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.