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Shopping in Canada

Downtown's urban malls, street stalls and pedestrian areas make it the best shopping area in the city. For consumer goods and department stores, try the Rideau Centre, a three-story mall with nearly 200 stores. Sparks Street Mall is one of North America's oldest pedestrian malls – a pleasant area with some unusual shops, as well as fascinating historical buildings, restaurants and great people-watching. It's moderately busy on weekdays, particularly at lunchtime, but largely deserted on weekends.

Just south of downtown, the Glebe is a fun neighbourhood full of cute boutiques and coffee shops. A farmers market operates on Sundays at Lansdowne Park from late spring through early fall. Farther down Bank Street in Old Ottawa South are various antiques stores and gift shops. By contrast, the ByWard Market provides an outlet for local farmers and artisans, with roving sidewalk entertainers to keep things lively. The area is also home to a diverse range of galleries specialising in everything from photography and prints to avant-garde paintings and art glass. Those looking for something different should try one of the many museum gift shops or galleries. They offer a range of Native American art as well as Canadian-made unique clothing, jewellery, toys and gifts, often made in Canada.

The Byward Market is located east of the Rideau Canal and the Chateau Laurier, is the downtown's most popular shopping district. In summer, stalls selling fresh produce and flowers line the streets, but even in the middle of winter there are some hardy vendors braving the cold – and maple syrup bought here costs half the price of souvenir shops elsewhere in the city. In the evening, the market shuts down and the area's restaurants, pubs and bars take over as the primary attraction.

Sparks Street is a pleasant pedestrian street one block off Parliament Hill and a common tourist throughfare for seeing the sights. Along this street you'll find the majority of the tourist shops selling postcards, magnets and maple syrup. The Astrolabe Gallery, located on this street, is a treasure trove of antique maps as well as vintage posters. There are several outdoor cafes and restaurants to choose from also.

In recent years a stretch along Richmond Road in the "near west" of Ottawa from Golden east to Tweedsmuir has become a popular tourism and shopping zone, and includes several outdoor stores (clothing and equipment), restaurants and coffee shops. Notable shops include the Mountain Equipment Coop, Ten Thousand Villages, Starbucks, Bridgehead (fair trade coffee), Kitchenalia, a chocolatier and several others. Richmond Road becomes the western part of Wellington Street from Island Park Drive and a second strip of shops and restaurants runs along Wellington from Island Park Drive to Holland.

Around the end of May every year, Ottawa has the Great Glebe Garage Sale. Hundreds of homes in the Glebe district all have garage sales on the same day, many of the businesses in the area have sidewalk sales, and some vendors from outside the neighbourhood come and set up displays on friends' lawns. The Glebe is a very mixed residential area with everyone from students to millionaires, so the range of stuff on offer is very wide. Parking is nearly impossible during the sale and driving around looking at stuff difficult because of the crowds. If you have a car, get there early, find parking, and explore on foot.

Shopping hours are generally Monday-Wednesday, 9 am-6 pm, Thursday and Friday, 9 am-9 pm. Major shopping centres and some stores near the ByWard Market are open Monday-Friday till 9 pm. Most stores are also open Saturday and some (especially in malls and major shopping areas) on Sunday noon-5 pm.





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