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Ottawa Shopping Style Series: PART II: The ByWard Market beyond Sussex Drive


Ottawa has tons of great neighbourhoods with unique style and shopping experiences. The Ottawa Shopping Style Series will take you on a tour of Ottawa’s best shopping districts.

Valerie Dumaine Jean Dress, at VictoireValerie Dumaine Jean Dress, at VictoireThere are far too many stores in the ByWard Market district to go through them all. As a series of interconnected streets and courtyards, it's easy to miss some of the fantastic spots that locals make sure to hit when out on a shopping spree. Follow the route outlined below to make sure you don’t miss any of these fantastic finds.

Where better to start your shopping tour but at the ByWard Market Building on the corner of William Street and George Street which runs the length of one market block. Pop in and out of the artisan stores that line the William Street side of the building. Here you can find stunning jewellery at all price points, from cute earrings to one-of-a-kind hand-crafted necklaces at Csilla Ekes. On the east side of William Street, check out Allegro Clothing where new and vintage finds mingle in one great store.

Cross York Street and continue down William Street to Frou Frou Boutique for a great selection of unique and trendy clothes. Attached to the store is the Sassy Bead Co. where literally thousands of beads are just waiting to be turned into your creation.

Workshop BoutiqueWorkshop BoutiqueTurn right on Clarence Street and scope a place for dinner as you walk to Dalhousie Street. Turn left on to Dalhousie and meander two blocks to the corner of St. Patrick Street. Here you’ll find Victoire, a fantastic store bursting with Canadian designers and a classic but edgy style. Next door is Workshop Studio and Boutique; the store’s concept is to showcase the work of the two owners and of other talented women in the Ottawa community and beyond. They have a little of everything from handbags and clothing to home accessories and giftware.

Walk back to Murray Street and head west (right). Stop at The French Baker to taste a mouthwatering cookie, croissant or pain au chocolat. Then continue up Murray Street and turn right down Parent Ave. to reach the upscale Lida Boutique where you can find designer duds from Diane Von Furstenburg, Max Mara, Nicole Miller and more. Next door is Funk Your Junk, a quirky store that carries the best in hippy chic.

Return south to Clarence Street and turn right (west), making your way up Clarence St. to Jeanne d’arc Courtyard. As you happily swing your shopping bags, stop to admire the Tin House Courtyard (on the north side of Clarence), and look up! Otherwise you might miss the beautiful sculpture created by tinsmith Honoré Foisy to advertise his work (restored in 1973 by Art Price). Cross the Jeanne d’arc Courtyard through York Street, then into the Clarendon Courtyard on the south side of York to peruse the racks of Roadtrip Clothing for stylish men’s and women’s wear and accessories.

If you are totally exhausted from a full day of shopping, wake-up with a delicious latte next door at Planet Coffee or head back to the hotel and try on all your new duds.

Ottawa Shopping Style Series: The ByWard Market beyond Sussex Drive

A. ByWard Market Building – 55 Byward Market Square
B. Allegro Clothing Store – 53 William Street
C. Frou Frou Boutique – 11 William Street
D. Victoire - 246 Dalhousie Street
E. Workshop Studio and Boutique – 242-1/2 Dalhousie
F. The French Baker - 119 Murray Street
G. Lida Boutique – 112 Parent Avenue
H. Funk Your Junk – 110 Parent Avenue
I. Roadtrip Clothing – 24B York Street

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Celebrate this Easter with local foods


Guest post by Dan Bader of Savour Ottawa

Easter is approaching especially quickly this year, almost a full calendar page earlier than it has in recent years. Cooking large meals for friends and family can be stressful as we strive to find the perfect dishes to capture the mood of a particular season or holiday. Sweet potato or squash? Traditional leafy salads or something with a little more pizzazz? How much dessert will people eat? Ah, the questions plaguing the minds of the home schooled chef!

To alleviate some of those stresses and help beat back the endless plague of questions, consider focusing on local and seasonal foods where possible this year.

According to the most recent census, the Ottawa region is home to over 1,000 farms! With several sheep farmers among them, serving a rack or shoulder of local, pasture-raised lamb is an easy choice. Get to know these farms a bit better in the following paragraphs and give one a call to get that something special for your Easter feast.

