Vox populi

The Vox is still a pox!

Yes, it was recently demolished, thanks to Councillor Chiarelli’s EXCELLENT efforts. What a glorious photo op for him, smack on page one just before the election! The actual demolition wasn’t slated to start until AFTER the election, so he had to stage a fake photo op for the reporter.

According to the Sun, the stunt caused the demolition foreman to run out and shout at him to knock it off, for fear of the building collapsing.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for a new Hilton to spring up on the site – as usual, RC is working his smoke and mirrors.

Here’s the problem: when a huge spill of viscous liquids like gasoline and oil mix with clay the soil becomes very unstable. You can’t build on a bog, right?

The dance floor in the Vox had to be replaced SIX TIMES because of this problem – the whole place is sitting on a swampy toxic mess.

We just spent a FORTUNE hauling away most of the soil in Lebreton Flats – luckily Bells Corners isn’t quite as bad. But it used to host a LOT of garages and was an industrial hub in the not-so-distant past.

The councillor has been coy about providing info, slyly hinting that he’s cooking up a secret deal to bring a Hilton to the Vox site (when he’s not speculating about putting the skateboard park there).

NOTHING can be built until AT LEAST five years have passed – the federal government has to give the Vox site a clean bill of health before the site can be used for anything.

You know the Shell station at the corner of Carling and Bayshore? Same deal – the tanks leak, contaminating the soil over a large area (a common occurrence – standards were VERY slack back in the Fifties), the place is demolished at huge cost and the lot sits empty forever. Just a bit more collateral damage, courtesy of our car-centric society.

What else is contaminated in Bells Corners beside the Vox, the trailer park, the Cock ‘n Bull and Hooters? Surely Al’s SteakHouse too, which makes his $3.5 M asking price quite silly.

Don’t believe the councillor’s BS about him working behind the scenes to get a Hilton on the Vox site of part of his “Drive to Bells Corners and Buy Something” renaissance campaign.

What developer would want to work with RC anyway, after the way he screwed over the Holiday Inn Express developer, making him drive to Ottawa from his Southern Ontarion home to kiss the ring finger before he could deploy his contractors?

The Hilton people aren’t really interested in the Vox site, even if it were available. It’d be much cheaper for them to just build on agricultural land – a piece of cake to get it rezoned if you grease the right palms?

The Hilton people have already investigated the possibility of building on the farm west of Moodie, south of the Queensway, north of the train tracks (available because it was seized by the Crown after a drug lab was discovered in the farmhouse).

Their second choice is a chunk of farmland north of Robertson west of Moodie, beside the Volkswagen dealer as you leave Bells Corners.

The only way they’d choose to build on the Vox site is if the taxpayer subsidized them. The City already has a generous brownfield policy but the Hiltons would want a sweetener to build there.

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4 Responses to Vox populi

  1. ottawaowl says:

    VOX POPULI – comments on the Vox demolition posted to the CBC (dead link) and Sun sites:
    Brian S
    Too bad – this is part of Bells Corner’s heritage. Next thing you will be telling me they are going to tear down the burger king. Hopefully the K Mart is doing well. I haven’t heard of Lacelle’s Factories or Consumer’s Distributing in years. Hopefully Duffs is doing well. If you ever ate there – everything else was spicy in comparison.
    Bob Phillips
    Nice start but only a beginning- some say let’s get rid of the trailer park and the Hooters.
    I agree with the Hooters, but as ya probably don’t know, the mobile home park is staying forever, with its new owners, Parkbridge. The trailer park is hardly a eyesore, as you can’t see it from the road and it’s a well established and taken care of community of 254 homes. Mostly seniors – it beats living in a $240,000 condo. The park has survived and its survival is a thorn in Rick Chiarelli’s butt – he secretly wanted it dead, in 2008, so his buddies Claridge Homes could destroy it. The residents fought back, and gave anything to do with destruction of the park a bad vibe with the press etc.
    Glad the Vox is gone!!!!
    Wheeler- if they were whores you didn’t pick anyone up.
    I picked up so many BC whores at The Vox back in the day they should have let me knock down the first wall.
    Good bye Vox Lounge…so many excellent memories!
    Scum Frog
    Ahh….remember it well.

