55th Conference in Ottawa

55th IMCL Conference

Healthy, 10-Minute Neighborhoods

Design Awards Competition on

Designing Healthy, 10-Minute Neighborhoods

May 14-18, 2018
Ottawa, Canada

50+ AICP CM Credits Available

Photo by: Denis Tangney Jr.

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the 55th International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) Conference in Ottawa.

Architects and planners have shaped our cities, parks, and landmarks, in an often beautiful and sustainable manner. Canada owes some of our most stunning and functional features to the hard work and brilliance of our architecture community.

I encourage all of you at this year’s conference to reflect on the importance of making cities livable for our next generation and the generations to come. Canada’s infrastructure continues to grow, and planners and architects are uniquely positioned to help enhance and improve our surroundings.

Thank you to the organizers of this amazing event and to all of you who are in attendance tonight to teach and learn.

Please accept my warmest welcome and best wishes for a memorable IMCL conference.

Justin Trudeau
The Prime Minister of Canada

Dear International Making Cities Livable,

Ottawa is thrilled to be the first Canadian city to host your prestigious conference. We look forward to this opportunity to learn from the experiences of the world-renowned professionals that will be speaking at the conference, and share with you our own journey toward our goal of being the most livable major city in North America.

Canada’s capital is at the heart of a thriving metropolitan area of 1.4 million people, one of the five most populous in Canada. Ottawa has a unique story and urbanism model based on choices we made throughout our rich planning history. We have the highest level of transit usage (23%) of all North American cities without a subway thanks to our invention of the Transitway, a dedicated Bus Rapid Transit network that is now almost 40 years old and has allowed the city to grow more compactly than typical North American cities, and thanks to which we have retained a strong and vibrant walking and transit culture.

The 55th IMCL Conference will feature a series of presentations on the Ottawa model of urbanism. Ottawa is working hard towards the 2018 opening of the city’s new Light Rail transit system, which represents the graduation of our 40-year Bus Rapid Transit culture to the next level of rapid transit. You will hear how Ottawa achieves high transit ridership, exceeds its intensification targets, addresses contemporary issues of urban form and design, and uses regulatory land use tools to support its goals of 50% non-car mode share by 2031.

Ottawa in the spring is also one of Canada’s most charming cities, with its laid-back yet bustling street life, well-used buses, myriad of festivals and cultural events, pedestrian- and bike-friendly neighbourhoods, intimate bars and inventive restaurants, amidst the spectacular monuments of the nation and a breathtaking natural setting.

Welcome to our city.

Jim Watson, Mayor

IMCL is delighted to announce that the 55th IMCL Conference will take place in Ottawa, with the very active partnership of the City, and will focus on the immensely important theme of Healthy, 10-Minute Neighborhoods.

Efforts are under way around the world to create healthy neighborhoods where walking, biking and public transit are more attractive, reducing dependence on the car. We all know this is the most important way to assure an active, sustainable future for our grandchildren, and to fight climate change.

New transit-oriented development encourages the creation of walkable mixed-use neighborhoods around transit stations. Light rail, streetcar lines and buffered bike routes in existing residential neighborhood spur higher density infill mixed-use. Suburban shopping malls are finally being replaced with mixed-use residential, office, commercial and service facilities. In the developing world, dense new cities are rising, promoted as “green” and “smart”.

But do these developments promote social health, community, contact with nature, equity, and well-being? Are they good environments for children and elders? Are they human scale? Do they include neighborhood squares and parks, a mix of all income and age groups, workplaces, schools, civic facilities, and services, farmers markets, festivals - and beauty for all? Are they creating healthy, 10-minute neighborhoods?

Ottawa is an ideal setting for us to discuss these issues. In 2018 the City is opening the light metro Confederation Line, its new rapid transit system, and unveiling plans for several new neighborhoods around transit stations. The City is welcoming IMCL and providing a most hospitable context for discussion of these important issues.

Join us in Canada’s handsome capital city, Ottawa for an exciting conference where we will share and examine the best models as we pursue the goal of promoting healthy, sustainable, equitable 10-minute neighborhoods.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard, Ph.D.(Arch.)
Co-founder & Director, IMCL Conference

Conference venue

The City of Ottawa is hosting the conference at the Shaw Centre, Ottawa’s primary convention centre on the banks of the Rideau Canal, just a few steps from The Lord Elgin Hotel. The building features a dramatic curved glass facade on the Colonel By Drive front that offers magnificent views of the Rideau Canal, Parliament, and downtown area.

The Shaw Centre was built to be as environmentally friendly as possible, and in January 2013, was awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S Green Building Council.

The Lord Elgin Hotel

IMCL has reserved a block of rooms at the 4-star luxury The Lord Elgin Hotel, a handsome historic landmark immediately across the Rideau Canal from the Shaw Centre. Built in the Chateau-style to complement the houses of Parliament nearby, and named after the 8th Earl of Elgin, it was constructed in limestone with the help of Scottish stonemasons.

In celebration of its 75th anniversary this elegant, comfortable hotel was just renovated in a classic and Art Deco style.

Special rates are available to IMCL participants after registration.

Getting to Ottawa


You can convert your Euros or US dollars to Canadian dollars at the airport and at a number of downtown locations, the closest of which (from the Conference location) is at the Rideau Centre, right off the street entrance from the Mackenzie King Bridge. The current exchange rate (April 2018) is €0.63 or USD$0.78 per Canadian dollar. This will make your stay a pleasant bargain. Major credit cards are widely accepted, as is (increasingly) ApplePay.

