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ByWard Market, Rideau Street businesses won't renew leases, survey shows

A new survey shows many businesses in the ByWard Market and Rideau Street areas may not renew their leases due to issues in the downtown core.

Good morning!

It’s nice to see you again, Lookout readers! I am filling in for Robert for the day as he is away. You will soon see a bit more of me here in the near future. In the meantime you can follow me on Twitter @Charlie_Senack, check out my work in the Kitchissippi Times, or my opinion pieces in the Ottawa Citizen.  

What a beautiful weekend it was. As I write this, I’m sitting on my patio admiring the sunshine and light breeze before record-breaking heat consumes the capital over the next few days. 

In this newsletter we have some tips on how you can beat the heat and also look at the ByWard Market and Rideau Street areas which are in the midst of a massive transformation. 

Let’s get straight to it! 

— Charlie Senack, [email protected]

Monday: 31 🌡️ 20 | 🌦

Tuesday: 34 🌡️ 23 | 🌤

Wednesday: 34 🌡️ 23 | ⛈️


ByWard Market future uncertain as businesses want to move shop, new poll shows

Visitors in the ByWard Market during a festival in October 2022. Photo by Charlie Senack.

Casting doubts: More than half of Ottawa’s business owners on Rideau Street and in the ByWard Market are thinking of not extending their leases or are uncertain over their futures, according to a new survey produced by the Downtown Rideau BIA. Almost all participating businesses also reported theft of shopping on a fairly regular basis, according to CTV

By the numbers: 

  • 200 brick and mortar businesses were surveyed. 

  • 45% of ByWard Market businesses and 43% of Rideau Street businesses said they were uncertain over if they would extend their lease. 

  • 9% of Rideau Street businesses and 19% of businesses in the Market said they would not be extending their leases.

  • 40% of businesses on Rideau Street and 21% of businesses in the market reported theft or shoplifting frequently.

  • 33% of businesses on Rideau Street and 35% in the ByWard Market said their businesses were sometimes the victims of shoplifting or theft.

  • $1.36 million was reported in theft on Rideau Street last year with $107,800 for businesses in the ByWard Market. 

Promising signs: Last week Mayor Mark Sutcliffe was sour faced when expressions were used that “Ottawa is the city that fun forgot.” To remove this misconception, a new nightlife commissioner — also known as the night mayor — was hired with one goal in mind: to make the city more fun. His budget for this year will be $160,000, with much of it being spent in the struggling downtown core. One of the first orders of business is to set up a Nightlife Ambassador Council of leaders in the industry and from the community, reported the National Post

  • It was also announced last week that the former Chapters location at the corner of Rideau and George Street will be transformed into a new music and entertainment venue which is set to open in late 2025. Once in operation, it will house about 200 events a year and has capacity for about 2,000 individuals, reported CBC

Better enforcement: To crack down on increased crime in the market, the Ottawa Police Service is setting up a new police hub in the area. For residents who call Lowertown home, they say it can’t open soon enough. During a late May police services board meeting, business owners complained of open drug deals, loud noises, public defecation, and crack pipes being found in parks, according to CTV.  

Ottawa Police have said they plan to deploy more officers in certain parts of the neighbourhood — primarily in spaces where people congregate. 

  • "It is focused on sustainable prevention, deterrence, and enforcement solutions, and marks a shift from reactive policing to proactive management of community issues,” Ottawa Police Services Chief Eric Stubbs told CTV

Pop-ups in the Market: Toronto-based market STACKT is making its first presence in Ottawa. Designed to accelerate small business by providing resources and a physical retail space, the pop-up market is located on George Street. It’s offering tenants one month leases though more than 48 grants. The initiative plans to also expand into Calgary and Vancouver, reported CTV

The market, runout of shipping containers, and will be in operation for 12 months with the vendors rotating monthly. The first shop to pilot the new initiative is simply called The Gift Shop. It will spend a month showcasing the works of queer, trans and BIPOC artists, wrote the Ottawa Citizen

The plan: While the initiative hopes to bring more foot traffic and vibrancy to the struggling ByWard Market district, it’s also an opportunity for entrepreneurial-hopefuls to dip their toes into the world of business. 

  • “The Stacktx program gives an opportunity for businesses to access resources, partnerships and a physical component, which is a very important piece. We can provide physical space for businesses to be in there for one month and secure high-foot-traffic areas and premium locations for a ton of engagement with customers, all free of charge to the businesses, which is great access to the community,” Stackt founder Matt Rubinoff told the Ottawa Business Journal.

