Chris Bradshaw—searching for a better tomorrow

Jon Legg

Sandy Hill streets have lost a vital caregiver with the passing of Christopher Bradshaw. Chris possessed the most imaginative and active mind, never stopping its calculations of new ways to make our cities more liveable. The goal of pollution-free transport was never far from his thoughts, and he lived his life in a search for sustainability. He never excluded any segment of society in his objective of a better tomorrow for the widest swath of our community.
Methods of support for walking, biking, and car sharing were his main topics, but in a broader sense the Green Party encapsulated his overall approach. His community-building skills did not limit their focus to the environment; he was equally happy to spend a snowy morning clearing the banks at Rideau Street crossings so that wheelchairs, baby carriages and those with balance difficulties had unrestricted access. All to make it unnecessary to drive a car. But also recognizing that the car had its valid uses, just not as a wasteful individual conveyance, he co-founded the very successful Vrtucar—that name was probably yet another of the catchy slogans and names he dreamt up to further the cause.
Chris was also immersed in ways to allow aging in place and to ensure government projects included deliverables to help the aging continue to thrive in their own neighbourhoods. Chris leaves a big hole in the advocacy for transportation solutions at the human level and for liveable cities in general.
Chris devoted his life to making the community a better place to live. He was not an ivory-tower intellectual, being happy to do the ground-level work as well as attending countless meetings to discuss policies and programs. At the community level, for many years he delivered IMAGE to houses on his street. In doing so, he enriched everyone’s life.
More specifically, he was the spark plug for groups that wished to encourage positive developments in city life. One such group was FUR, “Friends of Uptown Rideau” which would meet monthly in a Rideau Street motel’s dining room; Chris had persuaded the manager to donate it for their use. “Everything could be better than it is!” is how one of his FUR colleagues remembers him; this colleague also remembers that a big part of Chris’s life had been devoted to making the quality of our lives better. While cajoling the City of Ottawa and the local Business Improvement Area about the cleanliness of Uptown Rideau and the need for improvements, Chris could also be seen touring the Rideau Street sidewalks and picking up things that others had negligently left behind.
Although his constant interest in Uptown Rideau Street made him a natural contributor to the City-sponsored Uptown Rideau Redevelopment Committee, his civic interest was city-wide. For example, his involvement also included seniors’ activities. He was key to involving another FUR colleague in the Seniors Driving Subcommittee of The Council on Aging. Both the Subcommittee and the COA itself will miss him sorely.
The preceding comments are an amalgamation of comments from his FUR colleagues: Doug Aldworth, Peter Ferguson, Joan Kennedy and Jon Legg.