Patio fest coming to the ByWard Market

Ottawa’s newest summer festival will be opening up Clarence Street to pedestrians and unlimited patios come July.

“Clarence is the place to be for patios and we wanted to do a festival,” said Lee Wagner, owner of the Steak & Sushi restaurant on the street. The Clarence Patiofest is being organized by a group of different restaurants on the popular strip in the ByWard Market.

“When it’s patio time, people come down here anyway and there’s good energy,” said Mr. Wagner. “This just means more people – it’ll possibly be one of the biggest strips of patio road in the country.”

Mr. Wagner said the group approached the City of Ottawa and the ByWard Market BIA to get permission to close off the street from Dalhousie Street to Parent Avenue for four different weekends in July.

Mr. Wagner said the plan has been in the works for about a year and a half, but the the concept echoes the advice of urban planning guru Janette Sadik-Khan, who visited the market in April.

Ms. Sadik-Khan suggested taking cars out of the market entirely – as she did with great success in New York’s Times Square. This summer residents will get a taste of her idea on Clarence – along with a cold drink.

The street will be closed from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Stilt walkers, fire eaters, and rooftop DJ’s will join customers dining on the thousand extra chairs and tables that will spill out from the existing patios. Each weekend will have a theme – including beer, burgers, sangria and tacos.

This article originally appeared on on June 22.