Somerset Street (Ottawa)

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Somerset Street, 1916

Somerset Street is a street in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is divided into Somerset Street East and Somerset Street West by the Rideau Canal.

Somerset Street East[edit]

Somerset Street East is a short road that runs through the neighbourhood of Sandy Hill from the University of Ottawa campus to the west and Strathcona Park to the east. Somerset also used to extend east over the Rideau River towards St. Laurent Boulevard. However, that bridge was demolished, and the street was renamed to Donald Street east of the river.

Modern view of Somerset Street West at Elgin Street, 2008

Somerset Street West[edit]

Somerset Street sign in Chinatown.
Somerset Square forms the western terminus of Somerset Street, when it turns into Wellington Street West.

Also known as Ottawa Road #36, Somerset Street West begins at the Queen Elizabeth Driveway in the east and continues west to Wellington Street West where it ends at Somerset Square. Somerset Street West houses the backbone of Ottawa's Chinatown, between Bay Street in the east to Preston Street in the west, which is the centre of Ottawa's Little Italy. The area of the street between Bank and O'Connor is known as Somerset Village.

The Ottawa Electric Railway ran along Somerset Street West between Bank Street going west towards Britannia Park[1]

In between[edit]

In the 1870s, as the area was developed, a bridge was proposed linking the two Somerset Streets over the Rideau Canal.[2] However, this bridge never came into existence. Today, on the east side of the canal, there is a pedestrian link from the multi-use pathway that runs alongside the canal, across Colonel By Drive, and under Nicholas Street and the transitway, onto the University of Ottawa campus. The street continues through the campus as Marie Curie Private, with traffic restricted to bicycles in the westbound direction.

The Corktown Footbridge connects the two sides, but is restricted to non-motorized traffic. The bridge opened to the public on September 21, 2006.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Maclaren, J. Plan of the By Estate, 1871

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata

A large public weblog of photographs of many buildings on Somerset Street West made after 2003 is available at[permanent dead link]