Co-Op Students Explore Ottawa Part One – Ashley in the ByWard Market

Photo courtesy of Samantha Lapierre

What would you do if you were a tourist in Ottawa?

Ottawa Life Magazine asked our co-op students this question and put them to the test.

Each student was asked to pick an area of Ottawa that they wanted to explore for an afternoon. Grade 12 co-op student and figure skating extraordinaire Ashley Mowry chose to explore the ByWard Market.

When asked about her choice of location, Mowry’s reasoning was simple.

Photo courtesy of Alissa Dicaire
Photo courtesy of Alissa Dicaire

“I chose the market because I hang out there with my friends, but I wanted to see what more it had to offer.”

The ByWard Market was established by Lt-Col. John By in 1826 and the neighborhood houses one of Canada’s oldest public markets.

The market is also Ottawa’s number-one tourist attraction, as well as one of the biggest.

Some lucky OLM team members including myself, Mowry and our Web and Graphics Manager (and photographer for the day) Alissa Dicaire, met up at 10 a.m. sharp on a brisk early-November day.

Photo courtesy of Samantha Lapierre

Mowry’s first stop on her list, of course, was the famous BeaverTails stand, the first permanent stand in Canada.

If you’ve spent much time in Ottawa you’re probably already well-acquainted with these fluffy snacks, but if you haven’t had one, a BeaverTail is a delicious fried dough pastry stretched flat as a beaver’s tail. You can add a plethora of sugary toppings to the ‘tail,’ including Nutella, banana, maple spread, or the classic combination of cinnamon and sugar.

After enjoying the treat, Mowry decided that we would take a tour of the ByWard Market Square.

The ByWard Square has an unusual history. Originally constructed in 1848, the building spanned two blocks. Over the years it was destroyed by fire four times, and rebuilt as the structure we know today in 1926.

Photo courtesy of Alissa Dicaire

Alissa Dicaire

The indoor market is packed with restaurants and specialty shops, including the delicious Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

After indulging in some complimentary samples and ogling Rocky Mountain’s signature candy apples, we toured on.

Bustling with families and students alike, the Market Square is a bit of a hidden gem in Ottawa. We made our way through the square, stopping occasionally to check out restaurant menus and souvenir stores.

“There’s a lot more stuff to do here,” remarked Mowry. “When you think of the ByWard Market, you typically think of the outside market. People tend to pass by the square without a second thought.”

After finishing our mini-tour and still full of energy, we decided to head southeast to George Street.

Photo courtesy of Alissa Dicaire

Restaurants, bodegas, furniture and clothing stores and curious tourists alike line George Street, as well as the legendary Sugar Mountain.

I can assure readers that the stop was made out of necessity.

Sugar Mountain was established 23 years ago in Toronto, and currently four out of 12 Sugar Mountain locations exist in Ottawa. Many unfamiliar and delectable treats can be found at Sugar Mountain, ranging from classics like Pez to the more unusual Lester’s Bacon Soda.

As the day progressed, the weather warmed up and Mowry declared that an afternoon visit to Maman outside of the National Art Gallery was in order.

Photo courtesy of Alissa Dicaire

Maman is a distinctive sculpture by French artist Louise Bourgeois. It is among the world’s largest sculptures, and measures approximately 30 feet high and 33 feet wide. The sculpture has crouched outside of the gallery since 2005, and it is an admired, and sometimes feared, tourist hotspot.

Our trio ended the day with a stroll through Major’s Hill Park, as well as a frolic in some leaves.

Mowry says that the day really opened her eyes to what Ottawa has to offer.

“You always think there is less to do where you live. You just have to look to find stuff!”

You can look for Part Two of our OLM Co-Op Students Explore Ottawa series coming soon.

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Photos courtesy of Alissa Dicaire