The Local's Guide: Ottawa's ByWard Market
Not surprisingly, the Market is one of the most frequently visited spots in the city — from boutique shops and market stalls, cafes, patisseries, restaurants and bars to live music and special events, there’s so much to take in, and always something new to experience.
But it’s also a local favourite and has been for almost two centuries.
Originally established in 1826 as a gathering place and public market for farmers, vendors and craft merchants to sell their products, the ByWard Market has grown into a neighbourhood of indoor and outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment. The ByWard Market District spans roughly four city blocks along George Street, York Street, ByWard Street and William Street, making it not only one of the oldest, but also the largest public markets in Canada today.
Whether you’re on the hunt for a unique garment, a gift or a keepsake, there’s no shortage of shopping delights in the ByWard Market.
Visit A.J Horton Goldsmith or Disegno for unique, custom and signature jewellery. Find sustainable, eco fashion by Canadian designers at Adorit Boutique, more contemporary Canadian designer fashion at Kaliyana and ethically sourced, fair-trade, handmade products from around the world at Quichua World Market.
Schad Boutique offers a curated collection of upscale accessories, clothing and footwear or choose from the timeless cotton, wool and cashmere pieces at ça va de soi. Discover the eclectic collection at Milk Shop, from jumpsuits and jewelry to fancy pens, fun puzzles and decorative pillow covers.
Food & Drink
Bring your appetite to the ByWard Market, from breakfast burritos to late night kababs and cappuccinos to cocktails, there’s something for every taste and time of day.
Start your day at one of the adorable cafés or patisseries. Fuel up with a smoothie from Pure Power Juice Bar, a Mexican churro or a traditional Montreal style bagel. Treat your sweet tooth with a French macaron, red velvet cupcake or classic Canadian BeaverTrail. Or savour a sublime gelato or sorbet at Amore Gelato, Piccolo Grande Artisan Gelateria or Mantovani 1946.
Le Moulin de Provence is a local favourite for freshly baked French pastries, artisan bread and bistro fare.
For something more substantial, 98 La La Noodles is a cozy spot for soul-warming Chinese noodles. The Senate features a daily burger special and Sidedoor is a swanky Asian inspired eatery that always draws a crowd. Social Restaurant + Lounge delivers a delicious modern twist on French and Canadian cuisine. The small-plate format at Play Food + Wine is the perfect spot for adventurous (or indecisive) diners, inviting you to try several different dishes instead of one main course.
Explore pre-prohibition beverages at Lowertown Brewery, while Atari invites you to get creative with cocktails. Grab a drink at Ottawa’s ‘original dive bar’ at Chateau Lafayette (or the Laff), a pub that's been around for over 167 years. Or rub shoulders with Ottawa’s elite at the opulent Joy on Sussex.
Things to Do
A selfie in front of the colourful Ottawa sign in Inspiration Village is an Insta must. Tour around the District and admire the heritage architecture that have made the market what it is today, from the U.S. Embassy to the Connaught Building on Sussex Drive. One lesser-known gem is the Former Geological Survey of Canada Building, which feels a bit like stepping into Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. And check out the views at Major’s Hill Park, overlooking the Ottawa River and Rideau Canal. This city park is off Mackenzie Avenue alongside the ByWard Market and features lovely gardens and winding paths to explore.
Places to Stay
A relatively recent addition to the ByWard Market District, the Andaz Ottawa on Dalhousie Street is an up-scale, contemporary hotel featuring suites with floor-to-ceiling windows to take full advantage of the urban views. If that’s not enough, head upstairs to the 16th floor Copper Spirits & Sights lounge boasting the highest rooftop views of the city. Simply splendid.
More accommodation options within walking distance from the market include The Westin Ottawa, Le Germain Hotel, Novotel Ottawa, Les Suites Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott Ottawa Downtown and the historic Fairmont Chateau Laurier.
Last updated: December 1, 2022