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Ottawa lament: Arenas should be built downtown

An Ottawa columnist compares the arenas in the capital of his country with the one in the capital of the United States … and he doesn’t like what he sees from his side.
As a rule, we’re loath to print anything that smacks of politics here. And this piece by Andrew Cohen in the Ottawa Citizen today has political overtones to it.

But Mr. Cohen also has a good point: the trend in arenas (and stadiums, for that matter) seems to have changed again in favor of downtowns.

His example is in Ottawa, where Scotiabank Place was built in Kanata, a suburb that cannot be reached by rapid transit and has no atmosphere nearby. The Senators have a nice team and continue to draw well accordingly. But that doesn’t take the inconvenience factor away.

By comparison, Cohen notes that the Verizon Center in downtown Washington, DC has drawn better from the suburbs into the middle of town … and helped that area grow (and, in some cases, clean up) in the process.

It isn’t that simple, of course. But, in an era where gas prices have risen dramatically, it is something cities need to remember. Getting to the arena is almost as important as what goes on inside the arena.