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Dows Lake

Water World: Ways to Cool Down in the Capital

A couple kayaks down the Rideau Canal. Photo © Ottawa Tourism

When the summer sun is out in full force and temperatures soar, sometimes you need more than air conditioning to cool you down. Fortunately, Ottawa is replete with fun ways to chill out. From beaches to rafting to waterslides, here are some of the best ways to get wet in the capital.

 

Mooney’s Bay during HOPE Volleyball Summerfest

LIFE’S A BEACH
We may not be a coastal city, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have beaches. A plethora of lakes and the seemingly unending coastline of our rivers provide Ottawans with many a swimming hole. Mooney’s Bay on the east shore of the Rideau River is one of the most popular. Its sandy shores and rows of beach volleyball courts draw throngs of sun seekers all summer. It’s even the site of the largest one-day recreational volleyball event in the world — the HOPE Volleyball Summerfest. Britannia Beach on the Ottawa River in the city’s west end is another gem. Its close proximity to the Britannia Yacht Club makes it great for both swimming and boat-watching. Lake-filled Gatineau Park also offers plenty of swimming beaches. O’Brien and Blanchet Beaches on Meech Lake, Breton and Parent Beaches at Lac Philippe, and La Pêche Beach at La Pêche Lake are all open to the public and staffed with lifeguards during the summer. For a full list of local beaches and their rules and regulations, visit www.ottawa.ca and www.canadascapital.gc.ca.

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Fitness on the Go:
3 Places to Get Your Workout on in Ottawa

When you’re travelling, it’s easy for your fitness regime to slip up.  All of a sudden you’re no longer hitting the gym – and all the eating out and afternoon drinks start to add up. Luckily for you, Ottawa has no shortage of fitness options, so we’ve rounded up three great ones with drop-in rates that will get you moving. By Erin Morawetz. (more…)

Al fresco Dining in Ottawa

When the sun is out, all we want is a good patio. Here are four picks for enjoying a meal in the great outdoors.

The Courtyard Restaurant is known for their charming patio

Courtyard Restaurant
Their haute-cuisine menu brings class to the outdoors. Tucked away from the bustle of the street, their cobblestone patio is one of the city’s most beautiful outdoor dining spots. 21 George St. (ByWard Market), 613-241-1516. www.courtyardrestaurant.com

Malone’s Lakeside Grill
Said to be the best perch for a view of Dow’s Lake, their panoramic patio has an outdoor bar and covered seating area. The signature baked wraps are a must-have summer treat. 1001 Queen Elizabeth Dr. (Dow’s Lake Pavilion), 613-567-2254. www.malonesgrill.ca

Murray Street
You won’t be thirsty for long with more than a hundred items on their drink menu. Try the gourmet poutine. 110 Murray St. (ByWard Market), 613-562-7244. www.murraystreet.ca

Pancho Villa
Rumoured to have some of the best fajitas in town, their sangria is also wildly popular and a must-have during patio season. Especially popular on weekend evenings. 361 Elgin St. (Downtown), 613-234-8872.

Fit Fun in Ottawa!

A roundup of the best outdoor fitness excursions the city has to offer.
By Misa Kobayashi

Yoga on Parliament Hill

EASY WAY TO INNER PEACE
Yoga lovers will adore the mega sessions that take place on Parliament Hill during summer. Led by instructors from the athletic apparel store lululemon athletica, these fabulously fun (and free!) classes attract all fitness levels and are a great way to get some much-needed sunshine while enjoying the historic scenery on Parliament Hill. Gather your friends or family, or go it solo, and join the more than 200 people who participate each week. Try it out for yourself on Wednesdays from noon to 1pm (regular classes begin in June, though may start earlier depending on the weather, see www.lululemon.com/ottawa/rideaucentre for details).

The Rideau Canal. Photo credit: NCC/CCN.

REMARKABLE RUNNING ROUTES
One of the most popular places for walking, jogging, and biking is along the Rideau Canal. This man-made waterway is centrally located, offering up a route in the middle of the city that’s bordered by plenty of greenery. Check out the Rideau Canal Western Pathway and the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway. Both offer 8 kilometres of flat paved terrain that go into the downtown core. The former offers views of Queen Elizabeth Driveway and access to the National Arts Centre, while the latter runs along Colonel By Drive with access to Hartwell Locks and Mooney’s Bay Park and Beach. For more information see www.canadascapital.gc.ca/biking.

Cycling past Parliament Hill. Photo credit: Ottawa Tourism.

LIKE TO BIKE
Starting May 22, tons of people will hop on their bikes or strap on their rollerblades for Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bikedays. This annual event takes place every Sunday until September and allows people to run, walk, blade, and bike without worrying about traffic, as more than 50 kilometres of scenic parkways are closed to cars for the morning. Popular routes include the Ottawa River Parkway (5.5 kilometres) and Rockcliffe Parkway (8.4 kilometres). This is just one way to experience Ottawa on wheels, but throughout the year you can also enjoy more than 220 kilometres of recreational pathways, as Ottawa is home to one of North America’s largest networks of cycling paths that link parks, gardens, museums, and other local attractions. If you didn’t bring your bike with you, check out RentABike (www.rentabike.ca) for downtown rentals. (more…)

Ottawa on a Budget

Where Ottawa intern Dana Carman does a day in the city with just $30 and a sense of adventure.

In a town with a large population of students (and their visiting friends), lavish galas, gourmet restaurants, and pricey festival tickets can run a little deep in the linings of your pockets. But what is there in the capital for the purse-string-clasping visitor? Come with me on a day to see the best of Ottawa for under $30. Seriously. (more…)