Don’t stress over kids playtime, this newsletter has you covered

Ever struggled to plan activities for your kids? Want an easy, no stress way to keep your kids engaged and entertained?

Morning Mom Memo is a free newsletter that delivers you a curated selection of activites for you and your child. It’s the easiest way to stay conected with them without the added stress of planning.


🛒 210,000: The number of pounds of food collected for the Ottawa Food Bank, it’s largest donation in 40 years. [CTV]

🍷 97%: The percentage of Ontario LCBO workers who voted to go on strike. [CBC]


Record-breaking heat to consume Ottawa this week

Beachgoers soak in the sun at Britannia Beach in May 2024. Photo by Aaron Reid.

Record-breaking heat: Heat warnings have been issued for Ottawa and Eastern Ontario as a “prolonged heat event” is set to begin. Daytime highs could exceed 35 C, feeling more like 40 to 45 C with the humidex, reported CBC.  

Temperatures should reach their peak on Wednesday, with cooler temperatures starting on Friday when there is a risk of severe thunderstorms. Relief will also come through the night with temperatures dropping to the low 20s, but humidity will still be present. 

Signs of heatstroke: Prolonged exposure to severe heat could lead to heatstroke. Signs and symptoms include: 

  • Confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech;

  • Loss of consciousness, including coma;

  • Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating;

  • Seizures;

  • Very high body temperature.

Climatologist David Phillips told CTV that risk to public health is even greater during the season’s first heatwave. 

  • “The fact is just people aren’t ready for it yet. From a health point of view, the first heatwave is often where we see hospitalizations,” Phillips said. 

What to do: Ottawa Public Health is warning everyone to take precautions which include: drinking lots of water, using fans and air conditioning when possible, and avoiding strenuous outside activities. On social media, many parents are debating not sending their children to schools with unairconditioned classrooms. OPH said extreme heat affects children, people with chronic illnesses and the elderly the most. 

Beaches now open: Sun lovers and those looking to beat the heat can now find a way to cool off at one of the city’s public beaches. Mooney's Bay, Britannia and Petrie Island officially opened to the public with lifeguards on duty as of Saturday, according to CBC

Lifeguards will be on duty everyday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. until Aug. 25. Washroom access will remain open slightly longer until Sept. 2022. 

  • Westboro Beach will be open for unsupervised swimming this summer after delayed restoration efforts are keeping lifeguards away again this year. A large sandy area had its fencing removed so residents can catch some rays, but Ottawa Public Health confirms they will not be doing water testing at the site, according to Kitchissippi Times.

Red flag: While open, the red flag is currently flying at Britannia Beach due to high levels of bacteria in the water. Ottawa Public Health is encouraging people to stay out of the water for now to prevent skink throat, gastro-intestinal, or ear illnesses, reported the Ottawa Citizen

In Quebec: Across the river in Gatineau, beaches managed by the city at Parc des Cèdres, Parc du Lac-Beauchamp, and Parc Moussette are also open until Aug. 25. Water quality can be viewed here.

  • Also in Quebec, La Pêche Lake, Leamy Lake, Meech Lake and Philippe Lake opened for beach access on Friday. NCC beach water quality can be searched here

A warmer climate: It’s no secret the planet has been warming recently. This year faded one of the earliest springs on record with low snow accumulation and decent winter driving conditions. Now with record-breaking heat on the way, Environment Canada said it can “rapidly link” high-heat weather events to climate change, according to CBC.  


Check out the new open positions in Ottawa.

  1. Intermediate youth care worker at Boys and Girls Club

  2. Content creator at The Ottawa Hospital 

  3. Assistant general manager at Atria Retirement Canada 

  4. Bookkeeper at Randstad Canada 

  5. Software development engineer at Thales

Local jobs are selected by the Lookout team and are not paid ads, unless specifically noted. 


