In the early 1800s, the area was a rural community scattered with farms. Sawmills opened in the 1870s, attracting workers and community businesses. In 1900, an electric trolley started running along what is now the Byron linear park and pathway, providing easy access to downtown. The community went through several transitions and in the 2000s, a significant gentrification was sparked in part by the arrival of the popular Canadian store Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC). Other retailers, pubs and coffee shops followed suit, turning Westboro into one of the city’s trendiest neighbourhoods.
A variety of attractive shops line Westboro’s walkable main street, Richmond Road. Active folks search for the latest gear at MEC, Great Escape Outfitters, Bushtukah, Running Room and Lululemon Athletica.
Fashion and accessories can be found throughout the neighbourhood – drop in to world-renown Roots; check out modern menswear at Frank And Oak; get the Ottawa-shaped necklace at Magpie Jewellery; shop ladies’ fashion at Vanilla Boutique and Manhattan West; and find consigned fashion at Rikochet Resale.
Improve your health and home life by exploring natural wellness products at Saje, by scoring some cooking paraphernalia at Kitchenalia and by hunting for fun toys and games for kids (and adults) at Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s.
Dining and drinking
From food trucks to upscale restaurants, you won’t go hungry in Westboro.
Try the funky and seasonal Bite This “cook shack”; go for gourmet burgers at The Works; order a specialty thin crust pizza at Fiazza Fresh Fired; get fresh rolls at MHK Sushi; say oui to The Savoy Brasserie; visit Gezellig for refined global food; and up your vegetarian game at Pure Kitchen.
For sweet treats, bite into richness at the Cupcake Lounge; get fresh macarons at Quelque Chose Patisserie; cool off with homemade gelato at Pietro’s Corner; and indulge in French delights at Chez François – Plaisirs de Provence or Mamie Clafoutis.
Join locals as they sip fair trade coffee and tea at Bridgehead and delicious craft beer at Clocktower Brew Pub – both local chains.
Sights, activities and events
Westboro is a hub of activity all year-long, but particularly during the warm weather months.
Enjoy the soft sand, water activities and spectacular sunsets at Westboro Beach on the Ottawa River. And at the western end of Westboro is the Maplelawn estate, a National Historic Site which dates back to 1831. The stone house is home to a Keg Steakhouse and the adjacent, rare walled garden is a lush and manicured space maintained by volunteers. Beautiful photo spot in the summer and fall!
Over one weekend in August, the Fuse Street Festival turns Richmond Road into a party with live music, culinary experiences and family fun.
During mild weather, the recreational pathways along the Ottawa River are filled with cyclists, roller-bladers and runners. In the winter, the section between Westboro and the Canadian War Museum near downtown Ottawa becomes the Sir John A. Macdonald Winter Trail, known locally as the SJAM. Cross-country skiers, snowshoers, fat-bikers and walkers all use this groomed snow route. Urban nature at its best!