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Ottawa

Hot Drink Hot Spots

By Joseph Mathieu

These aren’t your grandma’s coffee shops. Although she’ll probably like them too. Here’s a quick roundup of some of the more unique and fun spots to warm up as the spring slowly comes around.

 Photo by Laura Jasmine

The Vanitea Room

The gilded mirrors, regal chandeliers and plush chairs make every visit to The Vanitea Room an opulent affair. The atmosphere is Victorian flair with a modern twist, epitomized by a large flowery mural. The salon serves afternoon tea five days a week, with a dazzling array of over 150 teas from around the world. Teatime isn’t complete without their elegant three-tier serving tray teeming with edible delights, from macarons to panna cotta. They also offer breakfast, lunch, and tea parties for kids, as well as an all-day brunch (bubbly, anyone?) with savoury meals like eggs benedict or French toast and sweet goods like scones and cakes baked in-house. 551 Somerset St. W., thevanitearoom.com

Sutherland

Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this hybrid cafe is quite versatile: appealing to those looking for a casual space, one area has a cozy nook, a wall bench, and a pastry case full of freshly baked goods, while the remaining space is dedicated to the dining room where Ottawa-renowned chef, Warren Sutherland, serves up his eclectic take on South American, Asian, and Caribbean dishes. For lunch, try the eggs of North Africa, served with a chickpea stew, and the smoked salmon toast makes for a hearty breakfast. They serve many hot drinks, but their Jamaicano is the surest way kick start a drowsy day: made with steamed milk and two espresso shots sweetened by an ounce of condensed milk. 224 Beechwood Ave., sutherlandrestaurant.com

Feline Café

A great way to enjoy a coconut oil-infused bulletproof coffee or a matcha latte is with the companionship of rescued cats. The Feline Café has three separate sections: the entrance with a barn-board wood counter from which to order, another filled with cubbyholes and scratching posts for cats to play with the public, and a third just for cats to sleep or hide. There are on average six cats at the café, and every single one is available for adoption. A bulletin board displays all adopted cats that went on to their forever home from here. The café supports the foster operation, so feel good about ordering an organic tea, a vegan-friendly dishes like the jackfruit taco rice bowl, or any baked goods from several of local bakeries. You can bring food into the public cat lounge, but keep the kitties from taking nibbles! 1076 Wellington St. W., felinecafeottawa.com

Dreamland Café

This Italian food counter feels like a little oasis with its cloud-like lamps and wispy hints of pink, purple, and yellow. Though it specializes in homemade pizza and pasta, Dreamland is always creating new syrup-based coffees and teas to go or enjoy at their window bar. They have familiar flavours like mint cocoa latte and a classic matcha, and those looking for a health boost should try their hot lattes made with beetroot or turmeric — both root-based drinks are high in antioxidants. Run by two local sisters, their amazing sauces, like pancetta pesto and shrimp lemon garlic, are based on their grandmother’s recipes. 200 Laurier Ave. W., dreamlandcafe.ca

The Ministry of Coffee

This duo of coffeehouses are both built to be cozy and chic, with wood-wrapped espresso bars and several two-seat tables. Elgin’s spot is intimate and low-key while Hintonburg’s is more spacious and communal. The latter is known as The Ministry of Coffee and Social Affairs because of its liquor license, later hours, and events, concerts, and fundraisers. Both aim to serve the best coffees from around the world, and to showcase some of the finest Canadian roasters. They regularly feature coffees from the likes of Burlington’s Detour Coffee Roasters, Calgary’s Phil & Sebastian, and Anchored Coffee from Nova Scotia. 297 Elgin St. & 1013 Wellington St. W., theministryofcoffee.com

A post shared by blumenstudio (@blumenstudio) on

blumenstudio

This friendly café and flower shop feels like a private greenhouse, with a myriad of shelves and tables covered in plants. It’s owned by a second-generation flower aficionado from Dresden, Germany, and managed by Klaus, her mini schnauzer mix (seen napping, above). The owner changes her floral wares each season, but her yummy coffees remain consistent. Every espresso is made with a certified organic and fair-trade coffee bean blend that’s roasted with green technology. The studio serves a great Americano with only one or two ounces of water, and claims to be the first in Ottawa to pour cortados: half espresso, half steamed milk. On top of selling planters and cut flowers, the shop also hosts floral arrangement workshops such as making succulent gardens and seasonal bouquets. 465 Parkdale Ave., blumenstudio.ca

 

Between a Rock and a Cold Place — Ottawa’s Rock & Ice Climbing

By Sam Chilton

Who says this time of year is just about hibernation or hitting the slopes? Rock climbing is a great way to stay active and have a blast in the colder months. The region is home to three comprehensive indoor rock-climbing gyms and a wealth of frozen cliffs for every level of climber. Whether you wish to harness the wild in wilderness, or tackle standing puzzles safe from sub-zero temperatures, Ottawa-Gatineau can rock your world.

Photo and featured photo: Kristina Corre

Coyote Rock Gym

Coyote is Ottawa’s oldest climbing gym and a go-to for beginners and advanced climbers alike. Housing an impressive array of climbing walls and programs for adults and youth, it also has five areas dedicated to bouldering — short, artificial rock walls where one can focus on technique without the aid of ropes or harnesses. 1737-B St. Laurent Blvd., coyoterockgym.ca

Vertical Reality

Vertical Reality’s walls tower 54 feet high, and features climbable edges, ceilings, and a number of overhangs. This gym focuses on intermediate to advanced top rope and lead climbing, but there are plenty of options for beginners. Hone your chops on the “Moonboard,” a universal training wall set at a 40-degree angle, with an accompanying app and website that allows users from all over the world to climb and train on the same problems. 161 Middle St., Victoria Island, verticalreal.com

Photo: Marc Fowler – Metropolis Studio

Altitude Gym

This gym operates two locations, each with themed climbing routes, a day camp for kids, and an emphasis on family fun. The Gatineau location has something for everyone: 100 different climbing routes up to 45 feet high and 2,000 square feet of bouldering. It sports Willy Wonka-inspired walls, ladders, ropes, and aerial installments for soaring across and above the gym, Tarzan-style.

