Sparks Street could use a little bit of Mary's help

Mary Queen of Shop
Mary Portas (photo:Optomen)

I'm a big fan of Mary Queen of Shops, a British television show where Mary Portas, renown retail adviser and host of the show, helps small struggling independent shop owners become more successful. Whenever I walk on Sparks Street I can't help but think that it could use that kind of help. Currently, it's rather depressing. There's nothing exciting about it. It's just there.

Sparks Street Mall
Sparks Street Mall

Examples of shops on Sparks Street (photo: MOOT)

Sparks Street is another location in Ottawa that has a lot of potential, a great location and great architecture. It could and should become an international landmark but it needs a theme, a focus, something like quirky little independent shops showcasing talented Canadians designs from various parts of the country, or maybe just more visually attractive shops that make better use of their frontage like Happy Pills in Barcelona.

Happy pills Bacelona
Happy Pills Candy Shop in Barcelona (photos: Brandon blog | Hiroko Kitchen )


  1. hi there - here via girl about OTown...
    I always thought Sparks needs one big draw, like an H&M or something. If you have one big draw, it will be more welcoming to other boutiques to open up.


  2. You really should find out who you need to talk to about making Ottawa a more appealing city. You have so many good idea, you need to share them with the people who can make them reality. Or just go for it and do it yourself!! Why not come up with a plan for improving Sparks Street and present it to some of the store owners?? I'm sure they'd be happy to listen to your suggestions for how to improve the appeal of Sparks and increase the traffic in their stores.

    Thanks for your comment on my post about Kylie. She was a cute dog, and she had great blue eyes :-) I hope she enjoyed her long life with us.


  3. For sure a big store could help too, or even a smaller but specialized one like Rudsak.

    Thanks Kelly. I might at some point in the future :)

  4. You are SO right about this! What do we do? Where do we go? Who do we bug? I'm with ya 100%!

    I say lets invite Mary Queen of Shops to visit!

  5. I'm still not 100% sure how to go about this. If you have any ideas, let me know. Maybe Mary would be interested... I'll keep my eyes open :)


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