ByWard Market History

One of the oldest public markets in Canada

Among the most popular locations in the capital

The suspended tall sculpture is a papier-mâché work named “McClintock’s Dream” representing the sellers at the time. The tall overhead glass doors and the artisanal ovens that we can see throughout the market were added in the 1990s.

Le Moulin de Provence

Feeling peckish? Le Moulin de Provence has been a landmark in Ottawa for over 20 years! Let yourself be spoiled by the Italian and French flavours that the owner, Mr. Claude Bonnet, will take great pleasure in preparing for you. Here, you will surely hear many languages spoken and will always be welcomed with a smile. This restaurant is a must and brings together people from all over the world.

Here, everything is natural, fresh, of quality, local, and made on the spot as in 'an authentic bakery' would say Mr. Bonnet: the Mill makes its own leaven and fermentation. Each product is handled by an experienced baker who does his job with passion.

The Obama Cookie

You don't know about the 'Obama Cookie'? Yes, the former President of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama, stopped by the Moulin de Province when visiting Ottawa for the first time after his election in 2009. There, he tasted the famous cookie that is now named after him and also offered one to his daughter.

The French Baker

Looking for a good croissant or a crispy baguette? Don't miss 'The French Baker' at 119 Murray Street.

'You won't easily find another bakery like this in North America,' they promise.

Founded by a French expatriate who surrounded himself with French staff, this neighbourhood bakery will immerse you in an ancestral know-how, recognized worldwide. Their bread, pastries and desserts are the perfect snacks for your visit to the neighbourhood!

Text version of the audio

You are standing in front of the Byward Market building, one of the largest and oldest public markets in Canada! It is the most symbolic market building and the heart of one of Ottawa's liveliest squares for over two centuries.

The original monument was built in 1876 by Mr. James Mather in honour of the legendary builder of the Rideau Canal, Colonel John By. In fact, you are looking at the new building as the first one burned down in 1926. Its reconstruction, in 1927-28, attracted farmers and artisans from all over the region.

This building is easily recognizable as a public market of the time thanks to its vast metal canopy that goes all around the structure.

A true cultural crossroads bringing together the Francophone and Irish communities, it is here that you will find agri-food products, general stores, and popular canteens that make the place so effervescent.

As you can see, this two-story structure was entirely built with bricks. With its neoclassical style, it is also distinguished by its gable roof, its sheet metal cornice, its semicircular entrances, and its square windows on the second floor.

By the late 1960s, the building had lost its iconic place as a public market and was sorely lacking in TLC: the building was in bad shape, offices unrelated to the vibrant agricultural life were moving in, and the surrounding streets were becoming very busy and congested. It wasn't until 1970 that the National Capital Commission restored this heritage jewel, a testament to a bustling life of trade.

The large sculpture you see inside (on the ceiling) is a papier-mâché piece entitled 'McClintock's Dream' depicting the vendors of the time. The large overhead glass doors and artisanal ovens, added in the 1990s, now help to enhance the architecture of this building and once again showcase the wonderful local products.

The Market had finally regained its former dynamism! All Ottawans meet there for a drink or to do their shopping. It is also a place that attracts visitors from all over the world. Open 7 days a week, every day of the year, let yourself be intoxicated by the beautiful encounters and taste the culinary products from here.

Extract of
Self-Guided Tour of the Byward Market History & Ottawa Must-See Places

Self-Guided Tour of the Byward Market History & Ottawa Must-See Places image circuit

Presented by : Société économique de l’Ontario

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