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Archives | An opening in grand pomp of the Rideau Center in 1983

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Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau was among the dignitaries present at the inauguration of the Rideau Center in Ottawa on March 16, 1983.


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40 years ago, the opening of a shopping center attracted attention in the Canadian capital. The Rideau Center was inaugurated in the presence of numerous guests of honor, including Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Return to the archives on this effort to revitalize downtown Ottawa.

At the time of its inauguration, the “multifunctional shopping complex” had 200 stores and boutiques, including the major Eaton brand, as well as 18 restaurants, 3 cinemas and a rooftop garden.

The opening of a 500-room hotel is planned for the following fall. The convention center, which allowed the project to take off, will be completed in the winter of 1984.

< p class="StyledImageCaptionLegend-sc-57496c44-2 sbxsP">Report from March 16, 1983

As evidenced by this report dated March 16, 1983, the The official opening of the Rideau Center is celebrated with pomp.

A costumed town crier announces the guests of honor, including Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. The latter has not participated in an event of this nature in almost 10 years.

He performs the ribbon cutting exercise alongside Ontario Premier Bill Davis and Frederic Eaton, the company's main shareholder .

The idea of ​​this commercial complex is first and foremost political. It dates back to the 1972 federal election campaign. Following the move of 15,000 federal civil servants to Hull, there was a desire to revitalize downtown Ottawa.

Journalist André Gagnon calls the opening of the Rideau Center “the economic event of the year in the Ottawa region.”

A craze that is felt on both sides of the river. The consumers interviewed, the neighborhood merchants as well as those in Outaouais, all view the arrival of the large shopping center favorably.

Report from March 15, 1983

The day before its official opening, the Rideau Center invites journalists to visit the premises. Journalist André Gagnon is part of the group.

If a certain dynamism drives the leaders of the project, the fact remains that a quarter of its locations for shops have not yet found tenants.

A quote from journalist André Gagnon

In his report of March 15, 1983, the journalist expressed some reservations about this construction in the heart of the capital. Among these: the heaviness of the concrete structures and the insufficient number of parking spaces within the perimeter of the center.

It seems that this last point has bothered the owners of the shopping complex.

In 2016, during major renovations, a three-level underground garage was added to the Rideau Centre.

A makeover that once again aimed to revitalize downtown Ottawa.

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