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In the Ottawa area, there are three key retail districts, where you can find pretty well anything you’re looking for:

DowntownView of busy Sparks Street

This is the older part of Ottawa, particularly along Sparks Street (see below), Bank Street and Elgin Street both with many quaint shops and services, and even a couple of shopping malls. Bank Street’s retail core extends south to Billings Bridge, with suburban plazas beyond that point. There is also a nice cluster of shops and restaurants on Elgin Street, a few blocks south of the new City Hall. Because of the various government and government offices in the area, this shopping district is most busy weekdays and at lunchtime.

Sparks Street Mall

Sparks Street between Elgin & Lyon

This is one of Canada’s original pedestrian malls, dating back to 1961.Lots of shops & services, in some of the city’s oldest buildings. Lots of buskers and special events, too.

Saturday morning crowd at the Byward Market

Byward Market

northeast of Rideau Street & Sussex Drive
613-244-4410 fax: 244-4416

The Farmers Market has been the hub of Ottawa’s commercial activity since 1826. Lots of shops, cafes and nightclubs in Ottawa’s historic old Lowertown, streets built wide enough for horse-drawn carts to bring produce to market 175 years ago provide plenty of parking in modern times. Most of the city’s museums and public buildings close by, not to mention more shopping on Sussex Drive, Rideau Street (and Rideau Centre Mall). Public Parkade at 70 Clarence (between Williams and Byward)

Somerset Heights

Somerset Street West, from Bay to Rochester

This is Ottawa’s Asian village marketplace, with one-of-a-kind treasures from China, Vietnam, and Thailand. Everything from household goods, to silk, to Oriental cooking ingredients and deli food.

Somerset Village

Somerset between Bank & O’Conner

This heritage district was one of Ottawa’s first commercial areas, and is now a one-block district with many restaurants and specialty shops.

The Glebe

Bank Street from the Queensway to Lansdowne Park

This area was Ottawa’s first suburban shopping district, and has many charming old homes, tree-lined streets, complete with specialty shops, restaurants and pubs.

Stores on Preston Street

Little Italy

Preston St, north of Dow’s Lake

This area, known as Corso Italy, is chock full of Italian shops and restaurants. The area is home to the highest density of Italian immigrants who came to Canada after each of the World Wars. The neighbourhood hosts the annual Italian Week Festival each June.

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