Secret Neighbourhoods

Fable St

It’s a well known but little understood phenomenon: the necrotopophilia of neighbourhoods. It’s no surprise that the dynamics of capital must necessarily make for a merry-go-round of median incomes, suburban havens, shopping areas, gated communities, student ghettos, real ghettos, and run-down poor or ex-fashionable districts. But this still does not account for the contingencies and weird overlaps between these different functions. On top of the well known places, how do we account for the disorientated conglomerations of the self-guided stranger? The passional accumulation of a few street names and discarded objects? And what will account for the fourth dimension of urbanism, where zones form in poetic or highly subjective instances, temporarily, and with no purpose?

There are some neighbourhoods in Ottawa that nobody has heard about…

Secret Hoods
Carbunkle Alley

Where is it located?  

Located contiguous to Merivale and Herongate, somehow, with an enclave in 19th Century Budapest.

Who lives there? 

Locals are sometimes referred to as “the high-rise rednecks” due to the concentration of displaced rural peoples. Other prominent groups include muslim grannies, black kids who speak only French, and millennial roommates who settled for less.

What is it known for?

The area is notable for several grotesque buildings in a corperate-brutalist style decried by locals as “Minecraft spaghetti.” Also, fancy neon trash can art installations implemented ten years ago in a failed anti-litter campaign. There is also one tree.

The Gnarls

Where is it located?

A bush along the eastern edge of King Edward and Murray

Who lives there?

Ants, a bandaid colony, an occasional passed out teenager’s left foot, a self-motive skateboard.

What is it known for?

A perfect mix of culture and night life, The Gnarls boasts seven museums, fourteen pubs and three music venues within one square meter. The vast majority of these institutions are made out of recycled or thrown-out materials. In fact, this is why The Gnarls is often mistaken for a pile of garbage in a bramble. Among these sights are the famous Wet Biscuit art installation (a literal wet cookie) as well as an old Halloween mask that has a mushroom growing out of its eye. Looking for a place to relax after a long day? Then try the puddle with three grey stones in it.

Amuse Pews

Where is it located? 

Tucked away in an otherwise gloomy, nasty, grey, unscrupulous Thatcherite Britain.¹

Who lives there? 

Spirits, souls and friendly “strangers,” some of whom wear their top hats.

What is it known for?

The spirit of humour, entertainment and goodwill that animates those who live there and pass through it. In an austere and cold Britain, the Pews are filled with resistance and solidarity built through laughter and play. The Pews are a sanctuary for the soul.

(Played by JA, L, DA)

¹ We are suggesting as a sort of conduit to this area, otherwise displaced in space and time, Thatcher Street off of Meadowlands in Nepean – a cramped little corridor of suburban dreariness.

Addendum: 5 days after this was first posted, and unaware of it, AC coincidentally reports a lucid dream in which she is taking an Uber home through a totally unknown and very different part of Ottawa. It is filled with strange neon signs and ethnic restaurants. She frantically takes pictures of them.

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