Ottawa’s Byward Market gets a showpiece bistro in a pleasingly retro palette

Montreal studio Ivy designed the interiors with locally crafted statement-lighting

Byward Market is the heart of Canada’s capital city – not only a destination for fresh local produce in the summer but a meeting place and exhibition space surrounded by heritage Victorian architecture.

The opening of Buvette Daphné is the latest asset drawing visitors to Ottawa’s number one tourist attraction. Designed by Montreal practice Ivy Studio, it combines heritage materials and clever, contemporary twists to create a space that’s both a casual café and polished wine bar with a fine-dining bent.

The former industrial building has an open layout visible from the street with banquette seating to one side and a sit-up bar to the other. The sinuous 36-foot bar sits beneath lofty 15-foot ceilings that augment the lively buzz (ceilings are painted black to obscure the exact height). Original exposed brick and cream-painted V-board panels create a homely envelope for the tambour-backed booths, and dynamic mosaic tiles tie it all together.

In this bilingual Ontario city, with Quebec just over the provincial border, Ivy wanted to honour the culinary and design cultures of Francophone Canada. The retro palette of caramel, brown, cream, rust-red and pale blue references the popular diners of midcentury Quebec. A 30-foot bespoke track light suspended above the U-shaped bar was crafted by Montreal design studio Hamster. Four frosted-glass globes were recycled from 1960s-era Montreal street lamps by Studio Botté. The Canadian-continental menu features boudin blanc sausage and Talleyrand flambé, a local favourite custard-meringue dessert.

11 William St, Ottawa, ON K1N 6Z9

Photography: Alex Lesage
Photography: Alex Lesage

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