Neighbourhoods

Where To Buy Now: LITTLE ITALY SOUTH

Where: Queensway, Bronson Avenue, Carling Avenue, Bayswater Avenue
OREB code: 4502 and 4503
Price range early 2015: $269,000 to $1,205,000
By the numbers:
Screen shot 2015-05-21 at 4.41.30 PM

East of the O-Train, Preston Street is lively from early morning till the wee hours. But west of the tracks, the scene is quieter and largely residential. Changes are coming across this tradition-steeped neighbourhood — and quickly. “The energy of the neighbourhood is booming,” says Cundasawmy. At least four giant condo towers are proposed or already under construction near the corner of Preston and Carling, including a 55-storey Richcraft behemoth that will be the tallest building ever built in Ottawa.

Even though Richcraft has promised the neighbourhood almost $3.4 million in goodies to sweeten its proposal, concerns about traffic and shadows remain among long-time residents. And not every development idea for the area goes ahead: Domicile shelved plans for an 18-storey tower, the Nuovo, in 2014.

Little Italy’s catnip for developers includes an O-Train station, available land for redevelopment, easy access to the Queensway and Dows Lake, and a recently spruced-up main drag lined with bakeries, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. Whether the deluge of new residents will breathe even more life into the neighbourhood or smother it with too much love is anyone’s guess. Buy here for a front seat to watch intensification happen before your eyes.

What’s There:

Restaurant

Allegro Ristorante

422 Preston St.

It would be a crime to cover Little Italy and not mention an Italian restaurant, but which one to choose? How about one that has stood the test of time for two decades? The menu may not be the most innovative — from insalata mista to veal parmigiana, all the Italian standards are here (along with a few surprises) — but everything is cooked and served with care and skill. Traditions are traditions for a reason.

Comedy

Absolute Comedy Ottawa

412 Preston St.

Not many Ottawa ’hoods boast their own stand-up club. Open seven nights a week (with two shows nightly on Fridays and Saturdays), this venue is one of the best entertainment deals in town, with single tickets starting at $5 and dinner-and-a-show packages at $20. Like most comedy clubs, the material can be raunchy, so if you sit in the front row, be prepared for any stray jokes that get lobbed your way.

Gelato

Gelatini Gelato

344 Preston St.

While at least a dozen flavours are available on any given day and you’d be hard pressed to find one that wasn’t delish, this little spot near the Queensway is famed city-wide for its pistachio gelato, made with hand-shelled roasted nuts. Order it by the litre ahead of time online to be certain you’ll get your fix.

gelatini gelato
Gelatini Gelato. Photography: City of Ottawa