Altitude’s Kanata location is a brand new bouldering oasis with a stretch of walls specifically designed with kids and beginners in mind, and one for advanced climbers running parallel. “Ninja Warrior,” a parkour-style obstacle course, features foam fixtures, nets, monkey bars, and swinging platforms. 35 Saint-Raymond Blvd., Gatineau &  501 Palladium Dr., Kanata, altitudegym.ca

Photo: iStock-Slmonker

Ice Climbing

For true thrill-seekers, the Ottawa region also offers a number of breathtaking destinations for ice climbing. Just north of Ottawa are 64 spots across the Eardley Escarpment, forming the south-western boundary line of Gatineau Park. This includes the 100-metre stretch of Luskville Falls, which is transformed into a dense, climbable expanse come winter. South-west of Ottawa, Calabogie possesses a handful of favourites — cliffs boasting ice consistently two to three meters thick, and a swathe dubbed “The Green Fang,” the steepest and most dependable ice in the area.

Access to many of these areas is limited due to the dangerous nature of the sport. It goes without saying (or it should) that this is incredibly weather dependent. Knowledgeable guides curate training opportunities and weekend excursions from the Ottawa chapter of the Alpine Club of Canada. alpineclubottawa.ca

Neat Spots for Gin, Vodka & Rum

By Katie Shapiro

Gin, vodka, and rum may not commonly be enjoyed on their own, but with the consumption of premium spirits on the rise in Canada, that seems to be changing. But what makes a spirit achieve “top-shelf” status anyway? There are no strict standards or benchmarks, but premium spirits should be sippable, made from quality ingredients, and full of flavour. These spirits aren’t meant to be thrown down your throat; they’re silky and bold and they stand alone. (Oh, and premium doesn’t have to mean unaffordable.)

Gin

Stephen Flood Riviera

Stephen Flood had a vision — and 20 years of bartending experience — when he set up the bar at Riviera. “I wanted us to be a gin bar, because this,” he waves to the high ceilings, long gold bar, and sleek light fixtures, “is such a period thing, and gin is the most elegant of all the spirits.”

Flood also posits that gin is the most interesting of all spirits. With few requirements, other than that juniper must be the predominant flavour, the ingredients list can vary widely.

While the long drinks list at Riviera includes many options, it really is a gin bar: there are 25 European gins and 11 North American varieties on offer.

A favourite of Flood’s is Sacred Gin by Sacred Microdistillery, which features 11 botanicals including juniper, cardamom, and citrus. This unique mixture results in a very balanced, creamy gin.

In contrast, Flood suggests the Californian St. George Terroir, made with Douglas fir, California bay laurel, and coastal sage, invoking a real sense of place. Flood likes to engage folks at the bar to pick the perfect gin for one of the “holy trinity” of gin cocktails — a martini, a negroni, or a gin and tonic.

Vodka

Alex Yugin Avant Garde Bar

It should come as no surprise that this Soviet-themed bar — complete with propaganda art posters on the walls and borscht on the menu — boasts a fine vodka list with many Russian vodkas.

Since vodka can be made from just about any organic base material (potatoes, fruits, or grains), Yugin says that the best ones will use a quality base ingredient and the purest water available. Most sophisticated vodkas will be distilled more than once and filtered, often through charcoal, to remove any impurities.

When it comes to choosing a sipping vodka, Yugin, who is from St. Petersburg, singles out Zubrowka Bison Vodka from Poland.

Distilled from rye, Zubrowka is flavoured with a tincture of bison grass, which gives it a distinct herbaceous character along with a faint yellow hue. Each bottle contains one long blade of the grass, which is traditionally harvested in northeastern Poland. With notes of coconut, dill, and vanilla, this spirit totally dismantles the myth that vodka is flavourless and boring. Yugin serves Zubrowka in an icy glass and recommends enjoying sips of premium vodka in between, and — why not? — nibbles of crunchy pickles.

Rum

Julia Hussien and Zach Smith Salt

Though admittedly more of a bourbon bar, Salt’s rum selection is nothing to sneeze at. The Preston Street restaurant offers an assortment of white and brown rums (the latter are darkened by extra aging).

Salt’s bartenders advise that a good rum should be semi-sweet (it is a sugarcane spirit, after all) and will usually feature warming spices — think cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg. To enjoy simply, Hussien likes to serve it over ice with a little brown sugar; Smith suggests ice and a hint of lime juice to brighten the spirit.

Though rum cocktails might transport you to the Caribbean, Smith calls autumn and winter “rum-sipping season.”

For newcomers to rum-sipping, the bartenders suggest Flor de Caña Centenario 12, from Nicaragua, or Brugal 1888, from the Dominican Republic; the former is aged 12 years in American oak barrels (which previously held whisky and bourbon), while the latter is aged in American oak before being finished in Spanish oak sherry casks. Both are smooth, buttery, and slightly toasty with notes of caramel and baked apple; the Flor de Caña offers notes of vanilla and spice, while the Brugal has a hint of smokiness.

Three New & Notable Ottawa Restaurants

By Joseph Mathieu

It seems like every time you turn around a new restaurant pops up in Ottawa. We aren’t talking about franchises, but unique eateries with their own personality. The newest additions to the city’s food scene are beautiful, interesting, and far from a flash in the pan. Here is a roundup of new and notable restaurants that opened in 2017.

The Albion Rooms’ Heritage Room

33 Nicholas St., 613-760-4771, thealbionrooms.com

Open every day 11 a.m. to late

An often-overlooked gem is hidden in plain sight at the base of the Novotel on Nicholas Street. The lounge chairs and low tables visible from the hotel lobby are only the tip of the iceberg of The Albion Rooms, which includes a polished bar with standing tables, a glass-walled charcuterie station, and a dining room. The restaurant’s newest addition is hidden in the back, called the Heritage Room and themed like a British gastro-pub. Its rounded booths, cozy corners, and satellite kitchen serve up a breakfast buffet every morning, and dinners on Wednesday to Saturday. The harvest table can be the buffet display or sit a 10-person party. The restaurant’s three pillars remain craft cocktails, local beers, and a farm-to-table menu, all of which are well worth exploring.

