Ottawa And Area Neighbourhoods
The ByWard Market is where Ottawa was born, and several original cobblestone courtyards bear witness to its antiquity. Lt Col John By, the legendary builder of the Rideau Canal, laid out the street plan for the Market, designating George and York Streets to be extra wide to accommodate the horse-drawn carriages that brought merchandise and foodstuffs to be sold every day.
Established in 1826, the ByWard Market is one of Canada's oldest and largest public markets; and in keeping with century old tradition, farmers and craft merchants from across the Capital Region still gather daily. The farmers' market and artisans occupy 260 stands, and over 500 businesses flourish. The market buildings are open year-round, and open-air stalls are operated in the warmer months offering fresh local produce and flowers.
The ByWard Market has constantly been an area of fluid change, adapting to the increasingly cosmopolitan nature of downtown Ottawa, as well as trends in Canadian society as a whole. Over the years the city has developed a series of five small open-air, cobblestone courtyards adjacent to the market filled with flowers, park benches, fountains and sculptures. Several of the houses surrounding them are historic buildings.
“The Market” as it’s known to locals, is Ottawa’s number one tourist attraction, and is the premier destination for shopping, dining, arts, entertainment and professional services for residents and visitors, averaging 50,000 visitors per weekend in the summer months. It is also the setting for many popular annual events, including the culinary Tastes of ByWard, the Winterlude Stew Cook-Off, ByWard Market Mardi Gras, Buskers’ festivals and much more.
Today, the market area still retains much of the flavour of its past. Since the 1840s, the ByWard Market has served as one of the principal hubs of commerce, entertainment and leisure activities in a locale that has been transformed from a remote colonial outpost to the centre of Canada's National Capital Region. Many of the market's original industries and services have given way to a wide range of fashion, décor and specialty shops, boutiques and eclectic restaurants showcasing world cuisine, bistros, outdoor patios, taverns and fine dining. Ottawa residents and tourists continue to gather in the area to purchase vegetables and groceries, as well as to enjoy the colourful vendors and street entertainment. In an era when it must compete against slick shopping malls, the Byward Market has been able to retain its popularity. This may be attributed to the continuance of its original, somewhat unpolished marketplace atmosphere, which prevails essentially unchanged from the Victorian era.
The Market has seen strong growth in the residential sector over the last number of years, becoming one of Ottawa’s trendiest addresses. The neighbourhood is today markedly diverse with a mix of young couples, retired baby-boomers, families. The community is mainly English-speaking but there is a small francophone faction. Luxury condos, spectacular lofts, and affordable rental housing comprise the range of domiciliary options, paralleling the diversity and eclectic mix of businesses that make the area unique. Whether you’re an empty-nester, an up-and-comer, an urbanite or a growing family, you'll find something to suit your needs.
Along with the excellent choices for shopping and dining, you'll find a community centre, child care, schools, and an abundance of parks and historical places of worship throughout the community. Public transit is at your doorstep, as is access to extensive bicycle paths along the Ottawa River maintained by the National Capital Commission.
An historic farmers' market and shopping district by day, a favourite gathering place of restaurants and clubs by night - the ByWard Market just east of Parliament Hill is one Ottawa neighbourhood you won't want to miss. The ByWard Market embraces the pulse of the city, a great place to work, shop, play and live!