Wateridge Village/Village des Riverains: a collection of stories

How has this area evolved over generations?

Canada Lands Company is developing a commemoration program to guide how Algonquin, military, francophonie, and other histories are reflected in the ongoing Wateridge Village/Village des Riverains development. The commemoration program is being developed in partnership with the Algonquins of Ontario and is supported by ERA Architects Inc., the Dept of Words & Deeds, and the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

The commemoration program will culminate in a handbook that will provide Canada Lands Company and its development partners with collected histories, design principles, precedents and guidelines to implement commemorative features within the site’s emerging public realm. Commemorative features may include community signage and wayfinding, public art, street furniture and light fixtures, pavement detailing, and artifact display.
The program will be informed by historical research, outreach and story collection with Algonquin communities, as well as stakeholder groups. Key elements of this research and outreach include:

  • Historical overview of Algonquin peoples in the region and on the site
  • Military history of the former RCAF Station Rockcliffe
  • Outreach and story collection with Algonquin communities including Algonquin Veterans
  • Outreach and story collection with military veterans and the francophonie
  • Collaboration with the Canada Aviation & Space Museum to support outreach activities and historical research
  • Online story collection activities with the public and other stakeholders

The Commemoration Handbook will be completed in spring 2022.

Aerial view of the Wateridge Village site.
Two people canoeing in Algonquin Park

Honouring the Algonquin People at Wateridge Village

Since time immemorial, the Algonquin people have inhabited this region of the Ottawa Valley. So long is their history, so deep is their spirit, and so integral was their existence in shaping Ottawa’s history, that even the name Ottawa itself is Algonquin for “trade”.

The 2010 Algonquins of Ontario – Canada Lands Company Participation Agreement provides a framework for an ongoing relationship and the realization of mutual benefits as the Wateridge Village at Rockcliffe site is developed. Specifically, the Participation Agreement provides opportunities for cooperation between the Algonquins of Ontario and Canada Lands Company, including:

  • Commemoration of the history and connection of the Algonquin people with the site;
  • AOO engagement in all stages of concept development, land use planning and detailed design; and
  • The opportunity for AOO to acquire lots or blocks under the municipally-approved plan, as development takes place.

The Participation Agreement sets out that the history and connection of the Algonquin people with the Rockcliffe lands be recognized through the installation of commemorative elements, the design of park spaces or the naming of streets. Early consultations with the Algonquin Negotiation Representatives and Elders have indicated that the two main purposes of commemoration are the:

  • Provision of space with cultural or spiritual value to the Algonquin people, to which all people will have access; and
  • Education of the general public about the meaning of this land to the Algonquin people, referencing Algonquin language, culture and inherent relationship with nature.

Algonquin commemoration initiatives at Wateridge Village may include:

  • Using the four traditional Algonquin colours associated with the four cardinal directions: white (north), yellow (east), red (south), and black (west).
  • Incorporating concentric circles in design layouts and details.
  • Referring to Algonquin teachings that anticipate the coming together of different cultures in a relationship of respect (Unity).
  • Designing in a way that helps to educate others about Algonquin culture.
  • Planting or retaining trees and shrubs of significance to the Algonquin way of life and spirituality.

Learn more: www.tanakiwin.com

A Salute to Wateridge Village’s
Military & Aviation Heritage

Beneath your feet is a place where many took to the skies. In the 1920’s, the Wateridge Village grounds were home to the RCAF Station Rockcliffe — the country’s showcase air station. Not only did this base play an integral role in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, but it also conducted military aerial photography to map Canada, air transportation and aeronautical experimentation from this very spot.

In 1964, when the military ceased flying from here, Rockliffe housed one of the world’s more significant historic aircraft collections of the Canadian War Museum, the early National Aviation Museum and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Paying homage to the airmen, engineers, and other important personnel who walked these grounds is an honour, and one that will be celebrated with thoughtful street naming, public art, and commemorative signage throughout Wateridge Village.

Father holding son while son pretends he is an airplane