By Air

Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport offers over 130 non-stop direct flights daily to more than 50 destinations in Canada, all major US hub airports (New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Detroit, Philadelphia) and two of the largest EU hubs (London and Frankfurt).

Taxis, car service and car rental are just steps outside the airport. The distance to downtown is approximately 14 km and takes about 20 minutes (without traffic) at a cost of about $35 CAD. Uber and Lyft operate in Ottawa.

OC Transpo transit service from the airport to downtown is by bus route 97. A single ride costs $3.50, a day pass (good for unlimited use in one day) will cost $10.50. Purchase the Day Pass from a driver on your first ride of the day. For all rides, bring the exact amount as the driver cannot make change. Seniors 65 and older ride OC Transpo FREE on Wednesdays.

By Train

Via Rail offers numerous daily departures to Ottawa from all major cities in southern Ontario and southern Quebec. Amtrack offers rail service from New York to Montreal, which means an easy transfer to a Via train going to Ottawa.

Ottawa’s Central Train Station is located 10 minutes east of downtown. Another VIA Rail station is located 25 min west of the downtown at Fallowfield-Barrhaven. If you are headed downtown from points west, do not get off there. The Central Station is another 15 minutes on the train.

From the Central Train Station, you can take either taxis, Uber/Lyft or the bus downtown. Taxis are lined up outside the main entrance of the Train Station. Route to downtown is approximately 6 km and will take about 10 minutes (without traffic). Cost will be about $20. There is also an OC Transpo transit station just outside of the Train Station. The WESTBOUND 61 runs about every 2-3 minutes at peak period and every 5-9 minutes otherwise. The trip downtown will take about 18 minutes. A single ride costs $3.50.

By Bus

Greyhound Voyageur offers numerous daily departures to Ottawa from all major cities in North America. The Central Bus Station is located right downtown, close to Bank Street.

For OC Transpo bus service to the Lord Elgin Hotel, walk four blocks from the Greyhound Station to the corner of Gladstone Ave. and Bank Street and take the 14 ST. LAURENT on Gladstone Ave. going east; that route takes you onto Elgin Street. Other nearby bus service along Bank Street is through routes 6, 7 and 11. If you are going to a hotel in the ByWard Market area, those routes will take you there – alight at Rideau Centre. A single ride costs $3.50.

By Road

The major highways into Ottawa are the 417 (also known as the Queensway), 416, 174, 7, 16 and 31 in Ontario; and the 148, 50 and 5 in Quebec. Many streets in downtown Ottawa are one-way. Plan your trip to your final destination accordingly. There is a three-hour parking limit on all City of Ottawa streets unless otherwise marked. During rush hour (7am to 9am, 3:30pm to 5:30pm), many downtown streets prohibit parking and stopping. Pay attention to signs!

If you are driving and do not have hotel parking, please note that most (if not all) on-street parking is metered. Download the Pay-by-phone app (iPhone, Android) to manage your time remotely.

Take note that all road signs in Canada are metric. The highway speed limit is 100 km/h (60 mph). In the city, residential streets are generally 40 km/h (25 mph), main streets are 50 km/h (30 mph) and avenues are 60 km/h (40 mph). Similarly, gas is sold by litre. Current prices are around CAD $1.30/L ($1.00 USD per litre, or UDS$3.75/US gallon).

Using the transit system

Ottawa has an efficient, frequent and well-used transit system, the experience of which is part of soaking up the spirit of the city. Do not be surprised to find packed buses full of singing students at 9-10 pm going up Bank Street or down Rideau Street. Also, do not be surprised to see parents with children, strollers, and businessmen and women in suits and briefcases sharing seats with skateboarders and construction workers.

The Transitway (North America’s first true BRT system), now 35 years old, is served by 10 lines and has 68 stations. The O-Train (Trillium Line) is an LRT line with 5 stations. The 60- and 90-series bus routes serve the Transitway – good system maps posted at major stops and all stations show which lines serve which stations. The 95 is the main east-west line; the 97 is the main north-south line and reaches the airport. Transitway service is 24 hours. Peak service is every 2-3 minutes; during the day it’s every 5-9 minutes; at night every 15-20 minutes.

Inside the city, all mainstreets have frequent service. From the Byward Market to Lansdowne, you’ll take the bus on Rideau Street at stop 4A in front of McDonald’s/Tim Hortons, near the entrance to The Bay. The routes to take to Lansdowne are the 6 SOUTH KEYS, 6X BILLINGS BRIDGE or 7 CARLETON. Returning from Lansdowne, the 6 ROCKCLIFFE or the 7 ST-LAURENT. Those routes will take you along Wellington Street, right by Parliament Hill, and down the entire length of Bank Street.

From Elgin Street, you can take the 14 CARLINGTON to Little Italy or the 5 BILLINGS BRIDGE to Old Ottawa South and the antiques district. Returning from Little Italy, take the 14 ST-LAURENT on Gladstone Avenue. From Old Ottawa South, the 5 RIDEAU at Bank and Riverdale.

To visit Chinatown, Wellington West and Westboro, you can use the 11 BAYSHORE from Rideau Street, which will take you on a colourful and very diverse crosstown trip along one of our longest continuous mainstreets. To return, take the 11 RIDEAU.

Those routes run with a 5-10 minute frequency in the morning and afternoon peaks, otherwise at 10-15 minute frequencies into the evening.

To know where your bus is, download the Ottawa Bus Buddy app (iPhone, Android) and it will pinpoint your location, then show you the GPS location of the next 2 or 3 buses and give you real-time information on the next arrival.