Tried & True (and something new): Mushrooms on toast ($14) and elk tartare ($15) are nice additions by head chef Jesse Bell, but you really should try the charcuterie board (from $10)

Photo by André Rozon

Sur-Lie

110 Murray St., 613-562-7244, surlierestaurant.ca

Open 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m to 11 p.m.

If you have an interest in locally-inspired modern French cuisine, this is the place for you. Opened last February, sommelier Neil Gowe’s Sur-Lie offers elegant fine dining without the pretension. If you want to eat like the pros, try their $80 five-course tasting menu — and don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. The menu is seasonal, made with fresh produce and game from the ByWard Market and the surrounding region, and always aims to bring in the best quality ingredients. Each plate is a piece of art that you are welcome to remix with your fork.

Pretty much omg: Local rabbit and fowl tartine ($18) for lunch goes a long way, and dinner is a win with the squash bisque ($10) and Québec fois gras torchon ($20)

Photo by Rémi Thériault

Citizen

207 Gilmour St., 613-422-6505, townlovesyou.com/citizen

Open Thursday to Monday, from 6 p.m. to late

First-timers will feel right at home in this casual wine and small plates nook. With dedicated staff, Citizen builds on the success of its big sister Town (296 Elgin St.) but is really a restaurant apart. Its wine list features bottles from around the world that pair well with menu items from all over the map — influences range from African to Spanish, and Italian to French. Something new (and meatless) by guest chef Mike Frank shows up on every Monday menu. Co-owner and chef Marc Doiron is comfortable creating new dishes for new wines, and the suggested dessert is a wonderful case in point. There are no beers on tap, but it’s hard to notice with such a generous selection of bottled beer from near and far. 

Love at first taste: Falafel and eggplant ($14) or the pork belly with mojito salad ($18), and definitely go for the concord grape tart ($12)

The 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Everyone has their own idea of the perfect holiday. Some like to cook up a storm, others head for the hills. And then there are those for whom holidays mean dressing up and hitting every fabulous party. No matter how you like to wile away the time, our holiday gift guide has you covered.

Party Time

Diamond Earrings at Howard Fine Jewellers, 220 Sparks St.

Sparkle like a red-carpet star with these stunning dangle earrings, which feature round and yellow enhanced diamonds. $19,500.

Dirty Jokes at Stomping Ground, 728 Bank St.

Take your cocktail party banter to a new level with this collection of adult jokes. $11

Ace Face Shoes at John Fluevog Shoes, 61 William St.

These fancy lace-up derbys by the celebrated Canadian designer will ensure that you step out in style. $349.

Appliqué Minaudière Purse at Nordstrom50 Rideau St.

Add texture and shine to an evening outfit with this pint-sized purse. $169.

Silk Ties at E.R. Fisher199 Richmond Rd.

Dion neckwear has been making high-quality silk ties ($95-$135) and pocket rounds ($65) out of Toronto for 40 years.

Cook

Cheese Board at Boogie & Birdie, 256 Elgin St.

Show your national pride with this made-in-Canada bamboo cheese board. $106.

Reusable Bags at terra201304 Wellington St. W.

Be a wise owl and use these cute reusable bags, which come in a package of two. $15.

Japanese Blade at Knifewear, 800 Bank St.

The Mugen Santoku is a multi-purpose knife perfect for slicing, dicing, and mincing vegetables. $500.

Wood Finish at Maker House Company, 987 Wellington St. W.

Enhance and protect your wooden utensils and cutting boards with this all-natural beeswax product. $8.

Food Storage at The Chef’s Paradise1314 Bank St.

This alternative to plastic wrap uses the heat of your hand to create a seal. $30.

Play

Mountaineering Board Game by Family Pastimes

Watch for avalanches, overcome frostbite, and grapple with other challenges in this cooperative, locally-made board game. $21.

Poop Coaster at Maker House Company, 987 Wellington St. W.

This coaster protects furniture — and lets guests know you’re not that uptight. $22. 

Good Gorilla at The Modern Shop, 541 Sussex Dr.

Hanno the gorilla can hold poses and hook onto furniture, bringing a touch of fun to any space. $150.

Snoopy Backpack at Simons, 50 Rideau St.

This Peanuts backpack by Vans features a padded back and adjustable strap. $45.

Phone Case at Boogie & Birdie, 256 Elgin St.

Is it mixed tape or mix tape? Regardless, transform your iPhone into an icon with this throwback case. $36.

Cozy Up

Earmuffs at the Hudson’s Bay Company50 Rideau St.

These faux fur earmuffs from the Canadian Olympic Team Collection feature a cozy knit headband. Also available in red. $30.

Box of Chocolates by Bernard Callebaut314 Richmond Rd.

This collection features handcrafted chocolates, five of which are award winners. $24.

Grand Teapot at Le Creuset517 Sussex Dr.

This teapot has a capacity of four cups — so your reading (or Netflix-binging) time won’t be interrupted by the need to put the kettle on. $60.

Canadian Club 40 YO at the LCBO, various locations

Toast Canada’s 150th with limited-edition Canadian Club Whisky that has been aged for 40 years. $250. 

Wool Blanket at The Opinicon1697 Chaffeys Lock Rd.

Handmade in Canada, this 100 per cent virgin wool blanket is the same one that graces the beds at the historical Opinicon Resort. $195.

Explore

Weatherproof Pad at Lee Valley, 900 Morisson Dr.

The Rite in the Rain notebook will not absorb water, nor will it curl or wrinkle. $9.50.

Craft Beer at the LCBO, various locations

Get adventurous with your tastebuds with beer from Ontario’s Collective Arts and Flying Monkeys. About $3.

Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket at Bushtukah, 203 Richmond Rd.

This lightweight down winter jacket is ideal for when the temperatures drop and weight is a concern. $350.