    Corkscrew, The Keg, ChiChi’s , South of the Border, City Slickers…..I have been to them all and have good memories. BC is an aging community that needs a real face lift. At one time in the 70’s and 80’s it was a real boom area. That Canadian Tire used to be one of the busiest in the country ( I worked there). This was all before Kanata really took off. At that time you needed to go to BC to shop, dine or just about anything else.
    Tony could not come up with all the money to pay the bank at this time, so the bank applied to the courts to have a receiver manage the sale process. The Receiver who should have continued Tony’s efforts to sue Petro Canada did not. Instead, the Receiver “got into bed” with Petro Canada and attempted to sell it to them. Imagine selling your house at a discount because it is contaminated to the person who contaminated it. Tony fought the long hard fight, costing him a huge amount to lawyers only to lose to Petro Canada. It appears that a huge company like Petro Canada (The Goliath) can litigate their way out of anything – A travesty of Justice!
    Mike in Vancouver
    ahhh the old City Slickers….I remembering being like 19 and some hot cougar grabbed my ass on her way out the door. Good times, good times.
    The Vox however was indeed a pile and now is ironically, a true pile.
    The building was originally called the “Corkscrew”. That was back in the late 70’s early 80’s. It was also a Keg and some sort of Tex Mex place at one point.
    A hotel? Who are you kidding?
    Another hotel out here is needed like a another hole in the ground. Take a look at the demographic trends and it is obvious that this location will be most successful as a business if used for an old Age Home. That way at least Al’s Steakhouse might get a few more customers.
    No Bellsbear
    The Mother’s Pizza is at the same site as the current Cock and Bull which has changed hands almost as frequently as any other restaurant in Bells Corners the lot being cleared is neighbouring that property. . The only places to eat out there that have withheld the test of time are the Harvey’s, Burger King, McDonalds and Al’s Steakhouse. This speaks well of the area’s patrons. On one hand you have a restaurant that hasn’t changed it’s menu since 1970 and on the other fast food joints. Strictly from a culinary viewpoint Bells Corners is Ottawa’s armpit.
    Here is the story:

    Ottawa businessman Tony Isaac owned the property and like most real estate owners had a mortgage. Tony found a buyer for the property and had a conditional contract to sell it. The willing purchaser commissioned an environmental assessment on the lands he wished to purchase. That assessment concluded that the Petro Canada gas station was leaking Hydrocarbons (gas/oil) onto his property. The potential buyer walked away from the deal. Tony attempted to work with the bank while suing Petro Canada to clean up their contamination. Petro Canada dragged their feet, and the bank, not wanting to renew his mortgage (because banks do not like to take contaminated land as security), called his mortgage.
    Wasn’t it a Mothers Pizza for a long time?
    It’s because i fell off the mechanical bull at City Slickers too many times.
    not gone soon enough
    Nice start but only a beginning. Getting rid of the trailer park and the Hooters should be on the slate as well. The reason Bells Corners is nothing more than a widening in the road is that is all it ever has been and that is all it ever will be.

    Eric your memory does not serve you well. The Ponderosa was where the old Hooters was and the Golden Griddle was behind East Side Mario’s two different buildings on two different streets.
    If my memory serves me correctly that place was a Golden Griddle Restaurant in the late 70’s, early 80’s. And a Ponderosa and and and…
    randy townend
    i worked in that building thru 3 different owners Chi Chi’s/South of the Border…but the best and it was the best was City Slickers….800 ppl a night….it was a blast….sorry to see the ol place go
    Mike in Vancouver
    Is that Trailer Park still there?
    I believe the actual story was that the underground storage tanks at the former Petro Can had leaked, contaminating both the Petro Can property (which has been cleaned up) and, that of the VOX property, which they attempted to clean the contaminated soil from under the Vox through the floor, but found the contamination was far more extensive then first believed. Only possible way to clean up the contamination is to tear the building down, and after years of wrangling, they are finally proceeding.
    Congratulations, Rick…you just gave people another reason to drive through…
    Johnathon Roy
    Another hotel .. they are kidding right?
    For Christ sake!

    Exactly how many hotels do we need there ?

    We got the one across the street attached to
    “Delicious Steak House” then we got the motel beside
    Pizza Hut near the gas station. Plus the new one that
    just opened on the site of the old Burger King, plus the one
    at Moodie & Robertson across from CIBS & McDonalds.

    Any more of them in this stretch & we might as well rename the
    area from Lynwood & Bells Corners to Hotel/Motel Way!
    Put something useful there that will draw business to
    the other businesses in the area. Something of an anchor store.
    There is virtually nothing big named in the area to draw people
    to this stretch.

