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One of Ottawa's most recognizable and historical neighbourhoods, the ByWard Market has seen strong growth in residential efforts over the last few years. With everything fr0m luxury Ottawa condos to affordable rental housing, the variety of residents is as diverse as the eclectic mix of businesses that make up the area.
Established by Lieutenant Colonel John By in 1826, the ByWard Market is one of Canada's oldest and largest public markets.
The legendary builder of the Rideau Canal, Colonel By himself laid out the street plan, ensuring both George and York Street to be wide enough to accommodate a public market and gathering place. Now, roughly four blocks square, the Market is filled with museums, cafes, boutiques, galleries, pubs, aesthetics salons, restaurants, specialty shops and more.
Rich in history, the ByWard Market is where Ottawa was born. In the early 1800s, the British settled on the shores of the Ottawa river were called upon for lumber supplies, since the war in Europe had eliminated British access to those supplies.
With the establishment of the lumber industry in Hull, Ottawa and the British benefited greatly fr0m this new trade; many people found jobs, industry flourished, and Ottawa prospered. By 1812, the British were interested in building a water passage for ships between Montreal and Kingston, to better serve the transit routes and advance trade.
It was established that the Rideau River would be the best route; however a canal would have to be built since the Rideau Falls were the only point of contact between the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers.
Underestimating the difficulty of the project, it took several years and political contention before it was completed.
The first commercial streets were Sussex and Rideau. Small shops and businesses opened, and mills were also built along the riverbanks. Although the industry was predominantly lumber, there were also many other related businesses and the original farmers market.Once the rail service reached Ottawa in the 1850s, business boomed. A substantial rail yard was located in the market, and lasted there until the 1960s. It is now the site of the US Embassy. The Market is a very different place than it used to be, but has evolved organically, adapting well to the world and times of each generation. With the Rideau Centre open, suburban calibre shopping completed the traditional commercial forms and exceptional nightlife. This led to a massive rediscovery, establishing the ByWard Market as one of the trendiest places to live, shop, and celebrate. Along with excellent choices for shopping and dining, there is a community centre, child care, schools, extensive park space, and places of worship throughout the community. Museums and government buildings form the basis of the market's professional establishment. There is easy access to public transit, as well as to the NCC bicycle paths that run along the Ottawa River.