Eton Grundig Executive Satellite Radio at MEC, 366 Richmond Rd.

This device receives AM, FM, long and shortwave, VHF, marine, and HAM signals. $200.

The Bripe at Equator Coffee Roasters, 412 Churchill Ave. N.

You don’t want to lug a coffee pot to the great outdoors but need a caffeine fix. This copper apparatus and its kit allows the user to brew up an espresso in just a few minutes. $99.

A Taste of Ottawa: The Capital’s Signature Dishes

BeaverTails, shawarma, poutine, perhaps pho. The capital isn’t lacking for acclaimed fast-food options. But stop for a minute and take your taste imaginings to a higher plane. What restaurant dishes are Ottawa classics?

These are unique to a particular dining room, and beloved by legions of fans who extol their virtues far and wide. Signature dishes might be innovative and complex, but they could just as easily be simple. Nevertheless, they have two things in common: they’re instantly cherished and nearly impossible for the chef to remove from the menu.

Any debate over a definitive list could last well into the night, so we’ll just start here with six picks.

Les Fougères’ Duck Confit

783 rte. 105, Chelsea, Quebec, 819-827-8942, fougeres.com

Chef Charles Part’s duck confit is legendary. Little wonder, since the chef-owner has been refining it for upwards of two decades. It boasts a skin that’s deliciously crisp, and the accompanying potato galette is always perfection.

Benny’s Bistro Salmon Gravlax

119 Murray St., 613-789-6797, frenchbaker.ca/reservations

Benny’s Bistro has been serving up “French fast food done right” for years. Its house-made salmon gravlax is a thing of beauty, with an oozy sunny-side-up egg, a warm fingerling potato salad, and olive tapenade on the side.

Mariposa Farm’s Foie Gras

6468 County Road 17, Plantagenet, 613-673-5881, mariposa-duck.on.ca

This farm’s ethical farming practices produce tons of delightful goodies, but none quite as delicious (or coveted) as the duck foie gras.

The SmoQue Shack’s BBQ Chicken

129 York St., 613-789-4245, smoqueshack.com

There’s barbecue and there’s the way chicken’s done in Kentucky: a spicy rub, a sugar and honey brine, and an apple wood smoke. The SmoQue Shack’s secret sauce? A bourbon glaze with hints of vanilla.

Absinthe’s Steak Frites

1208 Wellington St. W., 613-761-1138, absinthecafe.ca

Absinthe sees a large and devoted following for chef-owner Patrick Garland’s steak frites. Its marinated hanger steak paired with hot fries is a don’t-you-dare-take-it-off-the-menu staple.

Allium’s Banoffee Pie

87 Holland Ave., 613-792-1313, alliumrestaurant.com

This yummy pie has a graham cracker crust filled with layers of creamy toffee, sliced banana, and heaps of whipped cream, all topped with chocolate shavings.

Bytown’s Best Beers

By Matt Harrison

It’s a golden age of sorts. Golden suds that is. Awash in beer, the capital’s not quite drowning but rather happily drifting along in a frothy sea of microbrews. Last count finds the area home to at least two-dozen breweries and growing.

Not confined to area pubs and bars, the breweries themselves have become tourist destinations such as Beau’s Oktoberfest in September (less chance of snow!), or Les Brasseurs du Temps, a beautiful stone brewery located in Hull’s former waterworks building with patios overlooking — fittingly — Brewery Creek, an arm of the Ottawa River.

What’s driving this industry? The answer is found in the hardworking brewmasters who pride themselves in being natural and authentic. But to stand out, you also have to be a little quirky (the Broadhead team brags about giving up shaving for its craft) or take a mad-scientist approach to experimenting (an Earl Grey Marmalade Saison anyone?), or get creative with naming beers (Bog WaterPink FuzzHeller Highwater).

We asked some of the city’s top brewers to talk about what makes this city’s suds scene so great.

Father-son team, Tim and Steve Beauchesne of Beau’s Brewery. Photo courtesy of Beau’s.

Beau’s Brewing Co. (Since 2006)
Steve Beauchesne, co-founder, and CEO

What makes your brewery unique?
Our close-knit family and friends, company culture, and each of the beers we brew.

What is your favourite beer?
Bog Water. It started us on a path of experimentation, and has spawned so many interesting projects. When we decided to brew a Gruit beer [brewed with herbs other than hops], I don’t think we fully realized how much it would impact our brewery. Now with a full-time Gruit program, and as originators of International Gruit Day, it is something that many brewers [worldwide] look to us as experts on.

Les Brasseurs du Temps (Since 2009)
Alain Geoffroy, president

What makes your brewery unique?
BDT is the first craft brewery established on the Quebec side of the Outaouais. It is literally a temple of beer brewing more than 35 different types of beer [always 17 fresh beers on the menu], located in a heritage centennial building and featuring a self-guided beer museum.

What are your most underrated and favourite beers?
Underrated: L’Allumante is our nut brown ale. Despite the fact that it is our second best-selling beer [OK, not really underrated!], it remains, to my point of view, one of the best American-style nut brown ales you can find: a subtle nutty flavour sustained by a long and smooth bitterness. Favourite: La Framboyante, our raspberry pale ale. Fruit beers tend to be oversweet to my taste. La Framboyante has a perfect balance of bitterness [like biting into the raspberry seed] and sweetness of the fruit.

Brewery Kichesippi Beer Co. (Since 2010)
Paul Meek, co-owner and president

What makes your brewery unique?
Our commitment to brewing rare global styles and making them available to our customers. Logger (Pennsylvania Porter), Wuchak UK (British IPA), Donny’s Dort (Dortmunder), Phoenix and the Cat (Rauchbier), and Dartmouth Common (Steam Beer) are all great examples of [our] hard-to-find global styles.

What are your most underrated and favourite beers?
Underrated: Probably our Kichesippi Logger. The style is a Penn Porter, which was a style created by Yuengling in the U.S. It is a not a traditional British Porter or Baltic Porter as it uses a lager yeast instead of an ale yeast. Favourite: Our Kichesippi 1855. The great thing about this beer is that it teaches the customer that the colour of the beer is not directly related to its flavour. When you try this amber ale with your eyes closed, you would never guess that it’s a darker beer in the glass.

