BY AMY ALLEN
It’s hard to believe, but summer is almost over. Make the most of these last weeks with a day trip to one of Ottawa’s surrounding attractions. Here, we’ve rounded up four of our top picks.
Upper Canada Village
Take a trip back in time to 1860s Ontario! Located in Morrisburg, an hour south of Ottawa, Upper Canada Village is comprised of historical buildings that include working mills, a blacksmith, a bakery, a cabinetmaker, a tavern, a chapel, and a hotel. Actors clad in period costumes wander the village to get you even more immersed in the experience. Take a guided tour of the village (you can even do it in costume, if you like), hop on a horse drawn wagon ride, or cruise down the village canal on a tow scow, a special barge powered by horses. At the family activity centre, you can get some hands-on experience in writing with a quill, carding wool, sewing a pin cushion, and more. Open daily, 9.30am to 5pm. •13740 County Rd. 2, Morrisburg, 1-800-437-2233, uppercanadavillage.com
A thriving textiles centre along the banks of the Mississippi River, Almonte is steeped in history and heritage. Stroll its streets to take in beautiful architecture, or stop in at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum to learn about the town’s rich history. Nearby, the Mill of Kintail Conservation Area offers ample opportunity to escape in nature — you can hike its many trails or sit and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Fun fact: Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, was born in Almonte. Drop by the Naismith Museum on the grounds of the Mill of Kintail Conservation Area to learn more about his life and contributions to sports. Located 45 minutes west of Ottawa.
Get up close and personal with Canadian wildlife on this 15-kilometre roadway that winds through more than 1,500 acres of woodland. From wild turkeys and bison, to caribou and Arctic foxes, to black bears and moose, you’ll get the chance to see animals native to various parts of the country. You can buy a bag of carrots before you set off on your journey to feed the animals en-route. Just remember to keep your hands inside your vehicle at all times! If you’d rather take in the wildlife on foot, the park has three walking trails — two that take you among herds of deer, and a raised boardwalk through bear country.
•399, route 323 North, Montebello, 819-423-5487, parcomega.ca
Located along the Rideau River just an hour southwest of Ottawa, Merrickville gives visitors a true taste of Victoriana. With stunning architecture, a plethora of gorgeous antiques and art, and a host of cozy bed and breakfasts, it’s an ideal place for a day trip or a weekend getaway. During Canal Season, which runs until Canadian Thanksgiving, you can stop by the Blockhouse Museum to learn about the defense of the Rideau Canal in the 1800s. In September and October, the Merrickville Artists Guild Studio Tour gives insight into the working process of more than 30 artists from the area. A variety of outdoor adventures, such as canoeing and kayaking, can be enjoyed on the Rideau River.