Lowertown is the oldest community in the city of Ottawa, first settled in 1826 by labourers and tradesmen when Colonel John By undertook the building of the Rideau Canal. Lowertown includes the commercial ByWard Market area in the south-western part, and is predominantly residential in the north and east. It was historically French Canadian and Irish, and is to this day a bilingual community.
By virtue of being the oldest community in the city, Lowertown is known for its firsts, including the first market, general hospital, park and railway station in Ottawa. It was home to history-making residents over the years, and is the site of some of Ottawa's earliest and most historic buildings. There are over a dozen businesses that have been operating in Lowertown for over a century, including the only commercial horse stable in urban Ottawa.
Our community--which covers less than 2.5 square kilometres--is enriched by: its abundance of trees and gardens; charming courtyards, side streets and heritage houses; two heritage conservation areas including the ByWard Market; dozens of outdoor art installations and memorials; several embassies and federal government buildings; the National Art Gallery and Royal Canadian Mint; the historic Château Laurier hotel; and, eight parks, including the oldest in Ottawa, Majors Hill. The ByWard Market is second only to Parliament Hill in attracting tourists.
Lowertown is marked by duality: English and French-speaking residents and businesses; new condo towers erected alongside decades-old commercial buildings; heritage homes sharing side streets with mid-century houses; neo-Gothic and modernist government buildings co-existing along Sussex Drive; and, century-old businesses operating next door to start-ups
The neighbourhoods of Lowertown are visually stimulating. From the red brick and grey stone of the courtyards, to the charming pastels of heritage workers cottages, to the riotous natural palette of the outdoor market – Lowertown is one of the most colourful communities in Ottawa.
Lastly, no other community in Ottawa is defined by waterways on three of its four sides. Every resident of Lowertown lives within walking distance of the Rideau Canal (a World Heritage Site), the historic Ottawa River, and the picturesque Rideau River.