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Hood Wars Western Conference: Hintonburg versus Chinatown

By Apartment613 on May 1, 2012

Neighbourhood Wars is Apartment613’s yearly battle to determine which Ottawa neighbourhood can claim to be better than all others. The winner gets a year’s supply of glory and bragging rights.

Its fitting that the first round of this year’s Hood Wars starts off with the two finalists from last year’s competition. Chinatown faces returning champion Hintonburg for a Rocky II-style rematch. Will the Hintonburg march once again to victory? Or will Chinatown rise to the challenge to the rousing beat of Eye of the Tiger?

Read the pitches from our two defenders and make your choice below. You’ll have about 24 hours to vote. The winner will advance to the semi-final and will be one step closer to becoming crowned Ottawa’s favorite neighbourhood.


Defending Hintonburg: Returning Hood Wars Champion, OpenFile Ottawa news curator, Apartment613 radio editor, curler extraordinaire… is there anything Trevor Pritchard can not do? Apparently its saying anything nice about a neighbourhood that’s not Hintonburg.

Chinatown, my friendly nemesis. We meet again. It’s been awhile since I’ve had to dust off the trusty rhetorical sword and plunge it into the quivering heart of my neighbour to the east. In fact, I haven’t said anything bad against Chinatown since last year’s finals, when—and I only mention this for the sake of accuracy, not because I lay awake nights reliving the glory or anything—-Hintonburg kind of steamrolled its way to the Neighbourhood Wars trophy. (Which I’m still waiting for, BY THE WAY.)

Since then, our two neighbourhoods had a relative detente. The pho and the doughnuts have been flowing freely across our borders, I’m happy to say. But now: it’s go time.While I’m tempted to just hyperlink to last year’s article and then go for beers at the Carleton, confident history will repeat itself, that seems a tad egotistical. So I’ve come up with a few new arguments for why Hintonburg deserves your love, dear readers, of which only a handful are me shouting over and over WE HAVE A TACO STAND A TACO STAND AWWW YEEAAAHH TACOS TACOS TACOS.

For instance: let’s start with the Hintonburg Hub. It sounds like this social services and housing hub is actually going to happen, with a conditional deal in place to purchase property just north of Wellington Street. If there’s been NIMBY-ism around the project, I haven’t heard it—it’s been drowned out by people who think, you know, helping your fellow person is a good idea.

I mention the Hub support first because that sort of compassion and activism doesn’t square with the idea that you can’t spit in Hintonburg without hitting a hipster. (Side note: please don’t spit in Hintonburg. Or anywhere!) I mean, is it a BAD thing that we have a thriving cupcake shop, or a great yarn store, or the Hintonburg Public House? These are quality businesses. They’re locally owned. They’re walkable. Essentially, they contribute to the colourful fabric of Ottawa, of which the ironic hipster* is only one measly stitch.

There are plenty of additional reasons why you should mark “Hintonburg” on your ballot. But I do want to close by saying at least one slanderous thing about Chinatown-if only because I’m pretty sure Apartment613 editor and Glebe defender Katrina Marsh had envisioned this contest as kind of like The Hunger Games, except with more tears (and less archery). So: Chinatown, I hate the Somerset Street hill. Seriously, I hate, hate hate it. I don’t think I’ve ever had a closer encounter with my own mortality than while cycling down that hill with a wobbly back wheel, dislodged no doubt by a pothole that—were you to peer into—you would be able to see to the earth’s inner core.

In summary: Hintonburg embraces everything local, Chinatown hates cyclists, and tacos tacos tacos. See you in the semis.

*I would go into why I actually HATE the word “hipster”, but I only have 500 words.

Defending Chinatown: Samantha Everts is a freelance writer and occasional Apartment613 contributor. A gal about town (and not just the Chinese part), she also is involved with some great initiatives like the Ottawa rock lottery.

What could be more glorious to welcome you to a neighbourhood than a Royal Arch? No other ‘hood’s got ‘em, and quite frankly, ours is more elaborate than Vancouver’s. Pass through this arch and enter into multicultural heaven.

Chinatown – while yes, has “China” in its name -provides Indian, Pakistani, Latino, Filipino and Italian delicacies. But Pho Alley is open later than any of your pizza delivery joints, and if you get lost, just count down the Pho Bo Gahs (3, 2, 1…) If I want the best samosas in town, all I gotta do is go up the street.Have you noticed that there’s no chains along Somerset Street West? That’s how we roll.

Small family-run businesses thrive here and the community embraces them through events like Chinatown Remixed. We regularly celebrate how awesome this spirit is with music, dance, open houses, and food. Yeah, seeing delicious Chinese barbequed pork hanging on a window hook may not be for everyone, but there’s plenty of veg food here too. Where did the legendary vegan restaurant Zen Kitchen choose to set up shop? Somerset Street West. And where do vegetarians/vegans flock for the best pepper salt tofu? So Good. See that? It’s because Chinatown is just SO GOOD.

Besides, the fortune cookie predicted you’d be doing a duet with Chinadoll, our resident drag queen at Shanghai Restaurant turning your next boring Tuesday night into a Bowie-induced groggy Wednesday morning.

Chinatown knows how to party. Have you ever woken up to parade outside passing by your living room window? Fireworks? Batting eyelashes with a dragon is just an everyday deal for us Chinatowners as we sip our Daily Grind fairtrade coffee. Well, until Bridgehead’s roastery sends up that sweet smell over the scent of fresh pitas baking early in the morning.

Everything is cheaper here: rent, food, entertainment. Besides, Chinatown is really within walking distance of any other neighbourhood or transitway. With Raw Sugar going from hip café to ultimate indie music venue and Bronson Centre up the street, I mean, why leave? Where did The White Stripes and Gaga choose to hang out when they came to town? In the old Immaculata high school that also holds a bunch of not-for-profits and organizations that are helping the whole city become a better place.

Speaking of cool artists, Kalle Mattson and Zoo Legacy call it home along with dozens of other great Ottawa musicians. Heck, if I wanna go see the best acts in the world I just have to bike down Booth Street to get to Bluesfest. And if you like bikes, you can even pick up a used one for $30 at Re-Cycles on Bronson and get taught how to fix it by generous volunteers.

But we also look after our residents. St. Luke’s Lunch club serves up nutritious meals for those who need it and there’s more pharmacies and social services than any other ‘hood. For housing, not only does High Jinx hook up frugalistas with funky antiques, they donate their profits to the chronically homeless.

We are arts. We are food. We are the heartbeat that keeps the rest of the city at a steady pace of awesome.

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Keep your eye out for our upcoming Hood Wars competition.

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 ConferenceFinalsMay 14 – Winner May 7 vs Winner May 9