Byward Market

The Byward Market or Lowertown as many long time residents refer to the neighbourhood  is a fun and dynamic place to work, shop and live! The Market has seen significant growth in the residential sector over the last number of years, with new addresses springing up throughout the area.The growth has come in large part due to the increase in high rise condominiums that cater to a diverse market. Featuring beautiful and luxurious addresses such as 90 George Street and The Sussex that cater to the upper echelons, there are also buildings that cater to young up and coming porfessionals and students as well as established Mandarins working on ” The Hill”. The range of residents is as diverse as the eclectic mix of businesses that make up the street scape in the market. Along with excellent choices for shopping and dining, you’ll find a community centre, child care, schools, parks and a variety of art galleries including the  National Gallery as well as  places of worship throughout the community of Lowertown. There is easy access to public transit as well as to the bicycle paths along the Ottawa River maintained by the National Capital Commission.

The Lowertown West Community Association meets monthly to discuss topics of interest and concern to the community, and welcomes new members. The neighbourhood is a very mixed one with yuppie couples and many families. The area is mainly English-speaking but there is a large francophone population as well. The Market is close to downtown, to the Rideau Centre shopping mall, to Parliament Hill and to a number of foreign embassies.

During the growth of Bytown (the former name for Ottawa) in the 19th century the Byward Market area was called Lowertown and most residents were Irish or French. The battles between these communities became the stuff of legend, although, as Catholics, both united in common cause against the wealthier Protestants. The large Catholic community attracted Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the biggest and oldest Roman Catholic churches in Ottawa. The shape of the cathedral was taken into account when the National Gallery of Canada was designed and built across Sussex Drive.

The Architectural masterpiece of the US embassy is a striking presence on Sussex with views of both the parliament buildings and the market. It has the premier spot of all embassies in Canada. A multitude of restaurants and specialty food stores have sprouted around the market area, making this neighborhood one of the liveliest in Ottawa after normal business hours. A four block area around the market provides the densest concentration of eating places in the National Capital Region, but the areas beyond this zone also offer boutiques and restaurants in abundance. As the city’s “bar district”, at night the area thrives with university students and other young adults.

Over the years the city has developed a series of five small, human-scale, open air courtyards, immediately east of Sussex Drive, stretching from Saint Patrick Street to George Street. These cobblestone courtyards are filled with flowers, park benches, fountains and sculptures. Several of the houses surrounding them are historic buildings.

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