Usually one looks for the solution to a puzzle.

In this case the puzzle is the solution.

A new condominium development in Ottawa includes the city’s first puzzle parking system. The Eddy on Wellington Street West sits atop a two-level garage like no other in town. It contains a system of  fully-automated, sliding platforms that take the vehicles and slide them into compact parking spaces.

“The easiest way to compare it is everybody remembers the sliding puzzle game. And we puzzle cars back to an entrance,” says Kamiel Koot, Director of 5BY2 Parking – the European company that built the system.

Puzzle parking is relatively common in Europe. But this is just the second system in all of Canada.

The big advantage to puzzle parking is that it takes up much less space than a conventional parking garage. Koot says that, depending on the configuration, it can accommodate 2 to 3 times more vehicles. The Eddy can park 47 vehicles on just two parking levels.

Developers decided to use puzzle parking for The Eddy because the building sits on an irregular, triangle-shaped lot. "So we had to get creative to use the space that we did have and also accommodate the number of parking units that we wanted to," says Chantal Smith of Windmill Developments.

For residents, it offers the convenience of valet parking without the valet. They simply drive into a single garage, park on the platform, exit the vehicle and, with the push of a button, it disappears underground. "It goes down. It gets moved. And you can watch on the screen where it is at what point, says new resident Astrid Ahlgren. “And then to bring it up again we simply key in our fob and we watch the car come up. It's terrific."

It’s a first for Ottawa, but won’t be the last. The same company is planning a bigger puzzle parking system for the new Zibi development at Chaudière Falls.