With the long weekend approaching, the city’s tourism industry, businesses and restaurants are gearing up for more guests than usual as visitors make the most of their time off.

“Once the weather’s nice, it gets pretty busy down here for sure,” said Michael Read, who works for Capital Cruises.

Although most tourists Read meets are from out of town, locals taking ‘staycation’ time are also taking advantage of the attractions here.

“We find that a lot of local people haven’t actually toured around a lot down here,” he said.

“They live around here, but have never actually gone to the Parliament buildings.”

The uOttawa student said he’s unexpectedly found himself an unofficial ambassador for the city.

“A lot of people ask where I like to eat. I’ll usually send them in the direction of the Market, because there’s a lot of variety in the area.”

The ByWard Market is seeing more activity than last year, said Paolo Copelli, markets co-ordinator with the City of Ottawa.

The William Street pedestrian plaza, which continues through August, may have something to do with it.

“People are enjoying the space, and they like the fact that they can relax there and watch the buskers perform. It’s a positive addition to the market lifestyle.”