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Ottawa sign to stay permanently in Byward Market

Jesse Cnockaert, Ottawa Metro
October 2, 2017

The iconic OTTAWA sign that drew selfie sticks and tourists to the Byward Market’s this summer will have a permanent home at the York Street Plaza, now under construction and expected to be completed by the end of the month.

A ceremonial ground-breaking was held at the site at the corner of York Street and Sussex Drive Monday, attended by Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.

The plaza’s key feature will be the giant letters spelling out OTTAWA, originally created for the market’s Inspiration Village, which drew more than 340,000 people from May to September. The letters ended up being such a draw the city decided to keep them around.

“They proved to be extremely popular. I saw maybe hundreds, if not thousands, of Twitter and Instagram pictures of people posing with the letters,” said Watson. “We learned from Inspiration Village people like the fact there was animation on the streets. This (plaza) is a great way to animate the streets.”

A section of York Street is being turned into a 450 square meter asphalt plaza to give a clean backdrop for the letters. There will also be a power supply and moveable seating to accommodate small-scale events. Two new pedestrian crossings across York Street will be created with a wayfinding corridor in between to link the Jeanne d’Arc Court and Clarendon Lane courtyards. The project will cost about $120,000.

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