/ #comment #bluesfest 

Why doesn't Sparks Street want Bluesfest business?

Photo: At the intersection of Sparks and O’Connor.

This is a snippet of a post to Ottawa Reddit the other day. Good comments…

Volunteered at Bluesfest tonight and walked down sparks street from Bay to Metcalfe and Queen from Metcalfe to Bank on my way home. On these streets just blocks away from Bluesfest, near many hotels, between the hours of 11:45 and 1:00, only 4 bars and the McDonald’s were open.

All the places that were open were busy. It was a beautiful night so the patios were full, but between open businesses the streets felt desolate. I actually decided to turn at Metcalfe and not continue on Sparks because a guy on a bike seemed to be following me and there was no one else near us on the street.

I realize it’s a Wednesday night, but a 30,000 person event just ended on a gorgeous summer night, surely some of those people would like to continue drinking, dancing, or grab a bite to eat after the show. In practically any other city in the world the nearby bars and restaurants would take advantage of this opportunity and stay open. I truly do not understand.

As a side note, I just came back from a trip to Western Europe, and all the cities I visited were much more comfortable to walk around in at night alone as a woman/with one other female friend than Ottawa is because they have things going on! Other people walking! Open businesses!

It’s things like this that make me think: sometimes it’s not that Ottawa is “the city that fun forgot”, so much as it is “the city of missed opportunities and all-talk-no-execution.”


Devyn Barrie

Devyn Barrie is the publisher and editor of OttawaStart.com. He currently studies math and physics at the University of Ottawa, and holds a diploma in journalism from Algonquin College.