ByWard Market picture1 of 2
ByWard Market2 of 2
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Key Info

298 Dalhousie Street

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.7

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 5.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Sitting in the heart of downtown Ottawa, the beloved ByWard Market is one of the country's oldest and largest public markets. Throughout the year, you'll find local vendors selling everything from souvenir trinkets to maple sugar candy to handmade cold-weather necessities like hats and mittens. This is the ideal place for fresh produce or a cheap meal on-the-go; during the summer, outdoor stalls sell local favorites like poutine (french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy) and BeaverTails (fried dough covered in everything from chocolate to cheese). Surrounding the main market building home to the Moulin de Provence Bakery, a favorite snack stop of President Obama are numerous boutiques, restaurants and nightlife spots. Don't worry if you're visiting in the winter those same yummy stalls stay open, but they just move indoors.  

Most recent visitors agreed that you have to stop by this market during your stay and advised setting aside several hours to explore the vendors and surrounding businesses (reviewers were especially fond of the pubs).

The ByWard Market includes George Street North, Dalhousie Street from George to Cathcart, and Sussex Drive East to Cumberland Street West. It's open every day (the outdoor market opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m., though hours may vary depending on the weather) and is free to explore. For more information about vendors and special events, check out the market's website.

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#1 Rideau Canal

Snaking its way through the center of Ottawa, the Rideau Canal is one of the city's most historic attractions. This 125-mile waterway was originally constructed between 1826 and 1832 to create a secure supply and communications route between Montreal, Québec, and Kingston, Ontario roughly 120 miles southwest of the capital. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the city's most beloved features.

During the summer, you'll find the Rideau Canal filled with boats (both private and commercial) and the paved pathways surrounding it crowded with walkers, runners and bicyclists. If you'd like to tour the canal by boat, consider signing up for a trip with Rideau Canal Cruises. Cruises, which take visitors from Chateau Laurier to Dow's Lake (round trip), typically last 90 minutes and take visitors past nearly 30 sights along the canal. You can also borrow a bike from RentABike for CA$10 (around $8) an hour. As the temperatures begin to drop, the canal transforms into the world's largest skating rink, spanning 4.8 miles and featuring a surface area equivalent to 90 Olympic-sized hockey rinks. It's also lined with stands selling hot chocolate and soup, as well as heated huts in case you need a break from the cold.

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