The Byward Market holds a special place in the heart of our nation’s capital. Established in 1826 by Lieutenant-Colonel John By, it’s one of the oldest farmer’s markets in Canada and has a rich legacy. It was created as a commercial sector to support the builders of the Canal, but soon stores, taverns, hotels, residential and industrial buildings sprang up; Rideau Canal labourers started settling in; and the Byward Market was born.
Over the next two centuries the city grew, and the Market became the major food shopping destination in the region. Embassy and restaurant chefs flocked there, along with local residents from neighbourhoods all over Ottawa. In summer the square was packed with vendors on either side of the streets, their stands full of fresh local produce. Storeowners ran their businesses year-round, selling fish and seafood, fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, teas and coffees. Almost any food you could imagine was available in the Byward Market – and still is!
This incredible legacy is still alive today. In 2020, early into the
COVID-19 pandemic, Byward Market businesses were facing dwindling shoppers due to lockdowns and restrictions. Businesses were having to evolve with the rapidly changing times. Saslove’s Meat Market, Byward Fruit Market, the House of Cheese and Lapointe’s Fish teamed up, grouping customers’ orders from their businesses together and shipping them directly to the customer's doorstep. In 2021, these vendors took the concept of convenient marketplace shopping to the next level and launched the Best of Byward.
The Best of Byward is your one-stop grocery shop. It’s an online store that now features six vendors – the original four plus Maverick’s Donuts and The French Baker – and over 2,000 individual products. Many of these products are sourced from local, family-owned farms and range from grocery staples to specialty items. Customers can shop the site, put together their custom grocery order, and choose to either pick it up or have it delivered straight to their door. What better way to keep the legacy of this historical marketplace alive than making fresh, local food available to the entire Ottawa-Gatineau area?
Think fresh. Think local. Think Best of Byward.