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Patios, restaurants and meeting venues multiplying for Rideau Street office workers

Office tenants benefitting from convenience of downtown location

1 Nicholas St. tenant
1 Nicholas St. tenant

A fresh wave of retailers, restaurants and patios is flourishing on Rideau Street – the iconic commercial main street of Ottawa’s downtown core – giving downtown workers a host of new and unique options for offsite meetings, post-work gatherings and staff lunches. 

“It’s all right here,” says Betty Ann Atwood, senior manager at IPSOS, a global market research and consulting firm that has called 1 Nicholas St., an office building at the corner of Rideau Street, home for 28 years. 

“There are so many options for us when it comes to stores and restaurants,” says Atwood, whose long tenure in the area has allowed her to see the changes in the retail and dining mix. “It’s much nicer down here now, it’s beautiful to walk around. The Rideau Street renovation has done a lot to clean up the street.”

For Atwood, new additions such as the Clocktower Brew Pub and Joey Rideau – both located on Rideau Street, on either side of Nicholas Street – make entertaining clients or planning staff outings a logistical piece of cake.

Jessica Inglis, the front of house manager at the Rideau Street Clocktower Brew Pub, says the restaurant is accustomed to hosting large groups. 

“For people who work nearby, it’s easy to visit us for a birthday or going away function,” says Inglis. “We try to accommodate special requests as much as possible.” 

The Clocktower also caters to its neighbouring office tenants by offering afternoon specials that match the schedules of downtown workers. 

Convenient location

In recent years, several major redevelopments have also helped to reshape the retail landscape for downtown workers. This includes the Rideau Centre’s $360-million expansion and renovation and, across the street, the 2015 facelift of Hudson’s Bay on Rideau Street. 

The number of unique meeting and event venues within easy walking distance has also multiplied. The National Arts Centre fully reopened in 2017 following a $110-million renovation project. More recently, the Ottawa Art Gallery and Arts Court completed multimillion-dollar improvements, and the area welcomed Le Germain Hotel in 2018. 

These expanded spaces complement tried and true event venues such as The Westin, the Shaw Centre and The Novotel, making the area rich in resources for offsite meetings and conferences.

For Atwood and her colleagues, Farm Boy’s addition to the Rideau Centre’s roster in 2017 has arguably made the biggest difference in the lives of the many working parents at IPSOS, making it easy to pick up last-minute dinner supplies. Having high-end stores like Nordstrom, Simons and Zara within walking distance is another, perhaps more indulgent, perk.

“Our location is so accessible and so convenient,” says Grace Choueiry, branch manager at Adecco Canada – another tenant at 1 Nicholas St. “It makes coming to work easy and stress-free,” she adds.

That’s feedback that Michael Morin, a commercial property manager at District Realty, hears frequently.

“Tenants at 1 Nicholas St. love the location because they have every convenience at their fingertips, without being in the centre of the busy ByWard Market,” he says. “With all the enhancements that have come to the area in the last few years, tenants are more enthusiastic about the location than ever.”  

There are currently several blocks of space available for lease inside 1 Nicholas St. Companies and organizations interested in office space options in the heart of downtown Ottawa can explore their options at