The Byward Market was my favourite neighbourhood when I first came to Ottawa. It had (and claimed) a European flair with its small open-air fruits-and-vegetables market, eclectic boutiques, Italian and French delis and bakeries, and historical buildings. I liked to stroll around the market and the surrounding streets, pretending I was still in Europe. I liked eating overpriced 100% non-buttery croissants and buying $10 thumb-sized pieces of cheese. In my wildest dreams, there were no huge SUVs parked on George and York Street but small German and French cars, and smoking was allowed everywhere.

What can I say, I was new to Canada.

And then I stopped being homesick and looking for an ersatz of France. I embraced what Canada had to offer, and even though I still buy a few European products here and there, I’m generally happy with the local equivalent. Hint: croissants, crêpes and French cheese are best eaten in France. In Canada, enjoy sugar pies, banana bread, peanut butter and Philadephia cream cheese.

These days, I don’t like the Byward Market that much. I see it as a tourist trap, where most restaurants and shops don’t try hard because many visitors are not repeat customers. Even the fruit and vegetable market fell out of favour with me—too many times I was handed out boxes of bell peppers that looked good on the outside just to realize that the produce was rotten—what a cheap trick!

Yet, the market is a gorgeous display of local products and colourful fruits and vegetables, especially toward the end of the summer. Just for the (free) pleasure to the eyes, it is worth a stroll.

Maple Syrup
Maple Syrup
Cucumbers, Radishes and Cantaloupes
Cucumbers, Radishes and Cantaloupes
Blueberries
Blueberries
Blueberries
Blueberries
Strawberries
Strawberries
Berries and Apples
Berries and Apples
Apples
Apples
Spanish Onions
Spanish Onions
Carrots
Carrots
Blueberries
Blueberries
Cauliflowers
Cauliflowers
Beans
Beans
Beans
Beans
Vegetables
Vegetables
Strawberries
Strawberries
Raspberries
Raspberries
Corn
Corn
Garlic
Garlic

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16 Comments

  1. Cynthia September 16, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Haha the market scam is pretty universal I guess, that’s why we don’t frequent Parisian markets or fruiteries where you cannot touch the fruits or vegetables.

    Reply
    1. Zhu September 16, 2015 at 6:37 pm

      I hate markets when you can’t choose your own produce!

      Reply
  2. Gagan September 16, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Well it is a treat for eyes for sure, I waited quite long to be there and in spite of the risen expectations, I loved the place. It has a nice vibe going on there. Although I will have to visit it another 100 times to completely know it 🙂 however we had a pretty good start, we had a very good guide 😉

    Nevertheless I wouldn’t be buying strawberries there, not just yet.

    Reply
    1. Zhu September 16, 2015 at 9:37 pm

      I think you can find cheaper seasonal delights at the supermarket. Have you been to FarmBoy? It’s a supermarket, they have cool stuff.

      Reply
      1. Gagan September 17, 2015 at 8:08 pm

        Yeah 🙂 We explored Independent store. Even they had a lovely aisle for cheese

        Reply
        1. Zhu September 17, 2015 at 10:26 pm

          Oh yes, this one is cool too.

          Reply
  3. Gagan September 16, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Not yet, will do though

    Reply
  4. Christiane September 17, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Ahhh Byward Market ! When i first arrived here, i expected it to be huge like the one in downtown Baltimore. But i still enjoy it, though not so much when it is crowded as it is tough to navigatr with a stroller.
    I also LOVE the bakery inside !! So far, all of our birthday cakes come from there 🙂

    Reply
    1. Zhu September 17, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      Yeah, the name is a bit deceptive. Did you try the French Baker on Murray street? Way better than the Moulin de Provence (although the Moulin’s display is a visual treat!)

      Reply
      1. Christiane September 23, 2015 at 10:03 am

        No i didn’t try the one on Murray Street yet. Good to know !
        Oh yeah Moulin’s display is so tantalizing !!!

        Reply
  5. Bianca September 17, 2015 at 11:32 am

    These photos are such a wonderful follow up to your story:) tnx for sharing

    Reply
    1. Zhu September 17, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      Thank you for inspiring me to share more about food! 🙂

      Reply
  6. Alan September 17, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    I remember buying fresh fruit from the orchard stands in B.C. It was the same price as the supermarket and it was fresh alright, fresh from California, the local fruit wasn’t ready yet.

    Reply
    1. Zhu September 17, 2015 at 7:40 pm

      Oh, that’s cool! There are some great markets, you just have to know which ones 🙂

      Reply
  7. Holly September 19, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Great photos, I loved the Byward Market when I stayed in Ottawa, so that is so sad to hear! I can imagine if you live in Ottawa how you would view it as being a bit of a tourist trap though.

    Reply
    1. Zhu September 20, 2015 at 12:23 am

      Yes, I remember your pictures!

      Reply

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