Island Park Drive was developed based on a 1903 study by Frederick G. Todd, a Landscape Architect. The study was commissioned by the Ottawa Improvement Commission with the goal of outlining a general comprehensive scheme for the systematic improvement of the city, with focus on future health and happiness of its inhabitants and considering Ottawa’s special status as the Capital of the Dominion of Canada.
Frederick G. Todd took into consideration the city’s expected rapid growth over the decades to follow and recognized that the future of the city depends on ability
to look ahead and plan properly. In order to develop Ottawa, as a capital city, into a city of unusual beauty and attractiveness, he believed that the parks and open spaces should be numerous, and ample boulevards and parkways should skirt the different waterways, as well as connect the principal parks and the different public buildings.
Mr. Todd reviewed the city and its surroundings and designed a comprehensive interconnected network of existing and new parkways, parks and waterways both inside and outside the original city limits.
He recommended to develop a new park near the river, called Chaudière Park, and a parkway that he called Victoria Parkway (current Island Park Drive), that would connect Experimental Farm to this park. Mr. Todd says in his report “…it seems that the desirable route would continue within the Experimental Farm almost to the toll-
gate. From this point unoccupied land could be taken for the entire distance, crossing near Merivale Avenue through beautiful woods in the rear of Victoria Park, across the Canadian Pacific Railway, through more fine woods, over a high
elevation where the Parliament Buildings are in full view, and where a view is obtained of the distant Laurentian Mountains, across Richmond Road, a little west of the toll gate, and hence by the nearest route to the proposed park.”