Mechanicsville is a historical neighbourhood west of downtown between the between the Ottawa River and the Queensway/417, and its main streets are the east-west Wellington Street/Scott Street & Somerset St. Preston St connects to Dow's Lake, and Parkdale Ave (and Tunney's Pasture) marks the neighbourhood's western boundary.
The area's most prominent landmark is the Holy Virgin Memorial Church and the Embassy of Indonesia.
The community grew up along the Canada Central Railway line connecting Ottawa to Nepean and points west. The earliest modest wood-frame houses dated back to 1875, and were plank covered, with foundations extending 4 inches to allow brick finishing when homeowners could afford the upgrade. The area was annexed to the city of Ottawa in 1911 and was know as Mechanicsville since that time. Riverside areas were demolished in the 1950s and 60s to make way for the Ottawa River Parkway, since (in 2012) renamed the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway. In the 1980s, the railways lands became repurposed as the Transitway. There is still an older industrial area along Bayview.
The area between Bronson and Preston is also called Centretown West.
The community is close to various government offices at Tunney's Pasture, and along Booth Street at Dow's Lake. The community has excellent access along the West Transitway, as well as O-train service at the Bayview Station.
The area is mostly residential, with smaller early 1900s wood-frame/wood siding homes on grid streets. Along Parkdale Avenue, there are several newer high-rise apartment buildings. There has been an increase in infill homes, as well as new low and high income housing. The community is undergoing rejuvenation similar to nearby communities like Westboro Village and Parkdale.
West Centretown is an older neighbourhood, with 30% of the homes pre-dating 1946, and 16% built 1946 -1960, 18% built 1961 -1970, 17% built 1971 - 1980, 12% built 1981 to 1990, and 6% built since 1991. The West Centretown neigbhourhood has 5,600 dwellings, of 10% are single family, 5% are semi-detached, 13% are row houses, 8% are apartment duplexes, 36% are high-rise apartments (over 5 stories), and 27% were low-rise apartments. Given th number of apartments in the area, its no surprise that the great majority (77%) of residents rent, and 23% own their homes.
The community is dotted with small shops & grocery stores. Residents have ready access to shops & services downtown and along Carling Avenue.
The community adjoins the Ottawa River Parkways and the adjacent recreational pathways. Several museums (notably the National War Museum) are close to the neighbourhood. On the other side of the Queensway is Dow's Lake and access to the Rideau Canal pathways systems, and in the wintertime, the Skateway.