Presenting: Ottawa’s Byward Market – Special Events, Culture & Art, Boutiques and Culinary Delights in a Historic Setting

4. There are also a number of nightlife opportunities in the ByWard Market. Please tell us about those.

The Market is home to over 20 nightclubs featuring world reknowned dj’s and live music; as well as more than 50 restaurants, pubs and lounges that stay open until 2 am. You’ll find everything from martinis and single malt scotches to a world wide selection of wines and spirits. Venues run the gamut from intimate to extravagant; for the salt of the earth and the cream of the crop. Some not to be missed experiences include Fat Tuesdays New Orleans Experience (cajun cuisine and a carnival atmosphere), the Rainbow Bistro (live blues music), The Collection/Mercury Lounge/ Bar 56 (3 floors of martinis, dj’s, culture and style), and Zaphod Beeblebrox (recently made famous as the filming location for the Rolling Stones latest video).

5. What type of retail and shopping opportunities can be found in the area?

With most retail shops being locally owned and operated, Market business owners are masters of their crafts. You’ll find quality, experience and cutting edge trends in the many fashion, housewares and specialty boutiques. If you’re looking for locally designed jewelery and clothing or picks from designers across North America and Europe, the shops on Sussex, Clarence and Dalhousie will wow you! If your interest in cooking has been piqued, try Ma Cuisine, Les Concepts Zone or Domus Housewares for kitchen gadgets galore! From there, of course, you’ll start to want to redecorate your whole house… and this is the place to do it. Roche Bobois, Philip Van Leeuwen and many more furniture shops are to be found, along with specialty bath and bedding stores such as Mon Lit and Bed Behaviour. This is only a sampling of the variety of shops – you really have to visit to see for yourself!

Ecclectic boutiques

6. What special events are you planning during the ByWard Market Mardi Gras?

Warm your fingers, toes, and your spirits as you take part in a variety of great activities all week long. From a masquerade ball to live Southern bands, you will find fabulous entertainment options for everyone at ByWard Market Mardi Gras from February 3 – 14th.

Plus, all week long, take advantage of extraordinary discount prices at 20 of the ByWard Market’s trendiest boutiques and salons. Over 25 great ByWard Market restaurants and bars will be serving up special Mardi Gras Menus all week; with tasty Southern dishes and beverages such as all-you-can-eat Creole mussels, Mardi Gras martinis, Cajun seafood jambalaya, and much more.

Mardi Gras beauties celebrate….

7. You are planning a “Winterlude Stew Cook-Off” for February 3, 2006. Please tell us about this special event.

For only $10 you can sample stew created by over 20 of the Market’s finest restaurants, including last year’s winner of both Judge’s and People’s Choice awards, Luxe Bistro. The 15th annual Winterlude Stew Cook-Off takes place at the south end of the ByWard Market Building on Friday, February 3, between 12 and 2 p.m.

Winners are chosen by the public as well as by a panel of celebrity judges including a master chef from Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School. All proceeds from the stew cook-off will be donated to Operation Go Home.

8. You have another special event planned for February 18, 2006: a Snow Volleyball Tournament. Please tell us about that.

Winter doesn’t need to be spent inside! The Snow Volleyball Tournament brings out up to 40 teams to compete for bragging rights in friendly competition. The action takes place on Saturday, February 18 at 3:00 pm beside the Whiskey Bar at 112 York Street. Proceeds raised at the event will be donated to Operation Go Home.

9. Please tell us about the galleries and the arts and culture opportunities that are accessible in and around your area.

To start with, the National Gallery of Canada anchors the Market at it’s north-west edge. And just across the street is the Notre Dame Basilica – a beautiful cathedral worth a visit to see the marbled painted archways and pillars. Throughout the Market you’ll find many small galleries, commercial and publicly owned. The Ottawa School of Art offers short courses, workshops and lectures, and has a shop, a student gallery and a large public gallery. Lafreniere & Pai Gallery is home to works by some of Canada’s best glass and ceramic artists, and Gallery of the Kanadas showcases aboriginal and inuit art. Many restaurants host exhibitions, and the Sussex Courtyards are home to several whimsical sculptures.

Located in the heart of Ottawa

10. What are the ByWard Market Ambassadors?

The ByWard Market Ambassador program is operated through a community partnership and includes tourism, safety and information functions. Each summer ByWard Market Ambassadors circulate throughout the Market area contributing to a positive Market experience by…

– Providing tourists & the public with an on-street resource for questions about the Market & the City
– Providing a safety &security function by monitoring the street activity & responding to situations that require intervention
– Providing front-line response & first aid treatment in the case of accident or injury
– Maintaining positive community relations with all Market stakeholders

Look for the bright yellow t-shirts with INFO on the back…

11. What are some of the special events coming up in 2006?

The Market is its own festival! Special times of the year are:

May – Celebrate the spring return of fresh local produce and bedding plants to the outdoor market, the opening of patio season, and new spring fashions.

June – Sunday, June 4th – the ByWard Market Auto Classic gives you one more reason to visit the Market, as over 100 classic and collector vehicles are on display throughout the Market

July – Canada Day on July 1st, the ByWard Market is the place to see and be seen! Close enough to Parliament Hill to catch the fireworks, make the Market your base of operations for meeting up with friends, people watching and celebrating.

September – Bring home the harvest! And while you’re picking up apples and squashes, leeks and garlic, take a detour to find some back to school fashions.

October – Get all you need for your Thanksgiving feast at our local butchers, bakeries and outdoor market. And then come back to pick up your pumpkin for Hallowe’en!

December – The Market turns into a winter wonderland! Fresh pine boughs decorate the heritage streetlamps, carollers serenade you with traditional Christmas carols, and free horse-drawn carriage rides are offered in the weekends leading up to Christmas. The heritage buildings and cobbled courtyards make an excellent backdrop for a taste of the holidays as they were one hundred years ago.

Thank you, Meg, for giving me a good overview of the ByWard Market. I look forward to checking out some of these places in person in a few weeks from now.

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