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OTTAWA Sign in the ByWard Market

Location and details

The original OTTAWA sign was installed in May 2017 for Canada’s 150th anniversary. Almost overnight, the sign (or “Ottawa letters”) became an iconic, much-loved attraction and a ByWard Market landmark.

In the fall of 2017, the sign was adopted by the City of Ottawa and moved to its current location at the York Street Plaza, just west of Sussex Drive.

Since then, the sign has been featured as the backdrop in hundreds of thousands of photos taken by locals and visitors from around the world.

Sign replacement

Designed as a temporary structure, the original sign provided enjoyment to residents and visitors for almost three years. By 2019, the sign’s year-round exposure to sun, rain and snow had resulted in significant levels of deterioration.

Given the sign’s lasting popularity, the City of Ottawa, with support from Ottawa Tourism, made the decision to replace it with a more permanent and durable structure.

The new OTTAWA letters were lit up for the first time on December 20, 2019. Designed with Ottawa’s four seasons in mind, the replacement sign is made from a robust combination of materials for long-term durability.

The new sign features an enhanced internal lighting system, which allows the letters to shine in a wide spectrum of colours. Throughout the year, the lighting is customized to reflect seasonal, celebratory and festive themes, offering ever-changing photo opportunities for residents and visitors.

The City will implement a new program in the coming weeksfor the community to submit special sign lighting requests.

Information, including lighting criteria and submission deadlines, will be available soon.