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This painting by Jeannine Robertson is of Byward Street in the By Ward Market area one of the oldest streets in the City of Ottawa. The Market area was designed in 1826 by Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers who was responsible for building the Rideau Canal between Ottawa the Capital and Kingston on Lake Ontario, a mammoth project for the time. The buildings in the area are from that era with some newer editions.

Just 80 years ago the market was populated by many Jewish owned businesses, butchers, clothing, shoes, groceries, general stores. In recent years many businesses have been replaced by Pubs, bars, restaurants, so much so that the Market has lost its meaning for many residents in the City. It is a bit of a tourists trap and residents avoid it. It is also dangerous after 10pm with often violent crime. Though back in the days of Colonel By and the lumberjacks it was a very rough area, with gambling, prostitution and lots of booze. The prostitution both male and female existed until the 1980’s when gentrification pushed the prostitutes out, the internet did the rest. Still many drug deals do happen in various bars which can be also scenes of fights and mayhem.

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