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.
HOPE Volleyball Summerfest
On Saturday, thousands of volleyball players and spectators will descend upon the beaches of Mooney’s Bay to bump, smash, and dig their way to v-ball glory during HOPE Volleyball Summerfest. This action-packed fundraiser (HOPE raises money for charities such as the Children’s Wish Foundation and the Canadian Diabetes Association) is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is throwing a suitably large party, with crowd-pumping performances from Mother Mother, Treble Charger, and Ill Scarlett.
Mooney’s Bay Beach, 2960 Riverside Dr., 613-742-4673 www.hopehelps.com
Tobogganing is the perfect family outing.
Now that there’s finally snow on the ground, grab a sled and hit one of these three popular tobogganing hills.
1. Mooney’s Bay Park
2960 Riverside Dr.
Gradual slopes and a high peak make this a favourite for families. Be mindful of trees and lampposts.
2. Arboretum/Central Experimental Farm
Prince of Wales Drive
Great views and a long, fast hill make this a go-to, but be careful of the trees and other potential obstacles.
3. Conroy Pit
Conroy Road, south of Hunt Club Road
This large, steep hill is lit from 4pm to 11pm, making it fun for late night outings. It’s an official toboggan hill, but be forewarned, it’s also popular as a dog park.