  • Aubin Farms are a self-described ‘real old-fashioned farm’ with a variety of products from which to choose. Their sheep are grass-fed and pastured on a farm that strives to be a ‘closed loop’ where the sheep are a vital part of the ecology that makes everything grow. You can also visit them on Facebook!
  • The folks at Dusty Lane Farms have made it their goal to help people eat local all year round with their flock of sheep. They raise their sheep naturally on pasture in the summer and on their own home-grown hay in the winter.
  • The flock of Katahdin sheep at La ferme Albé are watched over diligently by Salt the watch llama! They were a double finalist in the 2007 “Gala de l'Excellence de Prescott-Russell” which recognizes successful Franco-Ontarian entrepreneurs. They sell all your favourite cuts as well as lamb sausages, rosettes and fricadelles.
  • The owners of Morrison Manor Organics spent 10 years searching for the farm of their dreams. Taste their dedication in the flavour of their all-natural, organic-fed lamb. They also produce a variety of poultry and homemade specialty pet foods.
  • Heritage and specialty breeds are the focus of production at The Pickle Patch. Owner Aartje den Boer keeps her organic-fed sheep working to maintain the lawn while her pigs help prepare the fields for planting – efficient!
  • The raising of Cotswald sheep at Villa August farm is part of a greater strategy of commitment to environmentally sound farming practices and sustaining rare breeds of plants and animals.
  • Named after a beautiful flower from their native Australia, the folks at Waratah Downs Farm believe in “keeping agriculture close to the home and to the heart.” You can find out more about their farm and their sheep at or on Facebook.

Although most of these farms sell from their farm gate, you can also find them at several food shops across Ottawa. With so many great sources for locally raised lamb, the decision about what to serve at your Easter celebration is simple!

Never cooked lamb before? NO PROBLEM, this blog has collected a couple of great starter recipes for all the rookies out there. They include, braised lamb shank with mint-parsley pesto, lamb chops with citrus sauce, and roast lamb with spiced red cabbage.

Whatever you decide to cook for Easter dinner and every meal thereafter, consider the amazing assets available to you in the form of all of the foods grown locally, right here in Ottawa.

Savour Ottawa

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Something a little less ordinary… for adults!


Image: Martin Lipman © Canadian Museum of NatureImage: Martin Lipman © Canadian Museum of Nature Looking for something out of the ordinary to do this weekend? Get ready to party, because the Canadian Museum of Nature hosts its third Nature Nocturne event this Friday, March 22 from 8:00 pm until midnight.

This month’s theme is SPRING! Although there may still be a bit of snow on the ground, the environment inside Nature Nocturne this weekend is sure to be warm and “blooming” with adventure!

For those of you who haven’t already heard about these incredible monthly events, Nature Nocturne is an evening of discovery, dancing, DJs, and drinking (responsibly!) in a dramatic setting: the museum itself! The museum transforms into a nightclub, with two dance floors and access to the museum exhibits and special installations.

Have a “whale” of a time in the main foyer or snap some shots with dinosaurs while you roam throughout the exhibits. Don’t forget to tag your Twitter photos with the hashtag #naturenocturne to get them displayed on the giant screen at the top of the stairs in the atrium.

In the Queen’s Lantern (the dramatic glassed-in area above the main entrance), DJ Tdot is returning to keep you on your feet, and the fourth floor dance floor will host several different DJs: Adam Saikaley, Jas Nasty, Greg Reain and VJ Ina.

The team at the museum has created a craft workshop where you can build your own ode to spring if your feet get tired from dancing! Catch a glimpse of upcoming exhibits in the “pilot lab” and explore local artists’ fibre-art rock installation coordinated by Wabi Sabi.

It’s recommended to book your tickets in advance to lessen the wait time to get in, and to ensure you don’t miss this amazing event. Tickets are $20 (taxes included) per person. Cash bars can be found on all four levels, and snacks are for sale throughout the museum. And mark your calendars: the next Nature Nocturnes are scheduled for April 26; September 20; October 25; and November 22.


cmn nn 98Image: Martin Lipman © Canadian Museum of Nature

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St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in Ottawa!


