Where to Buy Now: East Hintonburg/ West Centretown

Where to Buy Now: East Hintonburg/ West Centretown

Read the full Where to Buy Now feature online or in the Real Estate 2018 print issue of Ottawa Magazine

Unless you live there already, you may have driven through this area without seeing the commercial activity blooming away from the main streets. The rebirth of City Centre is perhaps this area’s best-known success story, but on the other side of Somerset Street, another former industrial area is also evolving. Along Breezehill and Loretta avenues, businesses ranging from a CrossFit studio to a craft brewery have emerged. 

Getting between these two hubs is difficult: the LRT Trillium Line cuts off pedestrian traffic, and City Centre is accessible to drivers only via Albert Street. However, that could change if the proposed Gladstone Village mixed-income development is built on former government lands north of Gladstone and west of Preston (no construction dates or detailed plans have been announced). Some residents hope that project will spur the city to build pedestrian/cycling bridges over the Trillium Line similar to those over the tracks south of Gladstone, knitting Little Italy and Hintonburg together more closely.

“It would be easier if there were a pedestrian bridge,” says Jay Baltz, a board member with the Hintonburg Community Association. “That would also help with keeping things like the Happy Goat [café] going because there would be a lot of foot traffic going by.”

The development of LeBreton Flats to the north might also affect both pedestrian and transit links. A single project — Trinity Development Group’s Trinity Centre at Bayview Station — will add 130,000 square feet of retail space, 200,000 square feet of office space, and 1,400 residential units by 2020. That might make a proposed LRT station at Gladstone near Preston more viable, says Baltz, and spur demand for pedestrian access.

He warns that the area’s grassroots vibe may not last, as developers have been assembling large parcels of land with an eye to redevelopment. “I think the sort of small, cool establishments that are happening now are, unfortunately, transitional. And I’m not sure how long we’ll be able to keep that.”

What’s For Sale?*

390 Booth St., Unit 108
1-bedroom, 1-bath apartment
Walk Score: 94
Transit Score: 86
Bike Score: 100
Meet the Neighbours: 52% of the population is single, separated, divorced, or widowed

152 Spruce St., Unit D
2-bedroom, 1-bath apartment
Walk Score: 92
Transit Score: 89
Bike Score: 100
Meet the Neighbours: 57% own, 43% rent

74 Bayswater Ave., Unit A
3-bedroom, 3-bath, 3-storey row house
Walk Score: 89
Transit Score: 87
Bike Score: 94
Meet the Neighbours: Median age 33

*These listings may no longer be available and should be used as a range of what is potentially available in this neighbourhood


What’s There?

Coffee Shop
Happy Goat Coffee Company, 35 Laurel St.
Attached to the Happy Goat’s roastery, which processes beans from small-scale farmers, this funky café is a popular hub for both millennial creative types hunched over laptops and caffeine-craving parents. “Everyone who drops off kids at Devonshire school goes there,” says Jay Baltz.

Discount Shop
Dollarama, 1050 Somerset St.
There are dollar stores, and then there is the huge discount emporium that is the Hintonburg Dollarama. In 13 packed aisles, you’ll find craft supplies, gardening gear, mixing bowls, notebooks, reading glasses, party favours, condiments, batteries — just about anything you might imagine buying for less than $5. Lots of brand-name stuff too.

Art Is In Bakery, 250 City Centre Ave., Unit 112
If you’ve never tasted Art Is In’s Dynamite baguette, rosemary-garlic bread, or potato-dill loaf, you’ve either just moved to Ottawa or you haven’t been to a local farmers’ market, upscale grocery store, or posh restaurant in the past decade or so. This is the bakery’s only dedicated café.

What’s Missing?

Green space! Sure, you can walk or cycle to the Ottawa River along the Trillium Pathway beside the O-Train line, but it’s quite a bit outside the neighbourhood. Inside the ’hood, park choices are limited to pocket-sized Hintonburg Park and Plouffe Park.


Meet the Neighbours

Photo: Ruivobrown / LoveOttawa
Photo: Ruivobrown / LoveOttawa

Pauline Mousseau and her daughter, Payton Morris
Public servant, Indigenous rights advocate, chair of Girls + Skate 613

Home: Two-bedroom apartment on Railway Street; renovation in 1980s to back of house added large living room with fireplace and skylights

Years in the hood: 13; 2½ in current home

Why she moved here: A good friend needed a reliable tenant, and Pauline needed more space.

Favourite shops: Moonroom and Two Six Ate for late nights. (“But I really miss Cozy’s.”) “I can afford good cuts of meat at the Marché Hintonburg because I get my milk, yogurt, and butter at Giant Tiger. Now if GT would move the food to the main level, they’d better serve the people who like to shop there for food staples. I mean, I can barely navigate the stairs with a shopping cart — imagine the elderly!”

Flock and Twiss & Weber for clothing. “Some of the best pieces I own come from Flock and T&W … the pockets are key! The best part of shopping at these shops is knowing I am supporting local owners and makers. Plus, the humans behind these two shops are exceptional community supporters and all-round lovely.”

Mint for hair. “Walking in is like walking into the hub of the neighbourhood. I feel like it’s where you can catch up on all the local goings-on. Let’s face it — Kristen [Atkinson, owner] is like the King of Kensington. She knows everyone and she’s always welcoming.

Favourite public spaces: The O-Train path. “I just wish it was a bit more safe. It’s somewhat isolated, so walking at night is pretty scary and I do not let Payton walk alone.” Odawa Native Friendship Centre. “If you walk in, someone will help you find what you are looking for. I want to go for language courses there eventually.”

What’s missing: “I would love to see more low-income housing. How are people who are single or widowed going to live downtown? We would lose the diversity. The neighbourhood has changed so much. There’s [also] a need for a reasonably priced grocery store.”