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Weaving a Modern Plan for Canada's Capital: Jacques Gréber and the 1950 Plan for the National Capital Region

David Gordon
Urban History Review / Revue d'histoire urbaine
Vol. 29, No. 2, Special Issue: Jacques Gréber (1882-1962) (March 2001 mars), pp. 43-61
Published by: Urban History Review
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43562412
Page Count: 19
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Weaving a Modern Plan for Canada's Capital: Jacques Gréber and the 1950 Plan for the National Capital Region
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Abstract

The 1950 Plan for the National Capital is one of the most significant documents in Canadian planning history. The plan was the guide for the rapid transformation of Ottawa and Hull from rather dreary industrial towns into an attractive modern capital Jacques Gréber, a French architect, planner and landscape architect, headed the planning team. He was personally recruited by Prime Minister Mackenzie King to realize his dream of a capital that inspired pride among Canadians. Gréber was considered France's leading planner in mid-century, having completed plans for the Fairmount Parkway in Philadelphia, Lille, Marseilles and Rouen. Ironically, Gréber is almost forgotten in his native land, while his legacy is fondly remembered in North America. Le Plan pour la capitale nationale de 1950 est un des documents les plus importants de l'histoire de l'urbanisme canadien. Il allait guider la rapide transformation d'Ottawa et de Hull, villes industrielles plutôt sordides qui devinrent la capitale moderne et agréable que nous connaissons. Ce fut Jacques Gréber, architecte, urbaniste et paysagiste français, qui dirigea les travaux. Il avait été personnellement invité par le Premier ministre Mackenzie King à réaliser le rêve d'une capitale qui rendrait fiers les Canadiens. Gréber, qui avait réalisé les plans du Fairmont Parkway à Philadelphie, ainsi que ceux de Lille, Marseille et Rouen, était alors considéré comme un des plus importants urbanistes de France. Ironie de l'histoire, Gréber est presque oublié aujourd'hui dans son pays, alors que l'Amérique du Nord célèbre son héritage avec enthousiasme.

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