Britannia Plaza: Trial by fire

In the early morning of Fri Feb 6, 2009 a fire destroyed the east end of Britannia Plaza. The fire was one of three suspicious fires in Ottawa that day, and destroyed at least five businesses at Britannia Plaza. Apparently the huge blaze took 77 firemen to extinguish. 1

Destroyed by the fire were:

Rockin Johnny’s Diner
Kiwi’s West End Pawn Shop
Full Tilt Cycles
Wicked Wanda’s


Britannia Plaza Fire 2009: Ottawa Citizen Photo Gallery

The fifth destroyed business is a little trickier to identify. For one thing none of the news accounts identify it in their list. What records I can find suggest that it was one of either the Familia Meat Market (La) or Ariana’s Kabab Restaurant, but it could actually have been both. Or possibly one of them had moved out a short time before. I just don’t know. If any reader can shed some light on this it would be appreciated.

All were relatively new businesses as this extension of the Plaza was fairly new.  Most were small owner/operator businesses, and even Rockin Johnny’s was a very small chain.

As far as I know only Wanda’s and Ariana’s reopened at new locations, or at least using their old names. So presumably several peoples hopes and dreams were destroyed.

Full Tilt & Wanda’s?: Ottawa Citizen Photo Gallery

The Ottawa Citizen published some very impressive pictures of the fire and the damage; they are well worth the visit.

A week later we learn that about an hour after the fire there was a disturbance at the Travelodge a few km east of the Plaza on Carling. Three people were taken into custody and charged with arson. One of them had burns on up to 90% of his body. 2

And that’s all we ever learn about the incident. I can find no follow up that ever explains why the arson was committed, which business was the intended target (assuming one in particular was), whether the business owner was complicit in the attack, etc.

Unless any readers know anything more, this goes onto the growing pile of “Britannia Mysteries.”

Rockin Johnny’s damage: Ottawa Citizen Photo Gallery

All very frustrating really.

In 2011 another Britannia Plaza fire damaged the then under construction Farm Boy. This fire was not nearly as damaging, seems to have been accidental and in no way related to the previous one.3


1 Police investigate three suspicious fires overnight. CTV News Ottawa Friday, February 6, 2009

2 Police connect burn victim to arson. Ottawa Citizen Weds Feb 11, 2009

3 Fire damages west-end Farm Boy & two other businesses. CTV News Ottawa Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2 thoughts on “Britannia Plaza: Trial by fire

  1. The fifth Business was Arianna’s. That was where the fire began. The arsonist left a trail of fuel and lit the match. He was a young kid, and after being in a medically induced coma for weeks, he passed away. The reason for the arson was never released.
    – I was the owner of Kiwi’s Pawn Shop at the time. Today is the 10 year anniversary.


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