Note: While Elgin Street undergoes a renewal project, the sidewalks and businesses are open as usual. During construction, Ottawa City Hall located nearby is offering free underground parking on weekday evenings after 6 p.m. and every weekend.
Stretching from Parliament Hill towards the Canadian Museum of Nature, and located a few blocks from the Rideau Canal, Ottawa’s Elgin Street has a village-like feel coupled with downtown action.
Originally named Biddy’s Lane, Elgin Street was mostly residential in the late 19th century. As Canada’s capital grew, Prime Minister Mackenzie King spearheaded a beautification plan which led to projects such as the National War Memorial (unveiled during a royal visit in 1939), and the opening of the Lord Elgin Hotel in 1941 (which still operates today). The hotel and street are named after Lord Elgin, Governor General of Canada between 1847 and 1954 – an important figure in Canada’s history. Elgin Street is now a vibrant commercial street which is also recognized as the “Sens Mile” in support of the city’s National Hockey League team, the Ottawa Senators.
Elgin Street features culinary hotspots over multiple blocks. Enjoy fine cuisine in Beckta’s dining room or a more casual experience in its wine bar. Whalesbone focuses on fresh and sustainable fish and seafood (supplied by their own fish counter and wholesale business). Vegetarians, vegans and even omnivores love Pure Kitchen (one of several locations in Ottawa). El Camino offers funky Mexican fare and atmosphere (plus a taco take out window), while Datsun has a similar vibe but with an Asian twist. Elgin Street Diner has a loyal 24-hour a day following, and you’ll find shawarma, poutine and ethnic food throughout the area.
Nightlife and entertainment
The many bars, pubs and lounges – plus summertime patios – make Elgin Street a popular nighttime destination. Sip a wide selection of local craft beers at the Elgin Beer Project; soak up the retro lounge atmosphere at Charlotte; enjoy a Canadian pub experience at The Cross on Elgin; hang out at The Standard for daily specials and DJs; and catch your favourite sports broadcasts at the Lieutenant’s Pump or Sir John A Pub. You can also catch some hilarious comics at Yuk Yuk’s comedy club and great live music at many venues, including LIVE! On Elgin.
Bring home a memento of your Ottawa trip by visiting independent businesses along Elgin Street. Find local and Canadian-made treasures like candles, jewellery and homewares at boogie + birdie, plus fun and quirky items at The Gifted Type next door. Ladies looking for personalized wardrobe advice and the latest fashion styles love Red Velvet. Peruse best sellers as well as locally-written works at Perfect Books, an independent bookstore. And the best in kitchenware is the focus of Pot & Pantry.