Location Spotlight: ByWard Market

This month, we’re featuring Ottawa’s historic and picturesque ByWard Market. The market is one of the city’s most popular and requested filming location – from TV series and movies to feature films and commercials, many productions have found their perfect filming location in the market. And it’s easy to see why.

Photo courtesy of Ottawa Tourism

Established in 1826 by Lieutenant-Colonel John By, the ByWard Market in Ottawa’s downtown area includes one of the oldest and biggest outdoor markets in Canada. The market is home to an eclectic array of buildings and people – from buskers, new and old offices, a farmers’ market and unique boutiques, to the National Gallery of Canada, a horse stable, and the city’s oldest tavern, the Chateau Lafayette.

In addition to being one of the city’s main tourist destinations, the area has been featured in countless TV series, feature films, commercials, and PSAs – not to mention the many foreign tourism-based shows that visit Ottawa each year. And let’s not forget the time a small band called The Rolling Stones filmed a music video at Zaphod’s.

“Many ByWard Market businesses have accommodated film shoots in the past, many businesses welcome the opportunity to work with producers.” Jasna Jennings, Executive Director of the ByWard Market BIA.

Photo courtesy of Ottawa Tourism

The ByWard Market offers several different looks that can suit a variety of needs and settings. Not only has the market been seen in productions that are set in Ottawa, it has also doubled for many areas in the US, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, 19th century New England and more. The market’s five courtyards, which feature patios, fountains, benches and public art, have even been used for locations set in Europe. According to Ms. Jennings, these courtyards were former back alleys that were transformed in the 1980’s to cobble-stoned courtyards and provide access to “beautiful heritage stone buildings, quiet getaways and secluded corners.”

Photo courtesy of Albert Camicioli

With over 600 businesses within four square blocks and up to 50,000 visitors per weekend during the warm summer months, it’s important to keep in mind that the market is a busy area and can become congested. Parking in the market is limited (only essential production vehicles can be accommodated), however, there are options nearby where you can park basecamp. The City of Ottawa’s Event Central team can help you with requests to film and park on municipal property – get started here.

For more photos of the ByWard Market, visit our Flickr page.