🚴 After countless delays and false hope, the much-anticipated pedestrian bridge between Carleton University and Vincent Massey Park has opened. Originally installed in June 2022, the massive steel structure next to the Trillium LRT line will provide another way for students to get to class. [CTV]

🚌 During a transit committee meeting last week, OC Transpo said it’s controversial on-demand service in Blackburn Hamlet has been a success. But disability advocates are stating otherwise. Members from that group said they are still waiting to see better, more accessible service for Para Transpo users. [CBC]

🏗️ A final concept plan for 1010 Somerset has been released that will see Plouffe Park saved and a French school built at the back of the property instead. While better than the initial plants, community members are still concerned the site will house less green space than initially promised. [Kitchissippi Times]

🏒 Hockey player Jada Burke is speaking out about racism she’s endured on the ice. The Barrhaven resident shared her experiences during a recent diversity and inclusion hockey tournament organised by private school R.I.S.E Academy. [Barrhaven Independent]

🛴 E-scooters might not be placed all over Ottawa streets next year as the city’s accessibility community recommends ending the program. Concerns have been raised that they pose a risk to pedestrians and people with disabilities when they are parked in hazardous places. [CTV]

🎶 It’s good news for Ottawa music lovers. Bluesfest has announced it is adding an extra day to accommodate an act that was too big to pass up. Who that performer will be won’t be announced until Tuesday, but the hit music festival is already looking for volunteers. [Ottawa Citizen]

🏡 The Shepherds of Good Hope is looking to build another facility in the Carlington community, but the area councillor feels it’s a bad idea. River Ward Coun. Riley Brockington said crime in the neighbourhood is on the rise after a supporting housing complex opened last year. [Kitchissippi Times]

👮‍♂️ A 25-year old man has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of 57-year-old Deborah Owen. The mother was allegedly killed by her son Tyler Lambert at her home on Woodroffe Avenue earlier this week. [CBC]


What to do this weekend

🎭 Ottawa Fringe Festival, June 13-23: the city of Ottawa will be the ultimate destination for the funky and fabulous as local, national and international artists gather to showcase their groovy talents. With a mind-blowing lineup of 50 shows and over 300 performances, this year's festival is set to be a psychedelic extravaganza! At Arts Court 2 Daly Ave. Tickets start at $14

☀️ Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival | Mādahòkì Farm, 4420 W Hunt Club Rd. | June 21-23 | Performances, workshops, exhibits, pow wow, culinary experiences, drone show, storytelling and interactive family fun | Learn More [Sponsored]

🎶 Ottawa Jazz Festival, June 21-30: The Ottawa Jazz Festival has been a trailblazer in the music festival scene for more than 40 years. It showcases a wide range of jazz genres, including swing, jive, fusion jazz, hot jazz, boogie as well as diverse cultures and traditions. At Confederation Park. Purchase tickets here

🎵 Latin America Music Festival, June 22-30: The festival will feature an extraordinary selection of film productions from 15 countries: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.  At Saint Paul University Amphitheatre, 101 Hazel St, Ottawa. Free

🇸🇾 Syrian Festival of Ottawa, Saturday: The Syrian Festival of Ottawa is hosted By Voices from the South Festival. The event starts on Saturday, June 22, 2024 and is happening at Petrie Island. Free

👗 Sweetly Adorable Craft Fair, Saturday: The Sweetly Affordable Art Fair (SAAF) is an exhibition offering a wide selection of affordable art and artisanal items for visitors to choose from. With most pieces under $1,000 and many pieces under $50. Come visit over 100 exciting booths, filled with a wide range of unique artistry. At Wesley Clover Parks, 401 Corkstown Rd. Free.

  • The Italian Festival was back in Preston Street this past weekend, attracting thousands of spectators. [Ottawa Citizen] 

  • You’ve likely heard about the great fire of 1900 which whipped out large portions of Ottawa, but what about the devastating fire of 1903? [Kitchissippi Times]

  • Westboro author Brenda Chapman has released a murder mystery set in Ashton titled Fatal Harvest. [Kitchissippi Times]

  • Kelly Daize is taking over as executive director of the Kanata North Business Park. [Ottawa Business Journal]

  • The annual CHEO picnic drew thousands of visitors to its new location on the grounds of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. [Ottawa Citizen]

  • CTV News anchor Graham Richardson is leaving the station on his own to pursue an opportunity outside of journalism. [Ottawa Citizen]

  • Want to have your announcement featured? Learn how here.


Congrats to everyone who got last week’s Ottawa Wordle, the answer was NIGHT as in the city’s new night mayor.

For this week’s Ottawa Quiz, we want to know…

How many pounds of food were donated to the Ottawa Food Bank in the organizations biggest-ever donation?

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