ByWard Market

The ByWard Market is Ottawa's premier shopping and dining destination. With many independent shops, diverse restaurants, cafes and culinary treats, plus a farmers' market, colourful nightlife and eye-catching street art, ByWard Market offers an exciting outing in Ottawa.

The Market is a fun single stop for shopping, dining and entertainment. And it’s an incredible place to visit regardless of the season or the time of the day. There is always something going on.

Located in the heart of downtown Ottawa close to the banks of the Ottawa River, ByWard Market is easily accessible by public transit. Paid and free parking is available. The area can also be reached by OC Transpo buses and train service.

For up-to-date information and details on ByWard Market, we recommend you visit their website. For information about other places of interest to explore nearby, keep scrolling to see what Destination Ontario recommends.

Hanging baskets of flowers in front of the ByWard Market

More about ByWard Market

ByWard Market is not just the largest and busiest market in Ottawa, it’s actually one of the largest and oldest markets in all of Canada. It boasts many shops and restaurants concentrated in a four block radius including George Street, York Street, Cumberland Street, and Dalhousie Street.

It is a perfect fit for families during the day, as there is so much to see. Plus, the area is very pedestrian friendly. Come by yourself or with friends to spend the day shopping and dining. And at night, ByWard Market makes for the perfect date night, with music and dancing venues.

ByWard Market is a beloved local treasure, and that is reason enough to add a visit to your Ottawa itinerary. This hip, bustling area contains a farmers' market, unique boutiques, galleries, pubs, restaurants, bars, bakeries, coffee houses, and street art. Over 600 businesses call the market area home. And it’s all found within four city blocks. It’s one of the busiest and trendiest neighbourhoods in all of Ottawa. Be prepared to spend hours exploring everything the market has to offer.

Open every day of the year, the day starts early in ByWard Market and lasts into the early hours of the morning. There’s a different atmosphere depending on the time you visit. Come and explore during the day and then come back to experience the vibrant nightlife. You’ll be sure to notice something new each time you visit. There’s a reason why ByWard Market is a popular Ottawa attraction. You have to experience it in person. Don't forget to snap a selfie in front of the famous Ottawa sign too. While strolling the area, keep your eye out for engaging street art created by local artists.

The centrepiece of ByWard Market is the farmers' market. This large indoor market features a vast assortment of food vendors, local farmers, artisan products, handcrafted items, and flowers. To get the freshest produce, you should arrive early. The smells alone will have you lingering in the aisles ready to taste the latest samples. Don't forget to look at the market's ceiling. That's where the colourful McClintock’s Dream is located. It is a large papier mâché sculpture that pays tribute to the many market vendors throughout the years.

The ByWard Market is a truly astonishing place that has it all. There are over 100 shops and boutiques dedicated to fashion (both trendy and vintage), books, and home décor to browse. It’s almost certain that you will find something that you didn’t know you needed. And there are beauty salons and professional services to visit too.

When it comes to food, the culinary treats found in ByWard Market are endless. You should not leave without trying famous Canadian foods like poutine and a BeaverTails pastry. Zak’s Diner is an institution of Ottawa that not only serves up Canadian fare, but does so 24/7. With over 100 restaurants and eateries, there is something that will appeal to everyone’s tastes. You can find Japanese, Italian, Texas BBQ, Indian, Mexican, Memphis-style ribs, Thai and Middle Eastern options to name just a few, in addition to local Canadian cuisine.

There are also multiple nightlife and entertainment venues that transform the area into Ottawa’s nightlife hub. The spirit and merriment are infectious, especially in summer, with outdoor dining and live music performances. In winter, you can dance the night away indoors. While in the area, stop at the oldest tavern in Ottawa, the Chateau Lafayette (lovingly known at The Laff), established in 1849.

ByWard Market was established in 1826. Lt. Col. John By, builder of the nearby Rideau Canal, laid out the street plan himself. The area quickly developed into a major commercial hub buoyed by the workers building the Rideau Canal. The area was forever transformed and has been a commercial centre in Ottawa ever since. As the area expanded, more and more buildings were added. And many of these original buildings from the different eras still remain. The blend of different architecture styles help give the area its eclectic and trendy vibe felt today.

Last updated: November 15, 2023

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