How our city is changing, open office hours, Minto Park Sale, and more!

Zoning has always been political. It protects and regulates our city, helping to ensure that we build complete, safe communities. But the decisions about what a city builds, who gets to live there and what amenities are allowed to develop nearby have often been made to exclude, rather than include.

Zoning has been used to enforce racial segregation, to keep less wealthy residents from moving in, and to ensure that that the car reigns supreme. It has also made certain kinds of housing effectively illegal, by barring multi-residential buildings on streets dominated by single-family homes.

The tide of public opinion has been shifting in recent years, as home ownership becomes less attainable for younger generations. Rents are also higher than ever here in Ottawa, with the price of a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Ottawa going for more than $2,000 a month. Our shelter system is over-capacity, with more people than ever shut out of having a safe and affordable home at all.

One of the ways that we can tackle some of these challenges is by increasing our city’s housing supply. We need to build roughly 150,000 new homes between now and 2031, to support Ottawa’s growing population. This means housing of all types, from bachelor apartments to larger family homes. And it means intensifying in existing communities, because the cost of suburban expansion is already unsustainable.

Our city’s zoning will change from a height-based model to one that is based on achieving targets for density. Every community in our city must welcome new types of housing – it is quite simply the only way that we will have enough places for people to live in.

This is why the city is updating our Zoning Bylaw – to modernize the city’s rules, to make sure they are consistent with our official plan. To legalize more forms of housing. And to change some of our bylaws to foster the creation of more walkable, mixed-use, 15-minute neighbourhoods.

The good news for residents of Somerset Ward is that the zoning changes will not have a huge impact on our communities, because we already permit multi-residential buildings, retail and transit-oriented development in the downtown core. We know what it’s like to be able to walk down the street for a sandwich or a cup of coffee. We are just as likely to bike, walk or roll to do errands than use a car. And the new zoning bylaw actually makes more room for trees and bike parking, which I know will be welcomed in Centretown.

The process for developing our new zoning bylaw will take approximately 18 months, involving extensive consultation with residents. My office is committed to ensuring that you know how our city will be changing, what new or different rules might impact residents in Centretown, and how you can have your voice heard as part of the process.

In my experience so far as the councillor for Somerset Ward, I have only seen resident feedback improve development proposals, allowing them to integrate more seamlessly into our community. Whether it’s the need for more trees, better public amenities or architecture that is more sensitive to our heritage context, public consultation helps us navigate the ways our city is changing.

In the meantime, tell your friends in the suburbs that having coffee shops and other amenities in walking distance is one of the things that makes downtown a great place to live. Not all change is to be feared, especially when it comes to zoning – and I look forward to hearing from residents over the new few months about the new proposal.



Ariel with members of Ottawa ACORN, after her motion on renovictions passed unanimously at Planning and Housing Committee

Anti-renoviction motion passed by city council

Councillor Troster’s motion for Ottawa to study the possibility of an anti-renoviction bylaw was passed by City Council this week, after receiving unanimous support at Planning and Housing Committee. Thank you to everyone who came to committee to tell your stories and to Ottawa ACORN for the incredible organizing and advocacy. This is just a first step, but it is an important one. You can read Councillor Troster’s op/ed in the Ottawa Citizen to learn more about this issue.


Summer 2024 open office hours

We are excited to launch our new season of open office hours, working with incredible community partners. Come join me for a coffee and let’s chat about issues ranging from bike safety, to park improvements and housing rights.

You can RSVP online at or click any of the links below.

Transportation with Bike Ottawa

May 10th, 3pm - 5pm @ Bike Cafe (79 Sparks St)

Traffic calming with city staff

May 17th, 10am - 12pm @ Driphouse (692 Somerset St West)

Recreation, culture and sport

May 24th, 4pm - 6pm @ Happy Goat (326 Elgin St)

Parks with the Dalhousie Community Association 

May 30th, 3pm - 5pm @ Driphouse (629 Somerset St West)

Affordable housing registry 

June 14th, 2pm - 4pm @ Catherine St Hub (370 Catherine St)

Sparks Street with the Sparks Street BIA

June 18th, 1pm - 3pm @ Le Moulin de Provence (30 Metcalfe St)

Downtown revitalization 

July 5th, 11am - 1pm @ Arlington Five (5 Arlington)

Building affordable housing with the Ottawa Community Land Trust 

July 25th, 3pm - 5pm @ Little Victories (44 Elgin St)

Music and arts with OMIC and the Ottawa Arts Network 

August 2nd, 1pm - 4pm @ Equator Coffee (1 Elgin St)

Accessibility with StopGap Ottawa

August 30th, 4pm - 6pm @ Bridgehead (282 Elgin St)


CHEO race weekend

Now in its 17th year,  this is a fun, non-competitive event that offers a wide range of cycling and walking routes for people of all ages, helping raise over 1 Million dollars each year to support oncology care and research for CHEO. 

To learn more about the race and road closures in the area, click here.


Minto Park Sale

It’s that time of year! We’re excited to announce that this year’s Minto Park Sale will be held on June 8, from 9am to 3pm at Minto Park. The sale is a beloved Centretown tradition, and we’re pleased to bring it back for this year. The annual “no yard, yard sale” is a great opportunity to bring out all your odds and sods and see if they can find new life with another neighbour.  

To fill out a request for a table, please fill out the form below. If you have difficulty filling out the form, or are unable to do so, please reach out to us at [email protected] . Please note that tables will be booked on a first come first serve basis. FILLING OUT THE FORM DOES NOT GUARANTEE A TABLE SPACE – you will receive a follow up email with more information, and to confirm your space. If there is sufficient interest, we will open up a wait list. Here is the link to sign up.


Ottawa outdoor gear library spring gear grab!

Join us this Saturday, May 4th, for our Annual Gear Grab! This is a fundraising initiative we host alongside the annual garage sale of our neighbour, the Ottawa Tool Library. The idea is that we put out the excess gear we have and members of the community can purchase it through a pay-what-you-can donation to our organization.

When: Saturday, May 4th | 10AM – 2PM

Where: The Ottawa Outdoor Gear Library | 877A Boyd Avenue


Nominations now open for the 2024 VOscars Volunteer Awards 

Is there an individual or organization in your community who deserves a big pat on the back for making Ottawa a happier, healthier, more caring city?  Recognize their volunteer contributions by nominating them for one of Volunteer Ottawa’s seven VOscars Volunteer Awards.   Online submission forms are now available on the Volunteer Ottawa website and will be open until June 14.


Crossing Guard of the Year Award

Nominate your community Crossing Guard for our Crossing Guard of the Year award. The top three guards will receive $500 each, and the three schools that cast the most votes will each win a $300 Canadian Tire gift card! It's win-win!

Contest runs till May 17th. Nominate your guard here:



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