Organization
Advisory Board Statements & Biographies

Mark Brandt

 Statement:

I see opportunity on the brink of being lost.

Vision:Chaudière is a public, visual, media, architectural and urbanism ARTS project and series of events that are fundamentally about this PLACE: a unique expression of a remarkable cultural landscape.

I was compelled to initiate Vision:Chaudière because of the understanding and appreciation of the site and its potential that I have gained in over 20 years of exploring the place, including current work on a sustainable master plan for eventual revitalization. Work on historic research and urban planning for the site has provided insight into the complexities, the urban and stakeholder issues and above all the VALUE of the Chaudière Islands District to the Region and to the Nation. Community action in the form of creative expression could be an effective way to reverse the path towards opportunity lost.

Bio:

Mark Thompson Brandt, OAA, MRAIC, CAHP, LEED AP, APTi, ICOMOS

Senior Conservation Architect & Urbanist,

MTBA Mark Thompson Brandt Architect & Associates Inc.

Mark is a registered professional Architect, Urbanist and Conservation Consultant with over 30 years in the professions and successful completion of over 430 built projects, investigations, assessments, impact statements, rehabilitation, preservation, heritage sensitive urban infill design and adaptive reuse for a broad range of public and private clientele: from the Master Plan for redevelopment of a key 44-acre National Capital waterfront site, to rehabilitations in the Parliamentary Precinct, including the adaptive reuse for the House of Commons Hall of State and critical assessment of the SW Tower of the East Block.

MTBA specializes in the magic that occurs where new and old intersect. A Director of the Ottawa Region Chapter of the Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC) and a LEED- Accredited Professional, Brandt’s practice explores interconnections between natural and cultural conservation.  Mark is currently Co-Chair (Canada) of the APT Technical Committee on Sustainable Preservation and he is Past President of Historic Ottawa Development Inc. (HODI), Past Chairman of Ottawa’s Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee, past Vice-President of Heritage Ottawa, Past Chair of the Industrial Heritage Committee of ICOMOS Canada, Past Chair of the Government Liaison Committee of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP) and has served as a Director of several other cultural and urban development organizations.

MTBA & Associates has won numerous awards, including the Ontario Heritage Trust Achievement; conservation and urbanism Fellowships for studies at both the ICOMOS Mexico World Congress and for Dalhousie/U of W Thesis Research in Rome, Italy.

Rona Rangsch

Statement:

I literally came across the Chaudière Islands walking from Centre Daimon in Hull, where I attended an artist residency in 2010, to downtown Ottawa. When I crossed the Chaudière Bridge, I realised that you never get a good view of the falls or the ring dam – certainly one of the most beautiful and impressive scenes in downtown Ottawa/Gatineau – neither walking, as the pedestrian lane is on the wrong side of the bridge, nor from the car as there is no way to stop on the narrow bridge.

Looking around I noticed the highly complex character of the whole place that nobody seemed to even notice. Apart from the two bridges that are full of traffic, the islands appear to be abandoned and I felt like diving into a parallel world as soon as leaving the bridges. This is how my interest for the Chaudière Islands was initiated and it grew ever since I started exploring, studying and documenting it as it is a unique and absolutely stunning site, from a geographic, technical as well as historical point of view, and the fact that this is not accounted for in the general public is totally incomprehensive to me.

My vision for the Chaudière Islands is to make them accessible to the public while preserving their complex, odd and intimate character – a delicate goal that will require the integration of multiple aspects, including the current and past industries, the special environmental situation as well as the spiritual relevance of the islands.

Yet, a first crucial step is easy to define: to create a public awareness of the site, its special role and character to prevent it from being destroyed as such through actions of purely economic interest. This could be achieved by an art project on the islands and involving existing organisations/structures from the art scene on both sides of the river.

Bio:

Rona Rangsch studied physics at the Universities of Cologne and Saarbruecken where she graduated in High Energy Physics in 1996. After scientific research activities at several renowned institutions she made physics her hobby to start a career as a media artist. The media she is working with comprise video, photography, installation and 3D animation. Moreover, Rona is interested in adopting multimedia techniques that are usually applied to non-artistic contexts. Her concepts are developed and realised along guidelines not unlike scientific methodology; the finished works always leave space for interpretation by the spectator. Besides exhibiting her own work in Germany and abroad she co-curates the exhibition program of Kuenstlerhaus Dortmund (www.kh-do.de) where she is a member since 2003.