Laura Behzadi, co-owner of Bicycle Craft Brewery.

Bicycle Craft Brewery (Since 2014)
Laura Behzadi, co-owner

What makes your brewery unique?
We pride ourselves on sourcing local ingredients when available and our passion for craft beer ensures that our beer is delicious every time it’s poured. We are also avid supporters of women in the brewing industry and celebrate International Women’s Day every year with Freedom Machine, our cherry pale ale that’s named after the suffragette name for the bicycle.

What are your most underrated and favourite beers?
Underrated: Vinternat Liquorice Stout. The added raw liquorice root gives the beer a crisp finish that cools the mouth and is very thirst-quenching and refreshing. Most people are surprised when they try it. Favourite: Velocipede IPA. It’s our flagship beer and is inspired by the original name for the bicycle. Hoppy, with citrus notes and a refreshing bitterness — it’s perfect any time of year.

Whiprsnapr Brewing Co. (Since 2014)
Ian McMartin, founder, co-owner, head brewer

What makes your brewery unique?
We have a baby system (150L) and a big system (2000L). The baby system allows us to play a lot and have lots of different beers on tap, while the big guy lets us get our beers into the LCBO and The Beer Stores. We also have a great front-of-house area [for] events.

What are your most underrated and favourite beers?
Underrated: Our Carol Anne Irish blonde ale. There’s just so much flavour in it for such a light, easy drinking beer [4.7 percent]. It’s got a lot of body from wheat and honey malts, and loads of hops give it a real spring-like aroma. Favourite: Our ginger coriander cream ale. It’s based on some of the travel I used to do to China, Malaysia, and Singapore, and the flavours they use in their foods: ginger, coriander, lemon, and honey. The beer is light, crisp, bright, vibrant, packed with flavour, but still balanced.

Canadiana Shopping in the Capital

By Nicole Bayes-Fleming and Chris Lackner

You can visit Canada’s capital, and take a small piece of the country home with you. Loosen your patriotic purse strings at the following shops and boutiques.

 

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Patriotic Payment

Spend like a true Canadian with coins made in honour of the country’s 150th celebration. The Royal Canadian Mint has unveiled a collection of coins designed by Canadian artists, featuring national imagery such as the CN Tower, the beaver, and First Nations artwork. The toonie’s depiction of two canoeists gazing upon the northern lights also comes in a glow-in-the-dark version. Check your change, or purchase the limited editions designs at the Mint.

320 Sussex Dr., 613-993-8990

Sizzling Souvenirs

Kitschy souvenirs are easy to find in Ottawa. Ditch those maple syrup bottles and Mountie key chains for something from Maker House Co. The handmade items retain Canadian sentimentality, while supporting local artisans. You’ll find gear by North Standard Trading Post, bookmarks made of birch bark, and prints of different Canadian cities and provinces.

987 Wellington St. W., 613-422-6253

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First Nations’ Art

This purveyor of genuine First Nations’ fine arts and crafts from the Arctic and Canada’s West Coast has been a fixture on Sparks Street since 1963. At Snow Goose you’ll find original works of art, including soapstone carvings and masks, along with a large selection of dreamcatchers, original Inuit prints and carvings, Indigenous jewellery designs, and leather goods.

83 Sparks St., 613-232-2213

Wrap Yourself in the Flag

Victoire: Mainly Canadian designers, plus pop-culture accessories in a store aesthetic self-described as, “Rock ’n’ Roll tea party”.

Ottawa_Necklace (1)

Magpie Jewellery: The majority of their accessories are Canadian, including First Nations designers. If you’re feeling really patriotic, pick up the Ottawa Necklace from local designer Lissa Bowie.

Flock Boutique: Unique and handmade garments from over 150 Canadian designers; also visit their sister store in the market Workshop Boutique.

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Boogie + Birdie: Feels cosy and Canadian with largely local products — from scented candles to animal mugs to artisan crafts, colourful scarves, small ceramics and one-of-a-kind jewellery.

Homegrown Gifts

J.D. Adam Kitchen Co.: Set the table with Canadian and local kitchenware at this colourful, dynamic shop in the Glebe.

Market Organics: This health food store in the ByWard market carries plenty of local goods, from body care and nutritional products to local food purveyors. Their built-in kitchen even offers daily specials.

 

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Roots: Roots is living up to its name with special merchandise for Canada’s 150th. Locations include Westboro and three shopping centres: Rideau, St. Laurent and Bayshore.

Ottawa the Bold: 2017 in the Nation’s Capital

By Joseph Mathieu

Summer in the capital always enchants, but this year will be truly spellbinding. Canada’s 150th birthday finds Ottawa exploding with red and white, cascading with culture and embracing the extraordinary. Artists and performers from afar will highlight their cultures while celebrating their ties with Canada, the downtown core will ignite with fiery, fantastical beasts completing a quest, and a rift in the space-time continuum will be discovered and explored underground. We are talking about an Ottawa awash in magic, wonder and revelry — a city breaking with tradition and showing off just what it can do. Why not? You only turn 150 once, right?

Kontinuum: An Underground Journey Through Time

Kontinuum (July 16 to Sept. 14)
This free, interactive, immersive experience built around the construction of the new light-rail train system in Ottawa is the brainchild of Moment Factory, the wizards behind more than 400 multi-media productions around the world. The company is proud “to tell stories in unusual environments,” says MF’s Marie-Claire Lynn. The Lyon Street transit station is a case in point. Kontinuum centres on city workers finding a “breach” in the space-time continuum while digging to erect the station. This tear in reality allows visitors to experience alternate dimensions and invisible frequencies – auditory, visual and vibrational. Guests traverse three floors of architectural anomalies and life-like panoramic projections, and have the opportunity to visualize their own, unique “frequency,” which then becomes part of Kontinuum’s ever-evolving visual and auditory DNA.

