Ottawa’s Byward Market is the place to be if you’re looking for the best way to experience the nation’s capital. From entertaining buskers to amazing outdoor festivals and installations, this downtown attraction is perfect for shopping, eating and wandering on a sunny summer day.
The Market has always been a major attraction. It averages 50,000 visitors each weekend in the summer who come to enjoy the local artisan and farmers’ market that consist of 260 stands. If you’d rather stay indoors during your trip, don’t worry: there are more than 600 stores and restaurants for you to choose from.
Here’s how I spent a recent summer day in the Market:
10 a.m. Before heading downtown, I want to make sure my tummy is full and ready for the eventful day ahead. My Instagram hubby (who is also my hubby IRL) and I make our way down to Baker Street Café (385 Richmond Rd.). This spot is on a very short list of my favourite places to brunch in the city. I’m a classic eggs Benedict girl, so I stick with that this morning.
12 p.m. After brunch, we drive down to the Byward Market. We waste no time by starting with a stop at the BeaverTails booth for the tastiest dough pastry you’ll ever sink your teeth into. We never miss out on an opportunity to grab a BeaverTails Pastry when we go.
12:30 pm. We stop by Inspiration Village (York St.), which is a series of special exhibits and performing arts events taking place in recently installed shipping containers. I dance embarrassingly to an outstanding five-man mariachi band’s serenade. They were great and drew quite the crowd, so a Snapchat story was obviously inevitable. We stick around for quite awhile, take in more shows and cool off by a water fountain when we can’t take the heat any longer.
1:30 p.m. It’s time to do some shopping, and the Market has a lot to offer. Today we stick to the vendors along York Street. I was particularly drawn to a table with handmade crop tops and small leather goods, and it’s such a treat to talk to the owners while shopping. I always get to find out why they are passionate about their businesses, and how much they draw inspiration from their own cultures.
3:00 p.m. We can’t take it anymore, we’re starving. We stop by the Cucina in the Italian kitchen at La Bottega Nicastro. This gem serves up deliciously fresh cold sandwiches. I ordered a spicy salami sandwich with all the spicy eggplant. YUM.
6:00 p.m. Between the food and the sun, we can’t figure out which made us more exhausted. I live 11 minutes away from the Market, so I make my way home to change and freshen up for some more evening festivities (food + drinks + street festivals). I let my hair down and put on a cold shoulder top by Ever New. I finished the look off with belted white shorts that I picked up from the CF Rideau Centre. Then it’s off to enjoy a perfect Ottawa evening.