In addition to addressing subjects with a highly conceptual approach, the interpretation of geophysical, climatic and/or socio-cultural particularities is at the core of her current works which made travelling a crucial element in her life as an artist. She was awarded several international residency and project grants, among others in Canada, Norway and Japan. www.rangsch.de/english/chaudiere_index.html

Lisa Prosper

Statement:

My interest in the Chaudière Islands began with a cultural landscape project undertaken while studying for my Masters. We uncovered a complex and longstanding relationship between Hull and Ottawa in which the islands played an integral role. It became apparent that this was a very meaningful site to the development and identity of these two urban centres, not to mention its historical and contemporary significance to the Algonquian First Nations communities on both sides of the river. Its seeming absence from the contemporary cultural imaginary of most Ottawans is unfortunate and likely a function of the rupture of the site from the fabric of both cities which, in my opinion, is a result of two things: the expropriation of Lebreton Flats, as well as the expansion of the federal public service into Hull. The successful inhabitation or emotional ownership of the site by people on both sides of the river is also hindered by the sites’ real or perceived inaccessibility as well as its confusing private/public ownership structure.

I believe in the power of art to articulate things that might not otherwise be articulated. It is a language on its own whose observations and interventions are as valid, if not more so, than any written text. I see a capacity therefore for our project to begin to articulate these relationships and ruptures that revolve around the site with a view to reintegrating it into the geographical and emotional imaginary of the cities’ inhabitants. I think the historical and contemporary messiness of the site as well as its physically confusing nature are its most compelling assets and that we should resist the temptation to simplify its interpretation. Rather we should conceive of our project as an invitation to the public to reclaim or re-possess the site if only temporarily and if only through its animation and the simple practice of walking its grounds.

Bio:

Lisa Prosper BA, MA in Heritage Conservation, Ph.D (ABD), Carleton University

Lisa is a Faculty Associate at the School of Restoration Arts at Willowbank School of Restoration Arts in Niagara. She has been an invited speaker on the topic of cultural landscapes at national and international forums, and has published on Aboriginal cultural landscapes in the George Wright Forum.  She has contributed to the development of new guidelines for cultural landscapes in the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. She also sits on the Cultural Heritage Expert Committee for Gatineau Park. Principal of The Prosper Group, Lisa is currently working on an interactive web project that adopts a cultural landscape approach to safeguarding and representing the cultural heritage of the Eastern James Bay Cree.

Evan Thornton

Statement:

As an urbanist, my view of the Chaudière Islands is that they are “holes” in our urban fabric; so central and yet so remote; so visible but so hidden. The great irony is that the islands’ potential utility goes far beyond merely being turned into a pleasurable and desirable destination instead of an unreadable hodgepodge of dereliction; rather, in their location and cultural significance they are the rare kind of feature that could actually unite us as citizens. That’s because it’s not at all fanciful to imagine the islands becoming the kind of cherished public place that finally makes us feel that we live in one shared city; not divided by a river, but brought together by it.  The islands as they are today are a challenge we can’t back away from; the benefits for “the commons” — public space, and our shared sense of citizenship — are too great.

The question raised by the Chaudière Islands is like a riddle whose solution is hidden in plain view.  Spectacularly sited, rich with history beyond recording, I think the answer is this: the islands are the key that unlocks something utterly unique about Canada’s Capital; they give a new understanding how our geography is inseparable from whom we are.

Bio:

Evan Thornton is a writer, editor, and urbanist. He has been writing about Ottawa since 1999, both in print and online. He is the co-founder of Creative Neighbourhoods, a non-profit devoted to creative use of public space, and he is the former editor of Spacing Ottawa. He is also the co-publisher of FullyFringed.ca, the Ottawa theatre review site, and his writing appears in print for Spacing Magazine; he is on the editorial board of Arc Poetry Magazine.

Wendy Shearer

Statement:

I am interested in the Vision:Chaudière project because it touches on many of my interests:  industrial history and the foundation of our country, community open space with the potential to enrich the lives of the people who experience them and the creation of special places which combine natural and cultural heritage resources with public art.  I am interested in working with a like-minded group to see if we can influence the future of this area. I have been involved with several public art projects and would be interested in developing a process for the selection of installations and of course the landscape setting in which these installations would take place.

Bio:

Wendy Shearer, OALA, FCSLA, ASLA, CAHP, Landscape Architect, Managing Director Cultural Heritage

at MHBC Planning, Urban Design & Landscape Architecture, Kitchener, ON,  is a graduate of the University of Guelph with a BLA.  Wendy has over 28 years experience in the design of urban open spaces and in the conservation planning of numerous National Historic Sites as well as provincially and locally significant heritage properties.  Wendy was invested in the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects College of Fellows for excellence in executed works, and teaches the course on Cultural Landscapes at University of Victoria and at Willowbank School of Restoration Arts in Niagara.

Susan Ross

Statement:

Every city has a unique relationship to water: how each city settles on and responds to the potential that rivers and lakes offer for water supply, for transportation, for industry and eventually for recreation, becomes part of its urban ecosystem/ landscape. In counterpart, once the natural bodies are transformed, human-made water bodies (such as canals, reservoirs, fountains and pools) come to stand for nature in the city.

