder of the Club de scotch whisky de l’Outaouais), Scotch lovers from all corners of the city came together in the underground chapel for a night of food, music and revelry. With the smooth sounds of Kyle Jordan’s jazz resonating through Sir Robert Borden’s old church, Eric took us through five ‘spirited’ selections, answered dozens of questions, and kept the crowd entertained and engaged. Thanks to the overwhelming demand and your positive feedback, we’ll be sure to include another Whisky Tasting event in next year’s program.

Behind the scenes, we have been working hard to make Prime Ministers’ Row a healthy and sustainable organization. We’re pleased to announce that PMR has recently been granted charitable status. We owe our thanks to lawyer Carole Chouinard, a partner in Gowling WLG’s Ottawa office, who is co-leader of the firm’s Charities and Not-for-Profit Organizations Group and who provided pro bono legal support to PMR. Carole’s expertise and assistance were critical to the success of our efforts.

We also owe a debt of gratitude to partner Velma McColl at Earnscliffe Strategy Group for her pro bono assistance in developing PMR’s government outreach strategy. PMR is a complex, multi-part, multi-million-dollar project involving all three levels of government. Velma’s deep experience has been extremely meaningful to PMR as we navigate these challenges and opportunities.

Additionally, PMR recently benefited from a Coaching Grant from the National Trust for Canada. Under the auspices of this grant, we have been working closely with social enterprise expert Jonathan Wade of Social Delta and Robert Pajot of the National Trust to undertake sustainable business planning. These efforts will be critical to our long-term success.

We continue to benefit from other interesting collaborations as well. In partnership with the Michaëlle Jean Center for Global and Community Engagement, the students of Dr. Daina Mazutis, Endowed Professor of Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability at the Telfer School of Management (University of Ottawa), will be undertaking additional feasibility studies for PMR in the fall term as part of a community service learning (CSL) project. Along similar lines, Sandy Hiller and ASH Director Trina Cooper-Bolam is working with Carleton University architecture and heritage conservation colleagues to plan a transdisciplinary design charrette that will bring together residents and Carleton University students in winter 2019 to develop a streetscape design for Laurier Avenue East and surrounding parts of the neighbourhood.

François Bregha has been a key champion for Prime Ministers’ Row and we wanted to take a minute to celebrate his efforts and thank him for his time. A committed community volunteer, François has done a lot of heavy lifting for PMR this year, leading to several important and concrete achievements. Not only was François the leader of the ever-popular Prime Ministers’ Row Jane’s Walk in early May, he recently created a remarkable record of the astounding history of Sandy Hill that is now accessible online at http://history.ash-acs.ca/

Speaking of Sandy Hill’s extraordinary history and built heritage, City Council unfortunately gave approval to the High Commission of Uganda to demolish 231 Cobourg Street—the former residence of Lester B. Pearson—owing to the long-term neglect of the property and the current state of the building. Prime Ministers’ Row was active alongside community partners in advocating against this loss of precious heritage, making presentations at the City’s Built Heritage Sub-Committee and Planning Committee, and we were disheartened by Council’s decision. Looking forward, however, we’re pleased that Council has required the High Commission of Uganda to work with Prime Ministers’ Row to develop and fund an appropriate commemoration for the house and the role it played in the life and legacy of Canada’s 14th Prime Minister.

Our ability to build a strong organization, transform Laurier Avenue East into dynamic and engaging cultural space, and connect Canadians with their stories and their history is in your hands!  As friends and supporters of PMR your enthusiasm for and financial support of our efforts is critical and very much appreciated.

So we’d like to close on a note of thanks!  Wishing you all the best for a healthy, happy and relaxing summer. See you in the fall.