I have been on the road for the last few weeks and have been attempting to keep up as best as possible, much more difficult than I first thought! I have a great deal to catch up on, and I am slowly managing to read all of the incredible posts I missed. We spent the last week in Ottawa, mostly for meetings, but managed to squeeze in some great visiting and touring of our old haunts.
Ottawa is a city that I love visiting, have no desire to live there any more, but I have a deep connection to this town. I say town, because honestly, it is a town acting like a city, there is a 3 degree separation to each person in this city – so small!
Even though I moved around a great deal growing up, Westboro village was the neighborhood that we always moved back to. This used to be a very middle class neighborhood, everyone knew each other, all the kids biked around, knew all of the shop keepers, and if you got into trouble, they had your parents number on speed dial. This area has changed so much over the last 10 years, that this time, we walked down the 5 blocks of shops, and I had tears in my eyes. Let me take you on a tour of the most special neighborhood of Ottawa.
We started with a stop at the Bridgehead for coffee. It is fair traded coffee, and in my opinion o.k coffee, the seating is pretty relaxed and it is kid friendly.
Next up, a walk down a very new street. Almost everything on this block is new, which totally surprised us. Not really new, as the street has existed forever, but non of these buildings were here 3 years ago.
What used to be a very sleepy street when I was growing up, has now become the place to dine, have coffee, and buy incredible treats. It has become Yuppy ville. There are now fancy condo’s, a sushi restaurant, and even our cobbler has moved.
This used to be the place that you went for your first beer when you turned 19, which I did, and shortly after, closed down. It is now to the home of the best cinnamon buns.
This is MEC, if you aren’t Canadian, you won’t know that this store is a Canadian favourite for all outdoor gear. It is a co-op, and it has everything from cycling gear, to the best backpacks etc. This one is expanding, which was inevitable in my opinion. When I was growing up, this was the site off Mr. Grocers. My Father used to get the best steaks there, it eventually changed to a chinese grocery store, which then closed down. it remained empty for years, until MEC built this store.
If you keep on going down, all of the stores have only been around for 5 years. When my husband and I first moved back to Westboro, the area was slowly being taken over by construction.
Of course, one can’t have a proper yuppy neighborhood without lululemon!
This restaurant has been around forever, the owner is obsessed with Elvis. It also has an array of crazy pizzas!
Then there is the Karate studio which has had to move on, the rent has sky rocketed. all of these empty spaces broke my heart. I remember each and every business that used to be there. The one thing about a neighborhood changing so drastically is that, sometimes the change rips out the old charm.
Nothing but burgers!
This is the best flower shop in Ottawa, Tivoli, they created my wedding bouquet!
I swear this gas station has been here since my Mother went to the local highschool here!
That motel, well, growing up, that was the scary part of the hood, and it really wasn’t scary.
This is the LCBO, it is the liquor store, and then the massive grocery store which is called the Superstore. Non of this existed when I was a kid. In fact these were all old factories. There was so much hoopla over these buildings, the neighborhood fought back and didn’t want these two stores to come into the neighborhood, for fear it would bring too much traffic.
As we cross the street, these storefronts have all managed to change over the years.
One has managed to stay for years. This is Miss Tiggy Winkles, it is just about the best toy store you can imagine. It has everything from Hello Kitty, Starwars, to Lego and board games you can’t get anywhere else.
This made me cry, Westboro Sports just closed, I went to get my first pink BMX there, at the age of 7. They even put on pink streamers for me.
A letter expressing their gratitude to the neighborhood. They had been open for 50 years, my Grandfather went to the opening of the store.
The neighborhood church that is now shared by the Anglican and United church.
I have mixed feelings of the gentrification of this neighborhood. It is a beautiful area that will always hold a very special place in my heart.
Travel lady with Baby