Can I have a glass of Water, please?
Sabrina Doyle looks into the Health Protection and Promotion Act 2009
No Free Glass of Water at this Pizza Chain in Toronto 2011
Free Glass of water Ottawa 2014
by J Dechene - 11/1/2008
It's a beautiful Fall Saturday here in Ottawa, Canada. I am heading out to the Byward Market in downtown Ottawa. It's 1 pm. As on most Saturdays, the market is busy. My quest is simple. Find out if any of the restaurants, stands and fast food joints in the area will refuse to give me a glass of water.
On my way, I hit the fast food outlets on Rideau and Dalhousie; Gabriel's Pizza, Pita Pit, Subway, Bubble Tea, McDonald's...to my surprise not one of them refuses, although at Pita Pit, I am welcome to the tap but they have no cups; same thing next door at Gabriel's Pizza, but, there, I am even offered a free bottle of water.
So far so good. I try sit-down restaurants. Shafali's Indian restaurant on Dalhousie is small and bustling...I march in and state my purpose. Yes for sure, I can have a glass of water. Same thing at Dunn's Deli and Lone Star. Ok, let's see if my luck holds up in higher-end restaurants. Palais Imperial, Mangia, no problem; Stella's on Clarence...the pretty young bartender shoots me a disdainful look, but agrees to fill my humble order.
Further down the street at Mexicali Rosa's I divulge my ploy to the guy behind the bar. "Nobody would refuse to give a glass of water", he says.
OK then, off to the heart of the market, where the farmers are selling what is left of their summer crops...and maple syrup. On my way, I stop at Zak's Diner, it's crowded, I make my way to the counter... the glass of iced water I am given is as big as the portions patrons are wolfing down.
Inside the main market building, I head for Oh-Ya Cafe,a busy little mediteranean grill; the glass is washed and handed to me with ice.
I finally hit Beaver Tails and Lois-and-Frima's food stands at the corner of William; yes and yes. "Hey, this is Ottawa, we're friendly folks" says the kid at Lois when informed of my quest.
Well there you go. A perfect score. 15 out of 15 minus the no cup guy. Worse cup of water? Subway; really tepid. Tallest and coldest glass? Palais Royal.
I decide to head down east on Rideau, wondering if it's my mild-mannered air of respectability that is a factor here. Would glasses of water be offered so willingly to the homeless ? I find Tom where he usually is, between the Liquor Store and Loeb's supermarket.
"If you went into a restaurant and asked for a glass of water, would they give you one?"I ask him.
"It's against the law not to, he says."They can't refuse you a glass of water or the use of their washrooms. I would not say this if I didn't know"
I don't know ...after searching the Web, all I know is that it is against the law in Arizona to refuse a glass of water. So maybe, folks are just nice up here in boring old Ottawa. Nice to know.