The Wellington West Business Improvement Area (WWBIA), home to Hintonburg and Wellington Village exists to support and strengthen the local business community and to help create the conditions for businesses to thrive.
WWBIA represents over 500 businesses and commercial property owners. Formed in 2008 by local business people to explore opportunities to collaborate and work to promote the importance of supporting local commercial activity.
WWBIA was designated a Business Improvement Area by Ottawa City Council under Bylaw 2008-40 in accordance with section 204 of the Municipal Act on Feb 19, 2008.
WWBIA is run by a 12-member volunteer Board of Management.
The Executive Director of WWBIA is Zachary Dayler.
Richmond Road (later Wellington Street) is one of Ottawa’s oldest roads, laid out in 1818. The road has retained its distinctive curve from this era. Initially, the land along it was the site of villas and farmhouses, including Richmond Lodge, (circa 1854), which still exists today. The harnessing of the Chaudiere Falls to run mills prompted development at the east end of the road in the area in the mid-1800s, but Ottawa’s slow growth in the 1840s and 1850s meant that little residential growth occurred outside of the actual Lebreton Flats area.
By the 1880s, a small node of buildings had been built east of the junction of Parkdale Avenue and Wellington Street, an area that eventually became the commercial heart of Hintonburg. The Village of Hintonburg was incorporated in 1893 and annexed by the City of Ottawa in 1907. Wellington Street benefited from the construction of more fine buildings in the late 19th and early 20th century, particularly after the arrival of the streetcar in 1896. Around this time, the Hintonburg population was 1700.
West of Holland remained undeveloped except for a few estate-like properties until the 1920s and its commercial buildings are less distinguished. West of the commercial heart of Hintonburg, Wellington Street near Parkdale Avenue became the site of the former Grace Hospital in 1922. A number of other religious institutions have defined the character of that part of the street since the early 20th century. In the residential areas on either side of the street, the trend in residential development was for the more middle class, red brick houses to be built south of Wellington and the working class, wood clad structures to be built north of Wellington.
This history laid the bones for a diverse, lively street with a wide range of building types (commercial, institutional and religious) dating from the 19th century to the post Second World War era. The surrounding residential streets, with their tight urban lots, small setbacks and mix of housing types at the east end and larger, more gracious houses moving west create vital, richly textured, inner-city neighbourhoods.
Wellington mainstreet complements the urban structure for a traditional community, where live, work and play coincide side-by side with each other. The overall, historic character of the mainstreet is established by the pre-1945, one- to three- storey buildings. Sometimes they are detached buildings, but often they are continuous storefront buildings, with multiple units. Generally built with a 0.0m to 3.0m front yard setback, on lots 10 to 20m in width, they create a continuous low-scale village character. Building roofs are typically: flat, gable, hipped, or gambrel.
This contrasts with the post-1945 part of the mainstreet’s history. This period sees taller buildings, nine- to 16-storey buildings (typically residential uses), and auto-oriented uses. Typically, front yard setbacks range between 3.0m to 10.0m and on wide lots ranging from 30m to 60m. Other properties are vacant, or used as accessory use parking. These large pockets of either undesigned and under-utilized properties, or towering buildings recessed away from the street, result in an overall mainstreet character that has significant strips of attractive, human-scale built form but also significant gaps of useful or enjoyable public realm.
Recently, underutilized properties have been developed as three to six-storey, mixed-use buildings with setbacks in keeping with the traditional built form and parking underground.
Other elements that characterize the mainstreet are key buildings and open spaces, such as St. Francis of Assisi Church, Hintonburg Community Centre, and the Grace Manor. These have important visual and/or functional identities in the community. Though not easily visible directly from the mainstreet, three neighbourhood parks are just steps away from it: McCormick, Hintonburg, and Parkdale.
Pedestrians and cyclists have numerous routes and connections to and from the mainstreet via adjoining local streets roughly every 60m, and numerous transit connections. This type of resident and visitor behaviour has supported a vibrant street-life for the mainstreet. On-going sidewalk widenings are helping to facilitate this activity. Area traffic and parking is characterized by high and functional levels of use. Parking is serviced by on-street and private surface parking spaces.
For more information see: Wellington West Community Design Plan