The Chaudière Islands as they have been developed by industry and power utilities embody a major expression of the force of water power being used for industry and urban development. This tends to be forgotten in an urban landscape increasingly dominated by political power. I am drawn to the mostly quiet character of these now green islands in the middle of a major river, but always amazed at how relatively few people are enjoying what is basically a major urban waterfront park between two cities. On the one hand I hope some of these industrial ruins will just remain ‘machines in the garden’, but on the other hand, I would hope that there will be some type of programming that raises awareness about the energy, power and technology at work here. As an architect I tend to think in terms of possible future uses, and hope that the artistic project will help evoke possible uses, by drawing attention to the character of the place, both physically and in associations. Industrial heritage is both physically and metaphorically very heavy, but it often embodies abstract ideas and functions (like electricity) that are still very much part of how we live today.

Bio:

Registered architect originally from Montreal, Susan also spent a few years practicing in Berlin, two cities with major industrial water landscapes. This included working on the rehabilitation of the Beauharnois hydroelectric station in Quebec and additions to laser equipment factories in South Germany. Susan is specialized in heritage conservation or generally retrofitting existing buildings and sites. Her graduate research on the water reservoir landscapes of Mount Royal was published in Metropolitan Natures: Environmental Histories of Montreal. A full time senior conservation architect in the federal government, working on everything from lighthouses to drill halls; Susan also does a fair bit of research, writing and public speaking about the intersections between conservation and sustainability. Susan is also a committed educator and previously led a monthly public forum for Les Amis de la Montagne in Montreal.

Robert Tombs

Statement:

The Chaudière Islands …are apparently not widely known, discussed, visited, or appreciated. Given the richness of the site, historically, and its position as a backdrop for the Parliament Buildings, it is rather ironic, and unfortunate, that they have fallen from our collective radar. It’s too easy to blame competing interests (aboriginal, governmental, industrial) or changing technologies. These islands, with their heritage and landscape assets, represent a civic opportunity but also pose challenges. Should they be left ‘as is,’ or developed further? And how?

Bio:

BFA (painting and drawing), Mount Allison University; MFA (graphic design) Yale University. Robert teaches at Algonquin College School of Media and Design. He has exhibited installation, photography, printmaking and graphic design in North America and Europe.

Joseph Hartman

Statement:

My interest in the Chaudière Islands stems from the history of industry, native culture, and Canadian culture present in the area. This is a unique landscape as there are so many layers of history and a coming together of so many different stories. The fact that it is also a beautiful landscape only adds to the intrigue artistically.

Bio:

After receiving a Master’s degree in Kinesiology at the University of McMaster in 2004 and being accepted into Medical School, Joseph Hartman decided to pursue a career as an artist.  Hartman, a self-taught photographer, apprenticed with Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky.  Hartman’s work arises from his curiosity about the interaction between humans and landscape and how each influences the other.  He takes large format photographs of landscapes in a transitional state; choosing to record the landscape as it is transformed into a new place.  His subjects include highway construction and large urban demolition sites. Hartman finds the concept of transition intriguing, using the subject to articulate basic human desire and our need for progress. In Hartman’s work the deconstruction of large buildings signifies change in human perception; what was once seen as progress is now seen as a hindrance.  His photographs tell a story about society through what Hartman calls, “monuments of our time.”

Linda Hoad

Statement:

Vision: vibrant mixed-use development, taking advantage of these historically significant islands which are a bridge between the past and the present, aboriginal culture and non-aboriginal cultures, Quebec and Ontario. Inspired by the adaptive re-use of the heritage buildings on the site….Recognition of the industrial past and present of the site, based on the power of the river.

Bio:

Linda Hoad is a retired librarian and historian. She is a founding member of the Hintonburg Community Association and chairs the Zoning and Heritage Committees. She has participated in city planning processes such as official plans, secondary plans and transportation studies and is familiar with the complexities of planning in the national capital.

She is presently a member of the board of Ottawa Community Housing and Heritage Ottawa.

David Flemming

Statement:

  • Land and water elements: islands, shorelines (waterfronts on islands and on Ottawa and Gatineau shores), built heritage & running water which links the land elements;
  • Each element reflects the stories which can be told and experienced in an integrated manner which includes human habitation & use, natural history, spiritual history and artistic interpretation;
  •  Ideal ultimate goal is to provide a “mixed-use“ area with maximum public access…a built and cultural heritage site and how it can be incorporated into a public private partnership to create a financially sustainable development.

Bio:

David B. Flemming has worked as a heritage professional since 1968. He has been employed as a project historian, museum curator, director, project manager, administrator and heritage consultant with experience in historical research and writing, heritage interpretation and advocacy, functional and project management and strategic planning.

Throughout his career, he has served on boards of over a dozen municipal, provincial and international heritage organizations, most recently as president of Heritage Ottawa (2002-2011).

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