My Byward Market

There is nothing matching the bustle of Ottawa’s oldest public market. As the sun comes up and the shopkeeper’s set out the morning’s freshly baked pastries on display into the windows of the boulangeries, the city awakens. Amongst its quaint four blocks, the energy of the capital’s most livable neighbourhood comes to life. Strolling under the awnings of the market’s specialty shops I weave through the sidewalk’s pedestrian traffic—the flawlessly dressed professionals clutching their leather briefcases move at a quick pace in their high-heeled shoes as they rush to the nearing offices and up towards Parliament Hill. The charming cafés offer a brief respite and I stop in at Café 55 where I’m greeted by a familiar face offering my usual brew of authentic Italian double espresso. I follow my caffeine intake with a rich almond croissant and piece of apricot pie at Moulin de Provence.

Rideau Centre, however, is my ultimate destination. I’m attending an art exhibition this evening at the Ottawa Art Gallery and so the city’s premier shopping locale is the ideal place to find on trend pieces. I can’t help but pore over the haute designer looks at Nordstrom’s department store. I peruse the chic newest collection at Kate Spade New York and dazzle at BCBG’s premier urban fashions. I decide on a Michael Kors flowing ‘piora’ skirt with a hem that just barely sweeps the floor. Piora, I recall means ‘to blossom‘—reminding me of the bouquets of fresh organic-grown flowers to be found from Byward’s many artisanal vendors along George street.

My Byward day is just getting started. Walking past the International Cheese & Deli and Lapointe’s fresh water seafood store, I reminisce of the summer’s seasonal fresh fruit and vegetable stands that typically string along this block but have now closed up for the oncoming winter season. Soon that exclusive Canadian delight of maple syrup served on crisp white snow will make up for the turn of season. It is time to dine with friends at Sidedoor where we indulge in their famously unique cuisine of tapas, and the chef’s suggested crispy Ontario polenta and herb salad paired with a glass of Niagara Vidal. The hip upscale sophistication of Social calls us. The elegant atmosphere and exquisite cocktails provide the perfect “je-ne-sais-quoi” to our evening.

With a quick stop home I change into my outfit and dash off to the gallery’s offerings of art and culture. Afterall, it is just downstairs. They say something is always happening in the market. This is My Byward.

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