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ByWard Market Public Realm Plan

Project Status: 


Pop-up engagement in Cumberland and Barrhaven!

Members of the ByWard Market project team will be gathering feedback from residents on the proposed designs for future spaces and places in the ByWard Market. This is a follow-up event to our first pop-up engagement in Cumberland and Barrhaven, completed by the project team on November 9, 2018.

If you have questions, please contact

August 9, 2019
9 am Drop-in
François Dupuis Recreation Centre
2263 Portobello Boulevard, Cumberlan

August 9, 2019
4 pm Drop-in
Minto Recreation Complex
3500 Cambrian Road, Barrhaven

About the ByWard Market

The ByWard Market is one of the most well known destinations in Ottawa. This iconic precinct’s cultural and heritage assets attract local residents as well as visitors from across Canada and the world. The heritage public market building is at the ByWard Market’s symbolic core, but the precinct accommodates a diverse collection of original shops, boutiques, retailers, restaurants and public spaces. Because of its economic and cultural contributions, the City of Ottawa plans to ensure that the Market remains a popular and successful destination in the future. 

What is a public realm plan?

The public realm plan will establish a vision for the short, medium and long-term improvements made to the network of public spaces in the ByWard Market. The types of public spaces to be studied and enhanced include streets, sidewalks, parks, squares and plazas. The plan will also identify strategies and partnerships to enliven key public places within the ByWard Market.

The plan will provide direction and designs to beautify, organize and connect the ByWard Market’s public spaces to make them accessible, inclusive, safe and inviting.

Creating the plan

The planning process will study:

  • Public life and consumer behaviour
  • Pedestrians and cyclists
  • Vehicle circulations
  • Parking and loading
  • Below-grade utilities and services
  • Existing and planned context
  • Previous work completed for the study area

The data will inform the new spatial requirements and designs of sidewalks, streets, public spaces, movement patterns, landscaping and other details.

This project is scheduled to be delivered in four phases.

Phase 1: Project Launch and Study of Existing Conditions
Phase 2: Functional Planning
Phase 3: Design and Activation of Key Places
Phase 4: Recommended Public Realm Plan

Why now?

  • The creation of a public space plan is a next step outlined in the Project for Public Spaces report to City Council titled Strengthening the Future of the ByWard Market (2013)
  • The 2015-2018 Term of Council Priority directs the renewal of the ByWard Market (along with the Parkdale Market and Sparks Street)
  • The timing builds on the momentum of recent successes in the area, such as:
    • Delivery of Rideau Street Renewal (2019)
    • Renovation of the Government Conference Centre to house the Senate of Canada (2018)
    • Creation of the new Ottawa Markets governance model (2018)
    • Delivery of George Street Plaza and York Street Plaza (2017)
    • Expansion and renewal of CF Rideau Centre (2017); and
    • Other private sector investments.


This project is scheduled as an 18-month process, beginning in the summer of 2018. As these project timelines may change, please consult this site for updates.

Get Involved!

Contact information / contact us

Jillian Savage, MCIP, RPP
Urban Design
Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1
613-580-2424 ext. 14970

Related links

ByWard Market
ByWard Market Local Area Parking Study (City of Ottawa)
Capital Illumination Plan (National Capital Commission)
Core Area Sector Plan 2005 (National Capital Commission)
Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy (City of Ottawa)
Nepean Point Redevelopment Plan (National Capital Commission)
Official Plan Volume 2a – Central Area Secondary Plan (City of Ottawa)
Ottawa Confederation Line (City of Ottawa)
Ottawa Tourism
Rehabilitating the Government Conference Centre (Public Services and Procurement Canada)
Rideau Street Renewal (City of Ottawa)
Strengthening the future of the ByWard Market (City of Ottawa)
The Plan for Canada’s Capital 2017-2067 (National Capital Commission)

William Street Pilot Project

Photograph of the William Street Pilot spaces showing a group of friends sitting on colourful Muskoka chairs and talking, a couple walking by, and a view of flowers in a newly-installed planter

This project has transformed William Street, between York- and George Streets, into a people-focused space that supports the vibrancy of the Market core. The pilot concept was inspired by early ideas coming out of the ByWard Market Public Realm Study.

The design prioritizes the pedestrian experience in the heart of the ByWard Market by creating a wide promenade with more seating and greenery. Visitors to this space will have plenty of opportunities to shop, stay, relax, enjoy a meal, read a book, hang out with friends, and engage in fun activities for both kids and adults.

This new hangout space launched on June 3, 2019 and will remain open for several months. It has been created by Ottawa Markets with support from the City of Ottawa. The pilot will help the City try out new ideas quickly and cost-effectively. Data and feedback will be collected throughout the summer and used to inform future plans for the ByWard Market.

Have you visited the William Street Pilot Project? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Please take a moment to fill out a quick survey.