This is one of our first stops after deciding to go on a trip. It's the best place in and around Ottawa to buy maps and travel books for places near and far. It has a much better selection than the big box bookstores and knowledgable staff to help,
There are navigation charts for boaters, hiking and biking maps as well, including a section devoted to the Ottawa / Gatineau area.
What to buy: Travel books and maps
There is a vintage store in Ottawa, which is a favourite of my friend´s there, so we visited often. It is an upscale vintage store, selling some fancy clothes. Many of the clothes come from the women of the affluent Rockcliffe area in Ottawa.
Opening hours: Monday 10:30-16:30, Tuesday-Friday 10:00-17:30, Saturday 10:00-17:00, Sunday 12:00-16:00.
What to buy: There are all kinds of clothes on sale here, categorized by size and colour. And a good selection of shoes, handbags and costume jewellery. Some good bargains can be found here. My friend has bought some beautiful clothes for a good price.
The thing that struck me though is that the branded handbags, Dior, Chanel etc, turned out to be fake. Maybe not all of them, but the one my friend bought me. And I was going to buy a branded handbag and asked at the store if they were fake and they told me they were. So I didn´t buy a handbag. For a fake handbag the price was way too high, one can buy these handbags for a very low price on the beaches in Spain. And they are of poor quality and fall apart easily.
What to pay: A reasonable price, except for the handbags.
Shoppers Drug Mart is one of my favouritw stores in Ottawa. It is a pharmacy, but with a large selection of cosmetics etc, much like the chain of Boots stores in England.
One can get some great offers here, both on vitamins and on cosmetics. I have done way too much shopping here, I just love browsing here. They have got such a great variety here.
There are always some offers on perfumes here, I have bought my favourite perfume for CAD 19,90 here, when it is double the price in Iceland. So I have been seen going home with up to 8 bottles of perfume. I always buy after shave here as well and gifts for the whole family.
Highly recommended while visiting Canada.
What to buy: Medicine, vitamins, cosmetics.
What to pay: Less than in other stores if you buy the items on offer.
Food Basics is a chain of cheap supermarkets all over Ontario with over 115 stores. I like this store and shopped there often, the food-prices there are the lowest I have seen in Ottawa. And they have some great offers - f.ex. one week there was an offer on Coka Cola if you bought several bottles, which made each bottle dirt-cheap. So we went there to stock up on food.
They have a good selection of tofu, which I love, and it was good quality and a very good price. Everything was good price there.
What to buy: Food-products.
What to pay: Much less than in other supermarkets.
When abroad I always seek out Chinatown for the Chinese shops. I love seaweed, which is very expensive where I come from, so I take the opportunity to eat it in abundance while abroad and stock up on it and take it home with me. The cheapest Nori can always be found in the Chinese shops, not in the health-food stores.
I found this good Chinese supermarket in Chinatown, Kowloon, which had everything I needed. Also a good selection of tofu, even though I found it to be cheeper at Food Basics, then Food Basics was kind of far away from where I was staying. They also had some very good seasoned Nori, very oily, but very yummy, which was on sale most of the 5 weeks I stayed in Ottawa, so I went to this store every second day to buy that.
There is a fish-tank at the store, which I didn´t particularly like. There were alive fish and lobster in it, so customers could get fresh fish. To me the fish looked half dead, not that fresh. I took a photo of the fish-tank, but forgot to take off the flash, so my photo is not good. It is not that easy taking photos inside a grocery store, people look at one kind of funny, so I put the camera down and didn´t take another photo of the fish-tank without flash.
What to buy: Chinese food.
Try to avoid coming here during the weekend - it gets unbearably crowdy.
Opening hours: Monday-Thursday and Saturday: 09:30-19:00. Friday: 09:30-20:00. Closed on Sundays.
There is a big, but very nice mall in Ottawa, St. Laurent´s shopping center. I always go there with my Canadian friends as this is their favourite mall. There are just some malls, which have got this nice feel to them, and St. Laurent´s shopping center is that kind of a mall.
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday: 09:30-21. Sunday: 11:00-17:00.
My friend needs a wheel-chair while visiting malls, and St. Laurent´s shopping center has got good wheel-chairs, which they lend to customers. We had some problems there last time we went there. My friend´s partner found out, in the car, that he had left his jacket with his keys and wallet in the wheel-chair. So we rushed in to get them, only to find out that the wheel-chair was gone and the lady at the desk had not signed for lending it out. When her back was turned somebody had taken the wheel-chair. So I went in with my friend and we looked - kind of panicky - all over the shopping center for people in wheel-chairs, having to leave our friend in the car. This took forever, as we didn´t just have to look for people in wheel-chairs, but in wheel-chairs belonging to the mall. We must have looked all over the mall twice - and it is a big mall. We had to check on our poor friend waiting in the car and go in again to look for the wheel-chair. Fortunately after 1,5 hour the wheel-chair was returned with the jacket and the wallet. There are some honest people in the world. But on the other hand the lady at the desk had her wallet stolen while this was going on - she had turned her back and a thief had grabbed her wallet :(
There is a very good health-food store in Ottawa, Rainbow foods. My friend and I are both vegan and she buys many of her vitamins and food here, which cannot be found in other food-stores.
Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 09:00-20:00. Satuday: 09:00-18:00. Sunday: 11:00-18:00.
What to buy: Here one can f.ex. find Sheese, the Scottish vegan cheese, and a very good selection of it. Only in Iceland have I found better selection of Sheese. And all imaginable health-food, Soy-products etc.
It is a shame about the price though, health food has become a fad and thus the price is over the roof and it makes me angry that some people want to make a fortune on other people´s misfortune. My friend and I are both allergic to dairy, fish and meat, eggs and so many other products and have to rely on this food to live.
What to pay: A lot - food is very expensive here, almost ridiculously expensive.
With with a $15,000 investment in 1961 at 98 George st, across the Byward Market, this mini Department store / Supermarket, they' expanded around Ottawa and further afield, cast to coast with 207 stores as this map shows where they are..
We have a small shop two blocks away from us but getting to the large store alongside their HQ/warehouse is always an interesting insight into merchandising by a fully Canadian private company.
What to buy: Fashion; House & home; Grocery; Health& beuaty; Special tiems &gifts; Pet supplies;
What to pay: specials are less than average
The best place for finding any grammophone record is Legend Records. It's off downtown Ottawa, but at the collection there must be many German and Britsch immigritants for the 50-ies living nearby.
The shop is just known for having many records. The albums are reasonable sorted and displayed. Special off main stream records are stacked by topic; most of them behind sliding doors at the lower level bins.
45-ers are somewhere at the left lower section in big carbon boxes. The ones closest to the entrance are the "just in" ones. You just have to sort things out.
Staff is very helpful and not short in having a prank at times. Owner is David Nolan who started Legend more than 30 years ago.
No compures, no websites (well, a few Ebay items); if you have a search item it will be noted and if found, stored somewhere.
In short: it's just a small vinyl heaven. Go and spend some hours there.
2009 Update: I visited the old location in March and the shop has moved. There still is some merchandise at a booth next to Lincoln Field shopping center entrance. The main store's new address is at 1315 Wellington St. West in the basement (take Richmond Av and head towards the city).
The new floor space is twice as big as the old one.
2011 Update: The basement is reconstructed. The back space is gone, but there will be additional space under the neighbouring shops. All walls are being painted again.
What to buy: Vinyl.
What to pay: From CAD 5 for an album.
Royal Canadian Mint facility has a boutique where you can shop for collector coins, gifts, souvenirs and an exclusive line of Royal Canadian Mint clothing.
Monday - Sunday: 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
What to buy: Collector coins, souvenirs
What to pay: Depend
The boutique at the Museum offers a range of souvenir and gift items for all tastes and budgets.
What to buy: Books, collectibles, souvenirs, models, cards, clothing and accessories, stationery and paper products, gift cards
What to pay: Depend
Absolutely incredible selection of unique items for the aviation buff at Aeronautica, the one-stop shop for all things aeronautical !
What to buy: Souvenirs, models, toys, books, posters, prints, mouse pads, t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps $ hats, CD-ROMs, DVDs etc.
What to pay: T-Shirts from $15.95
Logo Caps from $19.99
Printed Hats from $14.99
Mouse Pads from $10.95
Playing Cards “Legends of the sky” $8.99
Shop has retail location at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Stables, home of the RCMP Musical Ride.
Hours of Operation:
May-Aug: Monday through Friday, 9:00am-4:00pm
Sept-Apr: Monday through Friday, 10:00am-3:00pm
What to buy: RCMP Calendars - Regular price $20.99
Memorial Hockey Sticks - $119.99
MP Hooded Ladies Jacket - $99.99
Fleece Lined Vest - $82.99
Caps and Hats:
Crest Pin-Stripe Cap - $24.99
Vintage RCMP Posters Set/4 - $30.99
What to pay: Depend
You can find here some really different and 'Very Canadian' items to remember Ottawa or just amaze your friends back home:
What to buy: a lot of handmade native aboriginal crafts; soapstone carvings and lamps; the standard souvenir items; a 1/3 size Haida totem pole; 1/5-th size model of a Spitfire fighter with RCAF markings etc.
What to pay: Depend
2011 Update: THIS SHOP IS CLOSED (being swallowed by Premium Clothes and LeTellier Shoes)
Packed in between Tattoo shops and the Rideau center, the CD-Exchange.
The name says in all: it's CD's at low cost.
Main stream makes up most of the collection. It just where you run into.
What to buy: 2nd hand CD's.
What to pay: From CAD 5,00
Albert at Bay is central Ottawa and easy going staff with an excellent availability of both...more
I've stayed here for business trip on two separate occasions, the most recent being in February,...more
a pleasant weekend stay, a freebie for spouse after their workplace's Christmas Pary. Excellent...more