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Moving into one of Ottawa’s hottest queer hoods

Shining the spotlight on the capital’s trendy Westboro village

Village Café is one of the many establishments adding to Westboro’s trendy cultural landscape. Credit: Ben Welland

Queerness has a second home in Westboro Village.

The northwestern Ottawa neighbourhood is home to some of the city’s trendiest restaurants, shops and gay-owned businesses. Just a short bus trip from Ottawa’s gay village, Westboro has an undeniably queer vibe to it.

Home to a healthy mix of residential and commercial offerings, Westboro has established itself as a hotbed for the up-and-coming. John King, Ottawa-based realtor of 22 years and lead real estate agent of Engel & Völkers Ottawa Central, explains Westboro generates attraction because “it has already ‘up and come’ versus other neighbourhoods that are still on the rise.”

While many consider its borders to be blurred, the heart of Westboro is at Churchill and Richmond Road, extending east until Island Park Drive. The neighbourhood is bordered to the north by the Ottawa river, providing residents quick access to Quebec via the Champlain Bridge.

King notes that recent years have seen an influx of young professionals to the area, in part due to Westboro’s thriving dining and shopping scene. Local favourites Bridgehead or Ministry of Coffee provide a great setting for that initial coffee date. For that crucial follow-up dinner, Kings points to nearby Pure Kitchen, The Savoy Brasserie, MHK Sushi, Barley Mow or Clocktower Brew Pub.

Nearby entertainment options are plentiful, including multiple yoga studios and the Great Canadian Theatre Company a few minutes away. Westboro’s comprehensive shopping offerings includes some unique fashion retailers and a number of gay-owned businesses like Tivoli Florist and Collected Works bookstore.

For the past 12 years Westboro has also played host to Ottawa’s annual Westfest, a three-day celebration of Canadian art and culture. The festival, one of Ottawa’s largest, attracts over 100,000 people to its free multidisciplinary arts showcase. While this year’s festival has found a new home in Laroche Park, the venue is just a five-minute drive down Scott Street from Westboro.

The neighbourhood’s high attraction can come at a price. “It rents and sells at a premium,” King says, “therefore more established or higher income families/professionals tend to be the new residents.” For those looking into the area, King emphasizes the importance of hiring a realtor knowledgeable about the area. “Knowledge is power in real estate so ensure you have someone on your side.”