La Machine’s Long-Ma & La Princesse

La Machine (July 27-30)
Get ready for the streets, buildings, and trees of downtown Ottawa to become a stage for two towering beasts. “The Spirit of the Dragon-Horse, With Stolen Wings” stars a 20-metre-long spider named La Princesse and a 12-metre-high horse-dragon named Long-Ma. With skin and features of sculpted wood, the massive pair’s mechanical guts and skeletons of steel move with the help of 33 operators. The monumental, four-day play will be the first North American performance by La Machine, a French production company based in Nantes. “Every driver has one role, one function and all together [they] make the machines emotive as well as mobile,” says La Machine’s Frédette Lampé. “The link between the operators and the machines is not dissimilar to that of a marionnettiste to its marionette, but we call them architecture in movement.”

Inspiration Village on York Street

Ottawa Welcomes the World (March until December) lives up to its name. All year long, the capital’s embassies and high commissions are marking their country’s national celebrations at the Aberdeen Pavilion and the Horticulture Building in Lansdowne Park. Enjoy music, food and art from around the world — but no jet lag. For programming, visit Ottawa2017.ca. Meanwhile, Inspiration Village on York Street (May 20 until Sept. 4) is home to 20 sea containers converted into a multi-use space featuring 880 hours of programming. You’ll discover special exhibits, live performances showcasing our provinces and territories, and activities for kids such as a costume photo booth, and photo cutouts of popular Canadian animals.

Ottawa Welcomes the World

Ottawa Welcomes the World

The International Pavilion (June 27 to Dec. 8)
A new building at 7 Clarence Street welcomes various countries, including summer hosts like Germany, Ireland and Belgium to will showcase their culture and traditions, and promotes their ties to Canada. With inspiring stories from immigrants and ex-pats, examples of partnerships leading to innovation, interactive presentations, and dynamic storytelling, the pavilion will serve as a enjoyable way to see how other countries perceive our own. For programming, visit the National Capital Commission site.

Terre Mère at MOSAÏCANADA 150

MOSAÏCANADA 150 (June 30 to Oct. 15)
Mosaïculture is the intersection of tapestry and topiary, the latter of which is the pruning of hedges into recognizable shapes. In other words, it’s all about creating living artwork with plants. For 107 days, Jacques-Cartier Park will host the biggest horticultural event in Canada, with MOSAÏCANADA 150/Gatineau 2017. The free exhibit’s themes will reflect on 150 years of history, values, culture and arts in Canada through some 40 different organic wonders.

Insider’s Scoop: The Epic Canadian History Hall

By Joseph Mathieu

This Canada Day, a new permanent addition to the Canadian Museum of History will mark a turning point in the way our country tells stories. The Canadian History Hall, a project five years in the making, will unveil three new galleries showcasing the unsung, much-loved, and even hard-to-swallow aspects of Canada. Described as the largest and most comprehensive exhibition on Canadian history, President and CEO of the Museum Mark O’Neill said the institution hopes that, “Canadians will come away with a new understanding of who we are today and with a new appreciation of the debt we owe to those who came before us.”

On July 1, stroll down the Passageway with mirrored silhouettes of 101 familiar Canadian symbols into the nexus of the  Hall. Inside a giant rotunda called the Hub, visitors will find themselves on a massive map of the country, all 10 million square kilometres of it — a perfect launching pad to learn new things about the land we know as Canada.

The Passageway into the Canadian History Hall. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

The Passageway into the Canadian History Hall. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

Named for the donors to the ambitious project, each of the three galleries showcases the story of Canada through multiple perspectives. The Rossy Family Gallery covers the dawn of human civilization until the year 1763. The era debuts with the Anishinabe creation story on a starry widescreen that depicts, “a view of how the world fits together, and how human beings should behave in it.”

The Anishnaabe entrance to the Rossy Family Gallery. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

The Anishnaabe entrance to the Rossy Family Gallery. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

The first gallery winds into a treasury of weapons, tools, and personal possessions that display the industry and creativity of Indigenous peoples across the continent. Alongside archaeological evidence of First Nations activity as far back as the Ice Age, there is a fossilized piece of a mammoth jaw and teeth, an intricate diorama of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta, and a game to see how every piece of the bison was used to make something useful.

Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

View from the Rossy Family Gallery. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

You can meet the ancestors of the Inuit, the Thule, who proudly wore jewellery of copper and bear teeth, as well as stone facial piercings and hairstyles that may have been used to convey status. An impressive display of facial reconstruction technology introduces the bead family of Shíshálh, four family members of high standing who lived approximately 4,000 years ago.

The differences in habits and heritage of many different Indigenous peoples is elaborated with great detail. One display compares the Indigenous names alongside the simplified traditional European names attributed to them, like the Haudenosaunee, or Five Nations Confederacy (now Six Nations), which Europeans simply called the Iroquois.

Astrolabe thought to belong to Samuel de Champlain. Canadian Museum of History, 989.56.1, IMG2017-0092-0005-Dm

Astrolabe thought to belong to Samuel de Champlain. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

The roles of Frenchman Samuel de Champlain played in the history of Canada were many. He was known as an observant chronicler, a diplomat and a soldier, and ultimately a settler whose statue on Nepean Point depicts him holding his famous astrolabe that went missing. A corner exhibition dedicated to the man known as the “Father of New France” houses an astrolabe that may or may not have belonged to him, but it was discovered along a route he is known to have travelled.

View from the Fredrik Eaton Family Gallery. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

View from the Fredrik Eaton Family Gallery. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

The second Gallery, named for the Fredrik Eaton Family, covers Colonial Canada until the eve of the First World War. Several aspects of life in Canada changed with the introduction of guns, horses, and disease, while a century-long conflict between English and French Canada raged over dominance of the fertile land. The integration of French and then British rule forever changed the lives of Indigenous peoples.

The Métis of the Northern Plain were one of the first people of mixed heritage to choose a flag: a blue banner with a white infinity loop. Some see the symbol as two peoples meeting to become one, while others identify with its message of hope that the Métis nation will never fade. There are also mentions of the growing reputation of Montreal as a world-class city, the complications with living next to the United States, and the trending fashion of hooded overcoats, known as “capots” or “canadiennes”, during the French regime.

