The Embassy Restaurant at night. February 1961. Image: Ted Grant / LAC Series 61-1203, Image No. 7.

The Embassy Restaurant at night. February 1961. Image: Ted Grant / LAC Series 61-1203, Image No. 7.

Given the reputation that Ottawa’s downtown has today, it may come as a surprise that it was at one point something of a hot spot in the city. Through the 1950s, 60s, and into the mid-1970s, a number of hotels, restaurants, and taverns kept Ottawans up and lively well into the wee hours of the night. In such venues as the Belle Claire Hotel, you could rub elbows with cabinet ministers, business personalities, and members of the high-flying Ottawa Rough Riders. The Embassy Restaurant and Tavern, though perhaps less well-known, was a popular spot in its own right, and was located right around the corner, at Bank and Sparks.

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