Pandemic has created a moment to make a big move to revamp the ByWard Market, advocates say

By Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen, January 18, 2021

The ByWard Market is Ottawa’s downtown and it deserves the attention of governments when the time comes to doling out stimulus money in a post-pandemic national capital.

Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury and restaurateur John Borsten made that argument during a walkabout of the tourist district, which had the eerie feeling of an abandoned town on a grey winter day as eateries, retailers and other businesses stayed dark during the provincial economic shutdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.

(...)There have already been upgrades to the market’s public realm, such as the George Street plaza outside of the central market building and the William Street pedestrian walkway between George Street and Rideau Street. Those two projects helped set the vision for a grand pedestrian entranceway to the ByWard Market from Rideau Station and the Rideau Centre.

(...)Fleury and Borsten stopped at York Street and ByWard Market Square, and reflected on the awkwardness of the current design, with an island of car parking in the middle of a super-wide publicly owned concrete corridor. The public realm plan prioritizes a transformation in the space to create a “flex plaza” between ByWard Market Square and Sussex Drive to accommodate different uses, such as festivals and outdoor dining. There would even be more trees.

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