Established by Lt-Col. John By in 1826, the ByWard Market is one of Canada’s oldest and largest public markets. The legendary builder of the Rideau Canal, Colonel By himself laid out the street plan of the Market, designating George Street and York Street to be extra wide to accommodate the creation of a public market and gathering place. Within an area roughly four blocks square, you’ll find museums, cafés, specialty food shops, boutiques, galleries, hotels, restaurants, pubs, and more! The ByWard Market offers a unique experience for all. The ByWard Market is easily accessible by bike from the Rideau Canal bicycle path or coming from the Outaouais. Many bicycle racks can be found throughout the area, with the main corral(s) being installed on ByWard St., at the intersection of York St. during the summer – one of which is covered. Tourism & cycling information, first aid kit and basic bike repair kit can be found at the ByWard Market Information Kiosk, located on the first floor of the Market building (55 ByWard Market Square). In the summer, an additional info booth can be found at the Demo Corner, an outdoor stand in front of the Market building.
Accessible but not great
There are some great things about the Byward Market by bike:
- Vibrant pedestrians pace and lots of people
- They have a large central bike rack in the summer and there are post & ring racks throughout the area.
- There's a new contraflow bike lane on Cumberland which allows access from the market to Sandy Hill to the south.
- There's a north-bound bike lane on Sussex north of Rideau St
- Traffic is generally slow once your in the market proper
- Ottawa has a new bike share starting in spring 2015. VeloGo will have a presence in the market and should make the area more accessible to tourists.
There are also some serious issues with cycling into the area, enough that I'd only go if I was confident on the road:
- Traffic on Dalhousie is fast and has some of the highest collision intersections in the city
- The market is choked with car parking and there's no easy way to lock your bike next to the farmer's market in the summer (improving as their bike coral has been getting bigger)
- Access to the north is by large, busy, roads connecting to and from Alexandria bridge with no segregation
- Access from the south is by Rideau/Wellington or along the East side of the canal MUP but the last stretch is along Sussex which is not safe.. walking is recommended since it's treated as a bit of a freeway.
- Rideau/Wellington isn't really friendly with no segregation or signage. This is also a bus route with a HOV lane of questionable utility to people on bikes.
- Bike theft isn't a huge issue in Ottawa but it's worst when near the market