Town & Crown

An illustrated history of Canada’s Capital
Order the paperback or get an Ebook

Town and Crown is an illustrated history of the planning and development of Canada’s capital city, filling a significant gap in our urban scholarship. It is the story of the transformation of the region from a sub-arctic wilderness portage to an attractive modern metropolis with a high quality of life. The book examines the period from 1800-2011, and is the first major study that covers both sides of the Ottawa River, addressing the settlement history of aboriginal, French and English peoples.
Ottawa’s transformation was a significant Canadian achievement of the new profession of urban planning in the mid-20th century. Our national capital has the country’s most complete history of community planning, and served as a gateway for important international planning ideas and designers. Town and Crown illustrates the influence of landscape architect and Olmsted protégé Frederick Todd; Chicago’s City Beautiful architect Edward Bennett; and British planner Thomas Adams. Prime Minister Mackenzie King maintained a direct interest in planning Canada’s capital for almost fifty years, choosing France’s leading urbaniste, Jacques Gréber, to plan the post-1945 redevelopment of the region.
The principal research method for Town and Crown includes over sixteen years of archival studies in North America, Australia and Europe, and interviews with key politicians, designers and planners that supplemented the contemporary research. The narrative is augmented by over 200 images drawn from early sketches, historical maps, plans and archival photography to illustrate the physical transformation of Canada’s federal capital.

David Gordon is Professor and Director of the School of Urban and Regional Planning in the Department of Geography and Planning at Queen’s University. His latest books are Planning Twentieth Century Capital Cities and Planning Canadian Communities (with Gerald Hodge), which won the 2014 Canadian Institute of Planners’ National Award of Distinction. David was born in Ottawa, where his family has lived for almost a century.



List of Figures
1. A Magnificent Site (Pre-1826)
2. Building Bytown (1826-1832)
3. Imperial Outpost (1832-1857)
4. The Queen’s Choice? (1858-1867)
5. Lumbertown (1868-1900)
6. Crown Plans: ‘Parking’ the Capital (1900-1912)
7. Crown Plans: City Beautiful? (1913-1920)
8. Roaring Twenties (1920-1930)
9. Depression and the Wartime Capital (1930-1944)
10. Post-War Plans (1945-1959)
11. Boom Town (1960-1969)
12. Town vs. Crown (1970-1989)
13. From Red Tape to Blue Chips? (1990-2011)
14. Town and Crown: Lessons for the Future of Canada’s Capital
Cast of Characters
Bibliographic Essay

ISBN: 978-1-927465-28-8 442pp 8.5×10.5″ paperback December 2015 $39.95

Ebooks: You can get “Town and Crown” (ISBN 978-1-927465-27-1) in three formats: (PDF version is recommended for best image and photo viewing)

  • Kindle (Mobi) -for Kindle (in development, please order PDF version below):
  • Epub (for Apple Ipad, Android, Kobo, Nook, Sony readers, Adobe Digital editions…(in development, please order PDF version below)
  • PDF (various devices including PC and Mac). Click to order from Commoners: