I read with interest Randall Denley’s Ottawa Citizen column, “A very ‘sorry’ plan for Sparks Street.”
Here is my response, published as a letter to the editor on November 22:
There will no doubt be much debate on the pros and cons of the City of Ottawa’s new Sparks Street Plan.
One element, however, deserves universal praise, as it doesn’t try to create something new, but rather builds on pre-existing social forces that ALREADY draw people to the Sparks Street Mall.
I am referring to the fact that 56 Sparks Street is undoubtedly Canada’s most famous address and regularly draws curious visitors from across the country to check it out, take selfies by the front door, and show the folks back home that this address really does exist.
Here is what the City is proposing:
“to commission the development of interactive digital installations that interpret the many historical sights and sounds of Sparks Street, such as the voice of Ottawa humanitarian Lotta Hitschmanova, whose radio and TV PSA’s and work with the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada made 56 Sparks Street and Ottawa famously associated with concern and compassion for the rest of the world through the ’50’s, ’60’s, and ’70’s.”
Dr. Lotta, as she was known, literally made 56 Sparks Street a must-see address for millions of Canadians. Ottawa can proudly feature this part of our social history and bring it alive by offering visitors (and residents) a chance to hear her unique voice once again:
“This is Lotta Hitschmanova of the Unitarian Service Committee, 56 Sparks Street, Ottawa 4!”