Heart & Crown - Byward MarketHeart & Crown - Byward Market If you will be spending St. Patrick’s Day in Ottawa this year, you will not be disappointed with the opportunities in the city to celebrate! Whether you plan to down a pint or two of green beer, learn about Ottawa’s Irish heritage, or celebrate in your own way, being in Ottawa will make you feel as lucky as a four leaf clover.

Ottawa is home to many Irish pubs that will certainly be catering to Irish (and Irish-for-the-day) celebrants. The Heart & Crown has four locations throughout the city (including the H&C on Preston Street, James Street Pub on Bank Street, and the Aulde Dubliner/Pour House in the ByWard Market district) and is always popular on St. Patrick’s Day. Arrive early as there will certainly be a line-up – the ByWard Market location has said that St. Patrick’s Day is usually their busiest day of the year!

D’Arcy McGee’sD’Arcy McGee’sD’Arcy McGee’s, found on downtown Ottawa’s Sparks Street, is also a popular spot on this holiday. They will be hosting live music on the 15th and 16th for anyone who wants to start their celebration a day or two early. The pub is named for Thomas D’Arcy McGee, an Irish immigrant and one of the Fathers of Canadian Confederation, who was assassinated just steps away from this building’s front door in 1868.

The Aulde Dubliner and Pour House is another pub from the Heart & Crown chain that can be found in the ByWard Market neighbourhood. They will host live music on St. Patrick’s Day from 11:30AM until close, and it is another place that you can expect to find a line-up on March 17!

Brothers Beer BistroBrothers Beer BistroIf you can do without the green colouring and are interested in trying a local Ottawa brew, a variety of brew pubs and breweries can be found in Ottawa. Try something from Broadhead Brewing Company, Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, or Kichesippi Beer Co.; all are brewed the Ottawa area. And at Brothers Beer Bistro, every menu item has beer as an ingredient and the staff can recommend great pairings with many items.

There are also plenty of ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Ottawa without venturing to the pubs.

If you like to stay active, the Ottawa Irish Rugby Club partners with The Running Room for an annual Ottawa St. Patrick's Day Run. Taking place along Colonel By Drive, the event will be on March 16 this year and prizes will be awarded for best costumes in addition to top competitors in the 5km and 10km categories! A Family Fun 1K Run/Walk will also take place.

For a more traditional Irish celebration, St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts will host both a parade and a Grand Irish Party on Saturday, March 16, and a St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon on the 17th. The luncheon, hosted in the deconsecrated Catholic church in Ottawa’s Lowertown neighbourhood, will have live entertainment, music and dancing. St. Brigid’s is the home of the National Irish Canadian Cultural Centre, and the party continues after St. Patrick’s Day as well. On March 26, they will host Matt Cranitch and Jackie Daly, two well-known performers of Irish music.

Bytown MuseumBytown MuseumOf course, no St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Ottawa would be complete without a nod to the city’s Irish heritage. About 60% of the labourers who constructed the Rideau Canal were Irish immigrants who had settled in the area. The Bytown Museum, housed in Ottawa's oldest stone building and found at the Ottawa Locks, traces these stories and the history of Ottawa's early years. On the opposite side of the lock, a Celtic cross was raised in 2004 by the Rideau Canal Celtic Cross Committee to commemorate the thousands of lives lost during the construction of the Canal from 1826-1832.

No matter how you celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day in Ottawa, as the Irish blessing says, “May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow / And may trouble avoid you wherever you go.”


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Blasting ice in the Rideau River


Despite the heavy snowfall we’ve experienced over the past 24 hours, the worst of the winter weather seems to be behind us. Thoughts in Ottawa are turning to spring: maple syrup and rubber boots, to be followed by daffodils and tulips. One early spring tradition is the annual break-up of ice in the Rideau River.

The main channel of the river runs just east of downtown—the more famous Rideau Canal runs through the centre of town—and empties via waterfall into the Ottawa River. To prevent the buildup of huge chunks of ice and subsequent upstream flooding, the City of Ottawa performs controlled blasting each year.

The ice has been prepared… we’re just a few days away from this impressive yearly event. Check out this short video by the BBC to see what’s about to happen:

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