News / Ottawa

Inspiration Village attracts tourist photo-ops and business ire

A number of businesses in the Byward Market are upset that the Ottawa 2017 set-up has removed 92 parking spaces.

Despite the rain, tourists and locals flocked to the OTTAWA sign on May 22, 2017 to snap a picture in front of the giant letters.

Haley Ritchie/Metro

Despite the rain, tourists and locals flocked to the OTTAWA sign on May 22, 2017 to snap a picture in front of the giant letters.

Despite a rainy Victoria Day, tourists and locals were flocking to the Byward Market’s new OTTAWA sign on Monday for photos.

Fizza Rajput, 25, was visiting for the weekend with two friends from Toronto. She said the eight-foot sign – bold white-and-red letters spelling the city’s name – looked familiar.

“Our sign is a little cooler because it has a maple leaf and it’s in Nathan Phillips Square,” she said. “But this is beautiful, it’s very nice. The setup is interesting.”

Phil Emond, from Gordon Harrison Canadian Landscape Gallery, had a different opinion on the set-up.

Emond has begun a petition among retailers opposing the event because he says it’s negatively impacting businesses that don’t benefit from walk-by traffic.

“My clients are telling me they are unable to come because they can’t find parking,” he said. “I can’t believe that the city allowed them to do this.”

Emond says parking is already tight in the Byward Market. The Inspiration Village removes 92 spaces from the area until September, when the event space wraps up.

The one-block setup, from York Street between Sussex Drive and ByWard Market Square, is filled with free exhibits representing the provinces and territories, Parks Canada and local organizations.

Musical performances will also take place every day from Victoria Day weekend through Labour Day.

Despite the complaints by some retailers, Ottawa 2017 has the support of the local councillor and the Byward Market BIA, who say the reduced parking is a good trade-off to liven up the market.

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