On a typical Monday afternoon, the Rideau Centre should have been quiet.


But yesterday, the downtown mall was a hive of activity as the two-week countdown to Christmas began.


Ottawa’s shopping season has begun in earnest, and as city consumers start to scramble for gift ideas, the stores often have a better idea of what people want, as many are beginning to sell out of their most popular items.


One of the most popular gifts for kids is the V-Tech kiddie cam, which is a digital camera for children, said Vera Wabegijig, assistant manager at the Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s location at the Rideau Centre.

The toy has been in demand since it made the “best bets” list for the Canadian Toy Testing Council. Wabegijig said consumers are more conscientious this year about what they’re buying for children in the wake of massive recalls of toys made in China.

The last two weeks before Christmas are the busiest of the year, said Keo Taing, owner of Ottawa’s Taing Jewellers. But Taing anticipates the big rush a few shopping days before Christmas.

“There are a lot of last-minute shoppers, especially the men,” laughed Taing.

The biggest would-be gift in the technology category would be the iPhone, except it won’t be available in Canada until after Christmas at the earliest, said Bell World sales associate Daren Plett.

“A lot of people don’t know that, and they come in and ask for it,” said Plett.

The BlackBerry Pearl is proving big this year, while cellphone accessories — car chargers, cases and Bluetooth headsets — are also popular gifts.

Gender choices

  • Men are looking to buy earrings, bracelets and rings, while women are choosing watches for the guys in their lives.