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Hood Wars Centre Conference: Centretown versus the Glebe

By Apartment613 on May 2, 2012


Hood Wars, Apartment613’s annual navel-gazing hyper-local slug fest is well underway. As of the writing of this post the results of the Western Conference showdown between Chinatown and Hintonburg are still unknown. The second match up pits two giants against each other. The first is a giant in the literal sense: what Ottawan doesn’t have some connection to Centretown and the downtown core, be it work, play or just hanging out. The Glebe is a giant in a more metaphoric sense. Although lacking Centretown’s sheer number of potential supporters, it’s got a clear representational advantage as one of Ottawa’s pleasantest places.

Who will win? You decide. Read the arguments of each of our defenders and cast your vote for which hood should advance to the semi finals at the bottom of the post.

Defending Centretown – Mike Fancie is a partisan government employee and former La Rotonde Arts & Culture volunteer of the year. He has been to Chez Lucien, but not Hintonburger. In the evening, he helps people plan new media campaigns. He supports the ongoing Quebec student strike. Find him on Twitter at @Fancietweets.I’m here to explain to you why Centretown is the king of Ottawa’s neighbourhoods. Now before you go and call us the Baratheons of Canada’s capital, hear me out – the Glebe is a strong and worthy adversary.But all things considered, the Glebe is essentially Centretown Lite. What would the Glebeian stereotype of a yuppie government employee be without the federal legislature? If it weren’t for the public sector at the end of Bank Street, whither would the Glebe’s fixie-riding hordes travel? Before you conjure up images of federal government employees wasting away in cubicles, consider the following: if it weren’t for us, Ottawa would still be a two-bit logging town. Government hotspots like Sparks Street that attract first class talent to the city at a time when shops in the ByWard Market (the Hufflepuff of the downtown troika) still peddle Obama cookies in commemoration of his visit… three years ago. Hashtag get over yourselves.It’s also worth noting that Centretown boasts four Bridgehead coffee shops and more locally owned storefront swag than you can shake a hipster stick at. Take the Fall Down Gallery: a quick glance at their space and you know that Centretown knows what’s good.

Besides, when was the last time your friend called you on a Friday afternoon and said, “Hey! Let’s go party rocking in the Glebe!” What he really said was something like “Let’s go see the Mackenzie Rhythm Section throw down at Babylon!” or “How about we hit Hooley’s and consume some low-grade domestic beer?”

On to eating out. When your hunger pangs, no one wants to take the bus down Bank Street. You wait in line at the Manx like the rest of us, or you give up, head across the street and order fajitas for two at Pancho Villa that are served up on a sizzling-hot skillet at your table. Worst-case scenario: hit up House of Georgie for a slice of the Georgie Special with extra sauce (it’s homemade) and find a perch in Jack Purcell Park to watch the puggle roam.

Geographically speaking, you can’t beat Centretown. You may have noticed when you Google Mapped the Imperial that our ‘hood is aptly named “Centretown-Downtown”. My place, for example, provides central access to Chinatown, the Market and the Glebe – and I’m conveniently minutes away from work. If convenience is your thing, Centretown is the complete package.

Again: a lot of things have been said about the Glebe in this article; Centretown is far from perfect. Is the rent too damn high? Sure.

Do students loaded on the aforementioned low-grade beer sometimes get rowdy outside my apartment? Occasionally.

Did I have to run the unfortunate gauntlet known as the Sens Mile to do my groceries? Totally.

But when Boushey’s Lebanese delights are your reward, it’s worth it. And you don’t even have to cross the North Wall (aka the Queensway overpass) to get there.

 Defending The Glebe – Katie Marsh is an Apartment613 editor and, before getting conscripted into the Hintonburg Army, was a proud Glebite. But just like Alfie she’s happy to go back and play for the home team when it come times to major inter-neighbourhood tournaments.When suburbs grow up, they want to be just like the Glebe. Ottawa’s original commuter neighbourhood has really got the whole package: beautiful streets full of happy families, an architectural heritage second only to the Market, a diverse commercial row jam packed with independent small businesses… I could go on, but there’s a 500 word limit.Let’s start with the commercial row. Sure, Bank Street south of the Queensway may not be where most Ottawan’s go to rowdy drunk fest on a Saturday night, but it’s a prime choice for Sunday morning brunch. The weekend in the Glebe has a cosmopolitan but cozy feeling that’s difficult to find elsewhere in the city. It ain’t Paris, but there are times when it gets closer then any other place in Ottawa. A prime example is a sunny Summer or Fall day when you can join your friends lounging on the Starbuck’s, Royal Oak or Feleena’s patios, watching the crowds stream by, sometime to the tune of (I kid you not) accordion or violin playing buskers.The neighourhood’s prime position and loyal clientele means that it has sustained many longstanding independent businesses. Britton’s Magazine shop (40+ years),Octopus Books (40+ years),  Light of India (25+ years) Arbour Environmental Shoppe(20+ years) are some of the places that give the Glebe a sense of permanency even in the midst of dramatic changes. Come back enough times to be recognized by the staff of these establishments, and you’ll be greeted not as a client, but as a friend.Another longstanding Glebe fixture? Irene’s Pub, the place for live music in the hood. (AND, they finally got rid of those awful poles that blocked part of the view from the stage!) Former city councillor Clive Doucet called it “the only community centre in the city with draft taps” and it remains one of the city’s best venues for blues or country music. It was once a dream of mine to be considered a regular there, but alas! My liver and my pocket book weren’t up to the challenge.

The Glebe’s got more than just a great commercial core; it’s also one of the few spots in the city that buck the general trend of so-so architecture. Some of the posher houses in the hood are good examples of the works of Canadian architects W.E. Noffke and David Younghusband. Those touches of Spanish tile and Arts and Craft style buildings are a large part of the neighbourhood’s charm.

Speaking of beautiful buildings, the Aberdeen Pavilion has got to be in the running for one of Ottawa’s prettiest heritage buildings. Which brings us to one of the best features of the neighbourhood – my ace in the hole – the Lansdowne Farmer’s market! On special occasions they bring out the petting zoo, pony carts and organ grinder just to let the city’s other farmer’s markets know how awesome it is… not that the Lansdowne farmer markets needs all these extras to blow the competition out of the water, when it already has the German Farmer Breakfast Stall (one side of potatoes and you won’t need to eat for a week!)

Note that I haven’t mentioned my honorable competition once, since one of the best things about the Glebe is how close it is to everything else! Whatever the Glebe is missing, which is mostly drunken students, we can walk 5 minutes to get access to it in Centretown!


You have until 1pm on Thursday to vote!

Preliminary Round

May 1 – Western Conference – Hintonburg vs Chinatown
May 2 – Centre Conference – Centretown vs The Glebe
May 3 – Eastern Conference – New Edinborough vs Sandy Hill
May 4 – Boonies Conference – Gatineau vs Almonte

Semi Finals

May 7 – Winner Western Conference vs Winner Center Conference
May 9 – Winner Eastern Conference vs Winner Boonies Conference


May 14 – Winner May 7 vs Winner May 9