    No wonder the businesses in the area are suffering!
    So many good memories of the Vox Lounge… *sniff*…
    the changing face of Bells Corners…..becoming less trashy as time goes by….
    Anyone know for sure if it’s the Canadian Tire that owns the Hooters property?
    Darlene is correct, it was the gas station next door.
    To Doug – If memory serves me right they didn’t build on contaminated soil – the soil was contaminated when they tore down the gas station that used to be beside it.
    EX BC Resident
    So what happened to the soil there anyways… was it a gas leak or something? Is it now safe for someone to build on it?
    so are hooters coming soon :$
    Another dump bites the dust
    Finally. Now perhaps the city can get the owners of the old Hooters, previously Legends, to tear down that eyesore. Sad commentary on life, or your readers, when all they can think about is coffee and donut shops!
    Great. But where do you think the contaminated soil will go? It will probably end up in the nearest landfill and become a problem for future generations. You cannot get rid of contamination, just hide it for a while.
    Can someone record some video of the building as it’s coming down and upload to youtube? I am at work this morning and cannot record it myself. So, if anyone can record it, that would be great. Thanks
    I mean to replace and shut down the two existing Tim Horton’s (the run-down one without a drive-thru, and the one that is only a drive-thru) – not to actually make a 3rd one!
    Yipee !! About Freakin’ Time !!!!!
    i’m amazed it didn’t manage to make heritage status!!!
    all kinds of other junk in this city gets that designation.
    Finally, this eyesore is coming down, how many years have we had to drive through Bells Corner’s and look at this. Why did it take so long? Whatever, it is finally coming down, I agree, we do not need another Tim Horton’s or Shopper’s Drug Mart in that space. Wonder what will go in there? Hopefully, not another restaurant that will fail either. Will be interesting to see what happens, but at least, it will be gone!!!!
    Bob Phillips
    we don’t need another Tim Hortons in Bells Corners, how about another Drugstore to compliment the 12 we already have In BC lol
    to all the memories and good times spent in bc at that s&*t hole. was a blast and a lot of hazy times. thx
    To FrankP– W need another Tim Horton’s like we need more taxes. What we really need is someone to compete with Tim Horton’s. I am tired of standing in line for 5-7 minutes while those in the drive through are out in much less time. Put up a Country Style or a Coffee Time and then, maybe, we would get some kind of service from Tim’s. As to the Vox, this is what happens when you build on contaminated soil.
    Goodbye City Slicker’s….memories for life.
    About time. I hope they build a new Tim Horton’s there. I think they’ve been holding off on any renos to the two Tims in that area (both way out of date and one with a crumbling parking lot) until this land was available.
    This is the most exciting thing that’s happened in Bells Corners in 10 years.
    Bob Phillips
    found another recent vid on youtube,shows part of the wall coming down
    Hear it may take 5 days to see it all come down? it’ll be worth it lol

    Bells Corners Strip boondoggle – thanks, Coun. Chiarelli!

    Jim Sourges, chair of the Bells Corners Business Improvement Association, said “It’s a dawn of a new day for Bells Corners business.”
    OH Pleaze! Give it a rest.

    It’s that kind of ridiculous politically-motivated (driven?) statement which makes all of us normal citizens roll our eyes.

    What a crock!

    Also Chiarelli said” It’s just amazing. It’s been a dream for about four years now.” He wants this strip of Richmond Road to become a hospitality hotspot.

    What the heck has he done to help revitalize this area at all in 4 years??
    Rick Chiarelli has a dream. And he has dreamed the same dream for four (4) years – that’s roughy 1400 nights! Awesome!.
    In the dream BC was going to have a new image. It was going to become a destination. Ricky’s dream is coming to reality.
    Now he can sleep at night.
    And so can I, knowing our city is in the hands of such visionaries.
    YES! Another hotel in an area of the city that has nothing to offer but a couple of crappy strip malls!

    They may as well put a $100 swimming pool up, a sand box, and call it an all inclusive Caribbean style resort! It would be just as useful.

    The area already has motels and hotels that nobody uses, why does it need another one?

    The only appeal Bells corners has is to old people. Why not just slap up another retirement farm, herd in some more old cattle with $$$ to throw around, and leave it at that?
    Now if Rick could only convince Canadian Tire to demolish the old Hooters, convince the mall with the Price Choppers to fix any of their four clocks, convince the folks sleeping in the City of Ottawa trucks to fix the potholes in the shoulder on Robertson, convince anyone to develop the other half dozen vacant lots on the strip and convince me that he is actually doing somehting other than showing up for photo ops and taking the credit for other people’s efforts.
    Bell’s Corners does NOT need *another* hotel. About time this eyesore is removed, but not in favour of another useless building. The Holiday Inn Express just opened down the strip.
    As long as Bells Corners continues to be dominated by strip malls and big box stores it will continue to have about as much charm and destination appeal as a phone booth.

