Skip To Content

Neighbourhood Wars Eastern Conference: New Edinburgh versus Sandy Hill

By Apartment613 on May 3, 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. Show your support for your favourite Hood Wars contestant by heading down to Urban Craft this weekend to pick up our special hood wars pins.

Hood Wars’ Eastern conference is the first to feature two neighbourhoods that have not yet been battle tested. Last year there was a minor outcry that New Edinburgh did not make the Hood Wars line up, leading me to assume that the Ottawans who live along Beechwood Avenue are particularly bloodthirsty. New Edinburgh faces Sandy Hill, best known as the home hood of the University of Ottawa but containing a host of secret weapons hidden gems.

Which one will win? You decide. As always read the arguments of the two defenders and then vote at the bottom of the page. The voting will last 24 hours, after which the winner will advance to the semi round next week.

Defending New Edinburgh – Kaitlin Wainwright is a historian who bakes, runs half-marathons, and is moving to Toronto this month, making her case for New Edinburgh/Beechwood all the more bittersweet.When we moved to our new apartment, which is New Edinburgh adjacent, there was a certain conversation with new neighbours that replayed itself on a daily basis: “You moved here from Westboro? Why would you do that?” I never really established a party line to tow on the matter, but with each conversation my conviction grew stronger that New Edinburgh, Beechwood, and its surrounding communities have a lot to offer the city. The neighbourhood is in many respects a sampling of what Ottawa has become, like one of those postcards that you buy with eight small photos capturing the essence of the city in one go.I’ll start with food in New Edinburgh, since that’s what I know and know quite well. There are some serious Ottawa food institutions in this neighbourhood. Walking my dog along Beechwood in the mornings is enough to induce decision paralysis: The Scone Witch, Bread and Roses, and Bridgehead are all viable breakfast options. In the afternoon, Jacobsons Gourmet Company and 42 Crichton have exactly what I’m looking for – whether it’s sweet or savoury. The choices in the evening are just as good, if not better: Fraser Café, El Meson – home to the best paella in the city – or Farbs Kitchen and Wine Bar are all just a short walk up Beechwood.

The other thing that I happen to know a fair bit about is history, and New Edinburgh is home to some pretty interesting buildings and spaces that reflect our city’s changing past. The neighbourhood is home to Canada’s national cemetery and a national historic site. For those of you interested in the dead, or the resting place of past Prime Ministers, Governors General, or those who built out city, it’s a place in which you can spend hours. Technically, the neighbourhood is home to Tommy Douglas—that counts for something, right? It’s also adjacent to Rideau Hall, and whether or not you’re one for pomp and circumstance, you have to admit that it’s a beautiful building, situated on some lovely grounds with breathtaking gardens.

Beechwood and New Edinburgh are also home to some amazing public spaces and festivals. Stanley Park, which plays host to Lumiere Festival in the summer months and a sugar festival in the winter, boasts a huge off-leash dog park, and open trails for biking and running along the Rideau River, as well as tennis courts, and skating rinks. The nearby Crichton Cultural Community Centre is a hub of community services, but brings people in from outside the neighbourhood for events like the Locavore Artisan Food Fair (which you should check out this weekend!)

There’s a lot more to love about New Edinburgh, as you’ll find out when we make it into the semi-finals. New Edinburgh is a neighbourhood that is confident in itself. It doesn’t need your approval, but once you get to know it, you’ll love it to be sure.

Defending Sandy Hill – Èva Morin is an Apartment613 contributor.Sandy Hill is underrated. There, I said it. The often-overlooked area has for too long been a victim of the “campus neighborhood” stereotype, regrettably rendering it an easily forgotten burrow in our Nation’s Capital. But no more.Sandy Hill engulfs the best of both worlds (at least according to myself); while being at an undeniably convenient location within the downtown core, it still remains a wonderfully quaint and family-friendly neighborhood. In fact, the very equal blend of students, established families, and young adults, helps to both keep this area in check and maintain its vibrant status.

Another major perk of Sandy Hill is its architecture. You might snicker while reading this, but have you actually ever taken a walk on those familiar streets? Charlotte, Wilbrod, Daly…the very streets in our backyard hold some of the most impressive houses in Ottawa, not to mention are often the homes of foreign ambassadors. It seems like with every stroll I take, I discover another hidden gem, a wonderfully preserved home which contributes to Sandy Hill’s vintage old-world feel.

Keeping with the urban planning theme, Sandy Hill also holds Strathcona Park, off Range Road and Charlotte, the very definition of my young life. While coming off as modest, the park is a safe haven for toddlers who enjoy the paddling pool (I have many pictures of myself as a child enjoying the sun in that 1 foot deep pool), and hosts Odyssey Theatre, who perform their Theatre Under The Stars every summer.

Additionally, outdoor fans can appreciate that Sandy Hill is just a hop, skip away from the Rideau Canal and its many winter activities.

Let’s not forget food and drink, however. Sandy Hill’s gem include Sandy Hill Lounge & Grill, on the corner of Somerset E and Blackburn. This little eatery provides the best in ambiance, service, and of course, food (best lamb burger in the city, what!). Their brunch, while ridiculously popular for local folks (get there early) makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Seriously, it’s that good. Mmm…eggs benedict…

Laurier street also features a few establishments, mostly for students to unwind, such as the uber-cozy Royal Oak, the trendy Urban Well, and now defunct Café Nostalgica (R.I.P.) It’s also crucial that every living person visit the chip wagon on Rideau street and Friel (in front of the TD Bank). Their hot-dog & pouting combo will simply Blow. Your. Mind. (So much cheese!)

While Sandy Hill may not be packed with entertainment, it knows its place: a warm, friendly neighborhood, close enough to the busy streets of downtown to be convenient and central, all the while being restful and charming enough to be a place to call home.

Online Poll @…

Survey Software by

Voting ends on Friday at 1pm

Preliminary Round

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

Semi Finals

May 7 – Hintonburn vs Centretown
May 9 – Winner Eastern Conference vs Winner Boonies Conference


May 14 – Winner May 7 vs Winner May 9