In the early 19th century, the current area of Wellington Street West was undeveloped land with a main road leading west from downtown Ottawa. By 1880, rail yards as well as lumber and paper mills were operating nearby, and their workers (many of them French-Canadians) built wood-clad homes on small lots around Hintonburg. In the 1890s, the arrival of streetcars led to additional residential and commercial settlement, and middle class commuters built brick homes on larger lots in Wellington Village. Over time, major changes in urban development, including recent gentrification, led to the current trendy, central, mixed-use neighbourhood centred around Wellington Street West.
The walkable Wellington Street West corridor includes two communities packed with independent businesses, one-of-a-kind specialty stores and community hubs.
East of Holland Avenue, the micro-neighbourhood of Hintonburg is still under transition with a mix of edgy and trendy businesses. Peruse locally and Canadian-made items at Maker House; drop by the Record Centre for vinyl paraphernalia (and you might catch a live band any time of day); hang out with adoptable cats at the Feline Café; find consigned treasures at Trove Fashion; indulge your inner geogeek at World of Maps; and get eco-friendly items at Terra20 and Nu Grocery.
Fashionable Wellington Village, west of Holland, is a shoppers’ paradise. Unearth some pre-loved gems at the St. Vincent de Paul charity store; shop for cool contemporary art at NAK Gallery; and boutique-hop through the many fashion and jewellery shops that support Canadian independent designers including Kindred Shop + Studio, Flock, JV Studios & Boutique, Victoire, Allegro and Muriel Dombret [Clothes].
Dining and drinking
The area has a mouth-watering culinary scene with award-winning chefs inspired in part by the long-running outdoor Parkdale Market located on Parkdale Avenue.
Head to Hintonburg for French-inspired fare at Absinthe Café; Spanish cuisine at Soca Kitchen; decadent treats at Stubbe Chocolates; SuzyQ’s famous doughnuts; tasty craft beer at Tooth and Nail Brewing Company; elevated pub food and drinks at The Hintonburg Public House; wood-fired pizza at Tennessy Willems; and Stella Luna’s award-winning gelato.
Some foodie favourites in Wellington Village include contemporary Canadian cuisine at Stofa; seafood-focused Supply and Demand; the aptly-named Welllington Gastropub; crêpes of all kinds at A Thing for Chocolate; Montreal-style bagels at the Bagelshop; vegan baked goods at Little Jo Berry’s; and a variety of tasty ethnic eateries.
Sights, activities and events
Craving more Ottawa craft beer? Join one of Brew Donkey’s bus tours that visit multiple craft breweries, distilleries and brewpubs in the Ottawa region (including samples!). And try to catch one of the Brewery Market’s events in lovely Hintonburg Park.
Catch great live music at the classic Elmdale Oyster House & Tavern, challenge yourself at the Hintonburg location of local escape room company Escape Manor, or relax and enjoy quality live theatre at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. During one special Saturday in September, neighbourhood businesses offer free food samples, fun activities for kids and special programming during the TASTE of Wellington West event.
As you stroll along Wellington Street West, keep an eye out for funky street art like the whimsical carved marble sculptures and clay miniatures.