The Carp River and the City of Ottawa

How the Carp River Can Support the City’s Vision

The City of Ottawa has made knowledge workers and the businesses that employ them the main target of its economic development program, Invest Ottawa.

Many studies by futurists, urban planners, and academics have examined the complex mix of characteristics that attract and retain talented people.  The concepts of choice – professional and personal – and community vibrancy form a recurring theme that defines what “quality of life” means not only to knowledge workers, but to all citizens.

The attributes of a community that attracts [sic] highly talented “creative workers” center around quality of life issues, psychological wants and needs, and “brand.”  – What Attracts Knowledge Workers, the Work Design Collaborative, March 2007.

Outdoor recreation, defined by the variety offered and the ease of accessing it, is always cited as a key element of a city’s brand and desirability.

The City has made commuting by bicycle a high priority with emphasis on its urban/suburban core within the Greenbelt.  However, there are other workplace destinations than downtown.  In the west end high tech cycling commuters currently make heavy use of the pathways that run through the Kanata Lakes, Beaver Pond, Trillium Woods area to access the March Road technology corridor.  With the relocation of the Department of National Defence from various locations in the downtown core to the former Nortel Carling campus, there will be increased demand for pathways from Kanata, Carp, and Stittsville.

Trails along the City’s suburban waterways outside the Greenbelt offer ideal multi-season, multi-use solutions for recreation and safe commuting:  bicycling, walking, jogging, cross-country skiing.  With the construction of the Kanata West and Kanata Ridge developments and the Terry Fox extension, the City has the ideal opportunity to locate paths along or near the Carp River, Poole Creek and Feedmill Creek as part of its remediation and preservation plans.  These trails will be quickly and easily accessible by a large population of workers and families in the growing Stittsville/Kanata West/Kanata North communities.

In support of this broader vision, the Friends of the Carp River is relaunching its leadership of a Carp River-Village Remediation Project at the village of Carp from March Road through to the Defienbunker.  In addition to improving the riparian quality of the river, a pathway along this section with benches and interpretative panels is planned.


The American Planning Association has an excellent set of case studies on the benefits to a city of parks and natural areas.   Their information on the Economic Development benefits in terms of attracting knowledge workers is of particular interest.

What attracts and retains knowledge workers/students: The quality of place or career opportunities? The cases of Montreal and Ottawa“, by Sebastien Darchen and Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay, Cities, Volume 27, Issue 4, August 2010.

What Attracts Knowledge Workers?  Generating a Community Infrastructure for the Innovation Economy“, The Work Design Collaborative, March 2007.

A Whole New Mind“, Daniel Pink, Riverhead Trade, 2006.

The Flight of the Creative Class:  The New Global Competition for Talent“, Richard Florida, Harper Business, 2005.