This past Saturday night, I went to the first ever 613 Night Market. It was held at the Ottawa Convention Centre that is conveniently attached to the Rideau Centre. The 613 Ottawa Night Market was inspired by the night markets that happen in other cities like Richmond and Vancouver BC. These markets bring local food vendors and artisans all in one easy and central location for shoppers and foodies alike.
The buzz for this event started in early September. I made sure to buy my tickets in advance. My parents even planned a trip from Toronto to Ottawa for the 613 Night Market. The promotional group, Prive, were the event organizers and kept everyone on their toes with vendor updates and the status of ticket sales on Facebook. The event was broken down into two time slots; an afternoon and an evening portion. I attended the evening portion of the event.
I arrived at the 613 Night Market with my parents and JD who took photos of the event at around 6:45pm. The event was fairly full but still had lots of room to accommodate people. All of the food vendors were mostly lined up along the back wall. I was eating with my eyes. Some of the food vendors included:
- Gongfu Bao (steamed buns with BBQ Pork)
- Green Papapya (Thai food)
- Takeaway Gourmet Foods (a cool concept for the busy person)
- Luxe Bistro
- Ginza (ramen)
- Hot Cream Holes (winners from one of the Food Network’s donut challenges)
I was a little concerned that my dad would not find anything to suit his picky foodpreferences, however he scarfed down some maple barbequed ribs and a beef slider. My favourite food vendor was the curry taco from Green Papaya and thought that the dessert I had from Hot Donut Cream Holes was to die for. The lineup was a solid 45 minutes long, but well worth the wait. I also made sure not to wear any white clothing in case I spilled any messy foods or was accidentally bumped into. That would have been very tragic.
We wondered throughout the various artisan and retail stalls. I was very impressed with all of the amazing and creative talent that Ottawa and the surrounding area has to offer. Some of the brands were recognizable like The Drake General Store, Babes and Gents and Milk. However, many new and up and coming artisans were discovered. I instantly fell in love with Miyuki Crochet (her crochet skills are amazing and I think I also loved the instant half Japanese connection), Bullets and Bones, and the goods from Heart Meets Paper.
By about 8pm, the 613 Night Market was packed. The drink lines were enormously long. My only piece of constructive criticism would be that there was a lack of beverage options, other than having to stand in line with outside of the main hall. From what I was told by some vendors, they were not allowed to sell any sort of drink (alcoholic or not). We were all looking for something to quench our thirst while eating all of the delicious food and would have paid a premium for a bottle of water to avoid having to wait in the long line.
Overall, the 613 Night Market was a great success. It gave Ottawa a few more points on the coolness scale. Coming from Toronto, Ottawa tends to fall short sometimes, however this event was a hit. I would surely attend if they held it again next year. Perhaps it can become a semi-annual event? I loved the fusion and unity of the food and artisans all under one roof.