Between school at the University of Toronto and a part-time summer job, Amanda Peach "can't seem to find time" for herself.

But Sunday, the Ottawa resident happily sampled fruit juices, snacked on cheese and crackers, picked up a new pair of earrings and some hot sauce for her fiancé and admired some new purses.

"It feels good to take time for myself," she said.


An estimated 20,000 people attended the 7th annual Ottawa National Women's Show at Lansdowne Park over the weekend, said Sofie Friscic with National Event Management.

"We're branding this event as the ultimate girls' day out," said Friscic.

"This is a day when women can leave the boys at home and come out and shop and taste and try products before they buy it. They can have a 10-minute manicure or a 10-minute massage. If you go to the spa, you can't get services like that."

While the fashion shows were a huge draw -- speakers taught women tips and tricks for dressing for their body shape -- the workshops and cooking demonstrations were all well attended, said Friscic. Exhibits ranged from household gadgets to clothing and accessories to beauty products.

Edie Besserer said the show was a good way to "check out things you don't see in regular stores."

Ottawa resident Marie-Eve Caden agreed, saying she was there to "see what was new for women, to do a little shopping and to hear what people have to say about women."

Visitors weren't the only ones happy with the weekend event. Vendors said sales were brisk.

"During economic downtimes, people tend to focus a little more on what's close to them," said Oliver Fu at the Egyptian Dream Sheets booth.

Instead of spending $10,000 on a vacation, they're more likely to spend it on things to improve their day-to-day living at home, he said.