Press Release

Mark Sutcliffe Will Bring People Back to Downtown Ottawa and the ByWard Market

Mayoral candidate commits to bringing more residents and visitors to the downtown core, building more affordable housing, and offering more attractions downtown

Ottawa, Ontario - Mayoral Candidate Mark Sutcliffe released his plan for a revitalized downtown and ByWard Market.

“Every great city has a vibrant downtown," said Sutcliffe. “But Ottawa is facing significant challenges in the core, with fewer workers, residents, and visitors coming downtown. Without a plan to attract more people, the future of our downtown is at risk.”

Sutcliffe continued: “We need to do now what the previous city council did not: take immediate action to have more people living downtown, make it an amazing destination for residents and tourists, and address safety issues in the ByWard Market."

Downtown Revitalization

In a report released earlier this year, Ottawa ranked 45th out of 62 cities on its downtown recovery.

"Small business owners I've spoken with have told me what they need is more people. We should be doing everything we can to get more people living and visiting downtown and eliminate anything that discourages it.”

To improve Ottawa’s downtown, Mark will:

  • Build more homes downtown by incentivizing the conversion of vacant office space to market and affordable housing, including reducing or removing application fees and development charges.

  • Secure at least $30M from the federal government’s fund to incentivize these conversions, with a priority and focus on affordable housing.

  • Work with small business owners, BIAs, and other organizations including the Board of Trade and Ottawa Tourism, on a strategy to animate the core with more festivals, events, and activities that will bring people downtown.

  • Work with tourism leaders, the federal government, and other stakeholders to develop a plan for a new major national attraction in downtown Ottawa, such as a museum or cultural centre.

  • Work with the federal government to create a vibrant Parliamentary precinct that serves as a grand national gathering place that invites Canadians and others from around the world to our capital city.

  • Relax right-of-way access for on-street commerce (sidewalk sales, sidewalk patios).

  • Continue reduced patio fees for restaurants that have expanded their operations into public space.

  • Reject calls to raise parking fees or introduce “congestion charges” to come downtown.

  • Expand resources in at-risk neighbourhoods like the ByWard Market and Dundonald Park to improve safety in these areas.

  • Add more greenspace and tree canopies as building conversions take place as part of my plan to double the number of trees being planted in Ottawa.

  • Facilitate a Gatineau LRT connection to the downtown and Ottawa’s LRT system.

  • Work closely with the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Associations and all downtown BIAs on the revitalization plan

ByWard Market Turnaround

As part of downtown revitalization efforts, Sutcliffe promised to address the safety issues facing Ottawa’s Byward Market, so that it regains its status as one of the city’s most attractive destinations.

“The ByWard Market used to be the crown jewel of Ottawa, for residents and tourists. Under my leadership, we will restore it to its past glory,” stated Sutcliffe. “We can’t continue to ignore the safety issues that are acutely felt in this neighbourhood. I am the only candidate with a targeted plan and a commitment that is focused on the ByWard Market.”

Sutcliffe also reiterated his plan to better support vulnerable people and residents living in at-risk neighbourhoods. “We are facing a crisis in Ottawa around mental illness and substance use disorder, and a deteriorating system is not supporting our neighbours, family members, and friends who are struggling,” said Sutcliffe. “We must leverage the expertise of first responders, social workers, counsellors and others to deliver better results.”

For the ByWard Market, Sutcliffe will:

  • Review the mandate and operations of the city’s Services Corporation that runs the Byward Market.

  • Work with Ottawa Markets, the ByWard Market BIA, local farmers and artisans to improve visitor experience and put the ‘market” back in ByWard.

  • Support live music, street buskers, food festivals, and other performance art experiences in the ByWard Market.

  • Increase walkways, car-free zones, and public seating to encourage people to stay in the market.

  • Establish a permanent ByWard Market cleaning crew to keep the public space clean and beautiful.

  • Strike a Task Force within 30 days of taking office with a mandate to provide concrete recommendations on solutions for responding to mental illness and substance use disorder, ahead of the 2023 Budget process;

  • Working with community service agencies and the Ottawa Police Services, develop a dedicated Neighourhood Resource Team and a Storefront Neighbourhood Operations Centre to address crime, as well as mental health and substance abuse disorder in the neighbourhood.

  • Targeted use of CCTV cameras for investigative and deterrence purposes in at-risk areas to support and monitor police work, similar to how they are presently used by Ottawa Community Housing and in other jurisdictions.

  • Provide a single point of contact for residents and business owners to report incidents so they don’t get jurisdictional runaround at city hall.

  • Restore the ByWard Market as a central gathering place again and prepare to celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2027.

“For the health of residents and local businesses as well as the finances of the city we need quick action on making downtown a great place to live and restore the ByWard Market as a jewel of the city. I will lead the bold change that’s needed to get us there.” said Sutcliffe.



Media Inquiries

Mark Sutcliffe Campaign
Liam Roche
+1 613-981-5426