Department – Building the Capital – Capital Build Task Force
Opens the ByWard Market Door to Innovation and Young Entrepreneurs
THE CAPITAL BUILD TASK FORCE of the OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE, sees great promise in the new ByWard Market strategy—proposed in June to Ottawa City Council—particularly as an open door to young entrepreneurs and private sector investment.
“It is a great time for people to jump on board and create new possibilities for the ByWard Market,” said Ross Meredith, Chair of the ByWard Market sub-committee on the Capital Build Task Force. “Not only is the market opportunity tremendously attractive to entrepreneurs and innovators, but the resources available, and access to private capital, have never been better. The ByWard Market should be an iconic, public venue that brings residents and visitors together for locally- sourced food, amenities, and cultural experiences.”
The Task Force applauded the efforts of the newly-formed Municipal Services Corporation, Ottawa Markets, that oversees the operations of the Parkdale and ByWard Markets and plays an integral role with the City of Ottawa and the private sector in revitalizing this popular tourism area. They urge support for the inclusion of local produce and products, pedestrian pathways and new, modern infrastructure.
The ByWard Market was established by Lt-Col. John By in 1826 and is still one of Canada’s oldest and largest public markets. The legendary builder of the Rideau Canal, Colonel By was the mastermind of the iconic gathering place, and laid out the street plan of the Market, designating George Street and York Street to be extra wide to accommodate the creation of a public market and meeting place for people on both sides of the Ottawa River.
The Task Force has called on the City, Ottawa Markets and the local Business Improvement Area to favour innovative, unique programming that respects the Indigenous heritage of the site and its history, but also prioritizes the safety of visitors and employees in the
ByWard Market walking around, sitting or working in restaurants and shops.
The demand for innovations in accessibility and safety for public realms has spurred the creation of startups and research institutes across the globe, which include Ottawa experts such as Marni Peters, a para-Olympian who advises on accessibility compliance locally and globally.
“The ByWard Market has a unique opportunity to welcome innovators who have developed solutions that solve complex challenges for people with disabilities linked to pain, mobility, agility, hearing, seeing and more,” said Meredith, who is also General Manager at the Westin Ottawa. “For the many people with a variety of disabilities, including 16 per cent of Ottawa’s population, the fear of not being able to navigate busy, cluttered and visually-oriented environments is a major barrier to participation in ByWard Market life.”
The Capital Build Task Force supports strategic planning efforts by the City of Ottawa, in collaboration with Ottawa Markets and the ByWard Market Business Improvement Area, to improve the visitor experience in a revitalized ByWard Market.