View from Gallery 2. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

View from the Fredrik Eaton Family Gallery. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

The third gallery is the size of the other two combined, named after donors Hilary M. Weston and W. Galen Weston, and it covers the period that is currently being written: Modern Canada. From 1914 until 2017, the mezzanine overlooking the Hub has no chronology, just a diverse layout reflecting the complicated nature of Canada.

The push for independence and prosperity, the interwoven story of First Nations told in their own words, and the identity of Canada on the world stage all play major roles in the top-floor gallery. The floor is filled with memorabilia like Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope t-shirt, Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s Montréal Canadiens jersey, and Lester B. Pearson’s 1957 Nobel Peace Prize. How Quebec nationalism has shaped not only the province but the rest of the country is examined from province’s Quiet Revolution to patriotic separatism that almost bubbled over during two referenda in 1980 and 1995.

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A T-shirt worn by Terry Fox during his 1980 Marathon of Hope. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

There are painful panels to read that shine a light on the cultural suppression of Inuit and First Nations culture for many decades. One large pull quote from our founding Prime Minister John A. McDonald stands out: “Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence.” Right around the corner are the colourful and vibrant art pieces in painting and dress that only the Haida of British Columbia could design. The #IdleNoMore movement also takes a prominent display amongst the sometimes uncomfortable history of the past federal stance on Indigenous peoples and their fight for respected rights.

“The Hall is unapologetic in its exploration of Canada’s history, depicting the moments we celebrate along with the darker chapters,” said O’Neill. “Chapters that absolutely must be told if we are to offer accurate account of this country’s past.”

Visitors will find conflicting images of a country far older than its 150 years of Confederation. The main message of the extensive and sometimes controversial Hall is that Canada is a great mix of conflict, struggle, and loss while also of success, accomplishment, and hope.

Ottawa’s Tried & True Shopping

By Chris Lackner

It takes creativity, adaptability, and perseverance to remain a prominent shopping destination amid ever-shifting changes in taste, trends, and clientele. As the country turns 150, we highlight top shops in the capital that have stood the test of time and have thrived for 20 years or more.

Kaliyana

Photo: Ben Welland

Kaliyana ArtwearSince 1987

Kaliyana Artwear offers innovative clothing for women, with sizes 6 to 22 available. Their contemporary, avant-garde designs are inspired by Japanese minimalism, simple and timeless, and driven by unique cuts, textures, fabrics, colours, and prints. Think unstructured shapes with lots of pockets, asymmetric lines, and layers. Most importantly, think comfort. Also, get footloose with international footwear products, including Arche shoes from France and Trippen from Germany.

515 Sussex Dr., 613-562-3676

Howard Fine JewellersSince 1967

No diamond in the rough, this family-owned store is celebrating its 50th anniversary! For one-third of Canada’s existence, Howard Fine Jewellers & Custom Designers has showcased timeless pieces of jewellery from around the world. Its showroom is home to a wide selection of treasures by Canadian and international designers, including Hearts on Fire, Rolex, Tudor, Tacori, Jack Kelege, Jeff Cooper and Furrer Jacot. Howard also offers custom design work and on-site repairs.

220 Sparks St., 613-238-3300

The Gifted Type

Photo: Ben Welland

The Gifted Type ~ Since 1981

The Gifted Type’s products go well beyond glossy print, with an eclectic collection of cards, novelty items, children’s toys, and other small gifts. Formerly known as Mags + Fags (which first opened in the ByWard Market), they have held court on Elgin Street since 1982 — amid a sea change in tenants and residents. Sister store boogie + birdie is right next door, showcasing rare jewellery (including handmade local designers), bath and body products, fashion items, baby clothes, children’s toys, candles, and Turkish towels. 

The Gifted Type, 254 Elgin St., 613-233-9651; boogie + birdie, 256 Elgin St., 613-232-2473

Snow GooseSince 1963

This purveyor of genuine Aboriginal Canadian fine arts and crafts from the Arctic and Canada’s West Coast has been a fixture on Sparks Street since 1963. You’ll find original works of art, including soapstone carvings and masks, along with a large selection of dreamcatchers, original Inuit prints and carvings, Indigenous jewellery designs, and leather goods.

83 Sparks St., 613-232-2213

Davidson's Jewellers

Photo: Ben Welland

Davidson’s JewellersSince 1939

This Ottawa jewel started to shine when founder Eastman Davidson set up a watch and clock repair shop in the family home before opening a storefront in the Glebe. His daughter Judy carried on the family tradition, and their namesake business moved to its current location in 1964. It continues to specialize in things that are shiny, but it has also crafted a glowing reputation for business ethics, service, and quality — not to mention a penchant for giving back to the community. Shine on, you crazy diamond!

790 Bank St., 613-234-4136

J.D. AdamSince 1988

This colourful, dynamic shop in the Glebe showcases an assortment of high-quality kitchenware and home accessories from over 100 high-quality companies such as Emile Henry, KitchenAid, and Cuisinart. It also carries bakeware, tableware, garden and patio accessories, ceramics, and chef gadgets. Smaller fare — including specialty food items, candles and soaps, bottles, vases, and cookbooks — make this a prime gift destination.

795 Bank St., 613-235-8714

Ma CuisineSince 1996

“Cook with it, serve with it, eat with it, Ma Cuisine has it,” they proclaim. And with good reason. Looking for a genuine Japanese turning vegetable slicer? They have that. A butter knife that absorbs the heat from your hand, making it easier to slice through? They have that too. And good ol’ cookie sheets and roasting pans? Check. Whether conventional cook or culinary mad scientist, you’re shopping in the right place. Ma Cuisine is a kitchen supply store with more than the usual muffin tins and rolling pins.