    Councilor Chiarelli, you need a little more vision than another hotel for your constituents!
    It’s about time this place came down. Its a sin really..it used to be a very trendy fun club…but like all others it became overrun with druggies and went under. It’s been an eyesore for years…thank goodness its now gone!
    I’m glad; that place gave me the creeps every time I venture to Bells Corners.
    “Chiarelli wants this strip of Richmond Road to become a hospitality hotspot.”

    Sounds like Chiarelli wants to turn Bells Corner to Vanier – full of hospitality hotspots.
    Wow! A 7-year dispute between some fledgling “I am going to make a killing out of this lawsuit” lounge lizard owner and a big-oil-is-good-for-you corporation.

    I would have like to have seen this dispute settled having the two parties go at it in a 24-hour mud-wrestling match in the polluted soil of this parcel of land.

    The Canadian justice system is a joke to have let this drag on this long…
    The most exciting thing that’s happened in Bells Corners 10 years. Now they can build a much needed strip mall on that site.
    Is the eleven-year-old a relative of someone at the CBC? Why bother with the comments of an eleven-year-old, or for that matter anyone else. It’s a demolition.

    I wonder how many moons are in Chiarelli’s sky. A hospitality hot spot. There is as much a chance of that happening as St. Laurent Blvd or Merivale Roads becoming hospitality hot spots. Good grief it’s a desert of strip malls and service stations.
    I remember the hay day of the Vox lounge. It really was quite the hot spot for a few years. I will never forget the night when Mark Hammill and Dave Coulier were both there partying!! RIP VOX Lounge.

  2. ottawaowl says:


    …I remembered the friend’s comment this week when I passed the former Vox Lounge in Bells Corners. Demolition crews have erected fences and posted signs; this former “hot” spot will soon be demolished.

    The neighbourhood breathes a sigh of relief to finally have this blight removed from its business section. It’s time. It’s a dinosaur.

    But when I look at that sad building, I see more than that.

    I see the carefree fun of its wrinkle-free youth.

    On December 31, 1980, my boyfriend at the time and I drove the hour into town and had dinner at this building when it was the Corkscrew Restaurant. We walked into soft lighting illuminating a huge salad bar spread out under the dome. We helped ourselves to giant dollops of whipped butter to spread on the hot rolls that we ate with perfectly grilled steaks. After dinner we went to the Rideau Canal and skated until it was time to see the new year of 1981 arrive. A beautiful memory for me.

    Flash forward a few years. I was a newlywed and my husband and I ate there when it was Chi-Chi’s. (Just for fun, look up what chi-chi means in Spanish.) At that time I was not long back from an extended stay in Mexico, so the food was never quite Mexican enough for me (you have to be in Mexico to eat Mexican food), but the margaritas were large and plentiful.

    After that, the place changed again to City Slickers—a country/western bar. My friends, Sandi and Laura, and I celebrate our birthdays together every year, and City Slickers was the scene for my 32nd birthday. I was seven months pregnant—out to there—line dancing to “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.”

    By the time of Laura’s 40th birthday (sorry Laura, your secret’s out), the place was the Vox Lounge. The parking lot was overflowing that night, but we finally found a place to park. As we walked up to the door a young muscled man in a tight T-shirt walked out the door to have a cigarette. (It was mid-February, -15 C.) When he saw us, he said, “Well, here are some older ladies.” We laughed and walked on. When we got through the door, the bouncer said, jokingly, “Can I see some ID?” Funny guy. When we walked farther into the bar, the crowd parted around us like the Red Sea. No one wanted to catch the “old” virus. We looked like mothers coming to drag their daughters home.

    We had become dinosaurs.

    So, this week as I looked at the fences and the signs and the wrinkled building, I felt like the Vox Lounge and I had travelled parallel paths. While others might look at that building and see only dinosaur, I see youth, fun and beauty, too. Everything old has a lifetime of youth and fun and beauty inside.

    But maybe you have to travel the road at the same time to see it.

  3. ottawaowl says:

    The Vox: a symbol of the ugly underbelly of Bells Corners where politicians lie and the big businesses that finance them put their own selfish interests ahead of the common good.

  4. W H Thompson says:

    Who is this businessman Tony Isaac? He owned the site?

    – Ownership of the Vox went to Petro-Canada Ltd. (Suncor) in an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that allowed the company to buy it from the original owner, Tony Isaac, for about $1.2 million.

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