“When people in Ottawa think
about going out,” Cotroneo says, “we want them to think
of Preston Street and the many restaurants and entertainment venues
Since establishment the BIA has been
involved with a wide range of community projects some of which are
Taking place annually September 21, 22 and 23, this traditional celebration
of the end of the grape season highlights quality wines and foods
along Preston Street – the heart of Ottawa’s Little Italy.
Grape stomping, winemaking, harvest foods and wines are all part of
A new Ottawa landmark was installed in the spring of 2002 at the corner
of Carling Avenue and Preston Street. The Corso Italia Portal Archway
serves as a welcome entranceway to the Preston Street area and is
the first of its kind in Ottawa. It was completely funded by the merchants
of the Preston Street BIA.
The archway consists of four granite
columns – two located on each side of Preston Street –
with a steel truss arching over the street.
“The plan,” says Joe Cotroneo,
a long-time BIA member, “is to install another arch at the other
end of Preston Street where it meets Wellington.”
After a lengthy approval process, by which permission had to be obtained
from the Ontario Ministry of Transport, the installment of wall murals
on the Queensway underpass has finally begun. The murals will depict
the heritage of the Italian community.
“Four murals have been completed,”
says Joe Cotroneo, a long-time BIA member, “and we’ll
install those this spring . Eventually we’d like both
sides of the underpass to be covered with murals.”
The murals are being painted by Karole
Marois, a Florentine-trained artist, as 4x8 individual pieces of art.
Once finished, they will be installed on special steel tracks to create
an outdoor gallery. The Queensway underpass will serve as a means
of protection from the elements of weather so the murals are expected
to last up to 20 years.
Beech Street Lofts
The former Centretown Lumber Supply store was converted into trendy
two-storey lofts that have been very well-received in the current
real estate market. The lofts have increased the number of residents
and pedestrians in the area and created a new style of housing for
The high-technology firm of Hummingbird Corporation, based in Toronto,
relocated their Carling Avenue offices to the former warehouse on
Aberdeen Street (also formerly a part of the Centretown Lumber Supply
complex). The Preston Street area was the preferred choice of location
by the employees.
The Preston Street BIA also supports the reconstruction of the Plant
Pool – an Ottawa landmark for generations – situated at
the corner of Somerset and Preston Street. Ottawa City Council has
approved this project and design plans are now underway. The pool
will be accompanied by a community centre and parking lot. The soccer
field, basketball courts and children’s playground will remain.
Construction will officially begin March 28, 2003, with completion
expected by the spring of 2004.
There are always lots of colourful banners on the Preston Street hydro
posts. The BIA has the most extensive banner program in the City of
Ottawa – five changes per year that depict the different seasons
and celebrations. The designs were created by graphic artist Dario
Catena, a member of the BIA.
The Preston Street BIA continues to be one of the largest sponsors
of Italian Week.
In the past, the BIA has contributed funding, goods and services worth
$15,000, plus its members contribute another $5000. The BIA also helps
the Italian Week
volunteer board obtain grants from the City of Ottawa and organize
the merchants along Preston Street.