269 Dalhousie St., 613-789-9225

Manhattan West

Photo: Ben Welland

Manhattan West ~ Since 1992

You can save your travel dollars by visiting Manhattan in Canada’s capital. The same mother-and-daughter team have brought Manhattan to Ottawa for over 20 years, showcasing unique, edgy, and exclusive fashions from around the world. The tradition began at their former market location, Manhattan Marque, and continues at their Westboro shop, Manhattan West. You can travel the world of fashion by visiting this charming boutique, where you’ll find contemporary designs from New York, L.A., Italy, France, Germany, and Denmark. A one-stop shop for everything from casual to business wear, dresses to jeans, and exclusive accessories to stylish footwear.

322 Richmond Rd, 613-695-0517

Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’sSince 1977

Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s unique collection of toys is probably the envy of Santa’s elves. Their original location opened in 1977 with the same product focus the local chain has today: well-made, creative toys that spark children’s imagination. They pledge a commitment to toys that meet a high standard for “both play and educational value” and “trusty old favourites that have stood the test of time.” Their classic products are showcased alongside new, innovative playthings. These toys are not only for the young, but also for the young at heart; a visit to Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s will make adults feel like a kid all over again. Locations include The Glebe, Bayshore Shopping Centre, Rideau Shopping Centre, Place d’Orléans Mall, and Westboro.

809 Bank St., 613-234-3836

The PaperySince 1986

This colourful store in the Glebe has been hosting a non-stop paper party for 30 years. Gift-giving is made easy with The Papery’s array of greeting and holiday cards, artistic giftware, gift wrap, tissue paper (over 50 shades), ribbons, and gift boxes. They even offer a wrapping service. Party plan with napkins and plates and seasonal decor. Life plan with calligraphy supplies, agendas, journals, envelopes, and unique, vibrant colour stock. Plan for fun with colouring books, stickers, recipe books, rubber stamps, and origami to entertain the kids.

850 Bank St., 613-230-1313

Kunstadt Sports

Photo: Ben Welland

Kunstadt SportsSince 1988

Kunstadt Sports started as a small business in Kanata run by a clan of athletes and sports enthusiasts. They even operated out of the family’s home basement! It has grown to three thriving sports-equipment stores spread across Ottawa. Given our wintery capital, it specializes in snow sports, but Kunstadt also covers other seasons with an all-star lineup of equipment — from cycling and tennis gear to running shoes. Servicing for skis, snowboards, racquets, and bikes is available on-site, and Kunstadt even sells their own brands of skis and bikes. Their employees are athletes, too, as Kunstadt commits to employing accomplished skiers, bikers, tennis players, and fitness gurus. Sounds like a game plan for success.

680 Bank St., 613-233-4820; 462 Hazeldean Rd., 613-831-2059; 1583 Bank St., 613-260-0696

Octopus BooksSince 1969

This independent bookstore has multiple tentacles. It specializes in alternative and left-wing contemporary and classic books on subjects including politics, environmentalism, feminism, health and Indigenous studies. Author readings, book launches, and community classroom nights (guest lectures, debates, and more) make this bookstore an event destination. The original location opened in 1969 before moving to the Glebe 20 years ago, and the downtown location opened in 2012.

116 Third Ave., 613-233-2589; 251 Bank St., 613-688-0752

Ottawa Pub Guide: Get Cosy in the Capital

By Emma Fischer

From the darkest winter day to the melt of spring, there are plenty of reasons to snuggle up at a fireplace and raise a pint! Feel the warm embrace of Ottawa’s cosiest pubs no matter the season:

Coasters

Coasters Seafood Grill

ELGIN

Woody’s Pub

A self-proclaimed urban pub, they’re known for their wide selection of craft beer, but that’s not all they offer! Enjoy some of their classic pub fare or more multicultural dishes in one of their two main rooms. Cosy up in the lounge with not one, but two fireplaces and several comfy booths. Beat frosty weather with a frosty pint! 

330 Elgin St.

MacLaren’s on Elgin: Much more than just Ottawa’s premier sports bar, MacLaren’s is the place to take shelter from the storm. Sip on a cocktail while you play some pool, or catch the big game on one of their 80 HD televisions. With plenty of variety both on their menus and in the bar, your game plan should involve staying here long after the final whistle blows! 

301 Elgin St.

The Manx: Known for their craft beer and gourmet pub food, The Manx also boasts an incredible Scotch selection and legendary brunch. This basement pub is a little more hidden than most, but it’s the perfect underground refuge for an after-work drink or to wind down from a long day. Pop by on Sunday and Monday nights to live local music and sing your heart out on their special karaoke nights.

370 Elgin St.

BYWARD MARKET

Lafayette

The Lafayette: Having been around for 167 years, the Laff has been serving Ottawa before it was even Ottawa. They offer affordable food, drink specials and live music with free cover, which means more money for bevvies! The Laff has expanded their pub to its original size and now boasts a comfy fireplace area. Assistant manager Deek Labelle gets the last laugh: “We do our best to make our customers feel at home and comfortable at all times. We don’t believe in charging cover – we’d rather have your bum in a warm seat, sipping on a tasty beverage.”

42 York St.

Chez Lucien: Tucked away at the edge of the ByWard Market, this quaint bar looks small from the outside, but has three levels of cosy seating inside. Exposed brick, hardwood floors and a fireplace give this place a relaxed and comfortable ambiance. Come for brunch (it opens every day at 11 a.m.) and stay for dinner. This place is a few short blocks from more conventional touristy pubs, and far more authentic. Warm up even more with their Frida and Diego burger topped with jalapeños.

137 Murray St. 

Vineyards

Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro & Coaster’s Seafood Grill: This cellar bistro and wine bar is found in a historic, 19th-century building in the ByWard Market. Directly above are two sister establishments: Fish Market Restaurant and Coaster’s Seafood Grill. At Vineyards, sample from 200 wines and 250 different beers — there is definitely something for everybody. Pair your drinks with charcuterie or a cheese board, and enjoy regular live jazz musicians (they will warm your soul). If you’re literally looking for fire, head on upstairs to Coaster’s where you can settle in by the fireplace and enjoy delicious seafood while you sip on a cocktail.

54 York St.