Wilson: Tourist potential and grim reality on a walk to the ByWard Market

You might say that I am the city of Ottawa’s ideal citizen, its stated ambition being to see more intensification of the downtown core, increased use of public transit, and an overall reduction in the city’s climate footprint.

The district has some great anchors — La Bottega, Lapointe Fish, Saslove’s Meat Market, ByWard Fruit Market, Zak’s Diner, Le Moulin de Provence, as well as, further over on Clarence Street, the elegant Paper Papier — just to name a few of my personal favourites.

For a while, these patients spilled over onto property across the road, but the owner of the low-rise apartment block must have complained; the area was fenced off.

Across Rideau, people sit in the entrance to the ByTowne Cinema, closed due to COVID.

Stairs leading down to the rear of the Shoppers Drug Mart originally were constructed of separate stones, but these proved to be a good hiding place for drugs, so the staircase was redesigned in iron.

As I write this, due to the latest COVID-inspired lockdown, the ByWard Market Square building is closed, so washrooms are inaccessible.

One summer morning, I discovered an entire block of George Street transformed into an open-air dormitory with half-naked men and women in sleeping bags.

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