• eat
  • shop
  • see
  • go
  • stay
  • daytrip
  • map
  • calendar
  • transport
  • weather
  • currency
  • tofrom

rideau canal

WINTERLUDE Roundup: Your guide to Winterlude’s Second Weekend

BY ADELLE FARRELLY

 

Skating on the Rideau Canal

This Winterlude learn to skate on the Rideau Canal with professional instructors. (Photo: NCC)

Winterlude Weekend: Friday, February 8
Ready for a fun, and free (!), Winterlude activity to delight snow lovers of all ages? Head over to Jacques Cartier Park for a day of kicksledding.What the heck is a kicksled? Well, its name pretty much gives it away — a sled, with a chair on it, that you kick to get moving. It’s a thrill for the child perched up top and for the one doing the kicking!

See what else is happening during Winterlude this weekend »

(more…)

Four Best Places to See the Fall Colours in and around Ottawa

When summer turns to autumn, few places on earth see as spectacular a transformation as Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. Here are just a few of our favourite spots to see the changing fall foliage in all its red, green, yellow, and orange glory.

Fall Rhapsody in Gatineau Park. Photo © National Capital Commission

GATINEAU PARK
Slip on your hiking shoes, pack a picnic lunch, and get ready for one stunning nature walk. Hundreds of kilometres of footpaths wind their way through 361 square kilometres of unspoiled land, making Gatineau Park the ideal way to spend a day outdoors. For those who prefer to travel on two wheels, much of the park is also bike-friendly. Several points offer awe-inspiring views — stop and catch your breath at Étienne-Brûlé Lookout, Eardley Escarpment, or the Mackenzie King Estate. Be sure to grab a map from the park’s visitor centre in Old Chelsea before you go. After something a little more organized? The National Capital Commission also offers free educational programs with Fall Rhapsody. 613-239-5000; 819-827-2020, www.gatineaupark.ca

 

Changing leaves along the Rideau Canal. Photo © Ottawa Tourism

RIDEAU CANAL
Though it may be best known for being the world’s largest skating rink in winter, this Ottawa landmark serves a purpose year-round. In autumn, the trees that line the Rideau Canal turn vibrant colours, providing a beautiful backdrop for anyone walking, jogging, or biking along the historic waterway. For an active afternoon, nature lovers can rent a bike and spend the day cycling beside the canal. If you’d prefer to be right on the water, consider a boat cruise, or paddle yourself around on a kayak. 613-239-5000, www.canadascapital.gc.ca

 

The Dominion Arboretum.

THE DOMINION ARBORETUM
Where better to observe beautiful greenery than at a site that’s devoted to it? Over 2,400 varieties of trees and shrubs (some of which date back as far as 1889) on 26 hectares of land can be found at the Arboretum. Two lookout points — one on the southeast side and another at the northeast end — offer gorgeous views of the Rideau Canal and Dows Lake, respectively. Located right in the middle of the city (on the grounds of the Central Experimental Farm), it’s the perfect place to see fantastic fall leaves without leaving town. Experimental Farm Dr., www.friendsofthefarm.ca

 

Autumn at Mont Tremblant. Photo © Louis Prud’homme

MONT TREMBLANT
It’s a bit of a drive from Ottawa (about two to two and a half hours), but the stunning views at this popular Quebec resort are well worth the travel time. Through the fall, the snow-free ski hills and surrounding forests make a dramatic transformation. Take a gondola ride to the top of the summit to experience one of the most breathtaking sights in the region. While you’re at the resort, check out the bevy of fall activities on offer. If you’re looking to stay the night, Tremblant offers plenty of accommodations right in the pedestrian village. Mont Tremblant, Quebec, 866-356-2233, www.tremblant.ca

 

Hot Dates: Rideau Canal Festival

Aug. 3 to 6

Rideau Canal Festival

The Rideau Canal is one of Ottawa’s most recognizable landmarks, as well as one of the most historically significant features of our city. The Rideau Canal Festival celebrates the 180th anniversary of this wonderful waterway with activities for the whole family along the length of the canal, from the Ottawa Locks and the Bytown Museum to Dow’s Lake Pavilion. Catch a parade of lights, a crafter’s market, walking tours, a flotilla, and lots more, plus food trucks, wine and beer, and live entertainment. The party also honours the 5th anniversary of the canal’s UNESCO World Heritage designation.

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for August 3 to 6

Friday, August 3

The Rideau Canal

Happy birthday, Rideau Canal! The Ottawa landmark is turning 180 this year (and also celebrating the fifth anniversary of its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the city is celebrating with the Rideau Canal Festival. Join in on the free activities, including live bands, street performers, a parade of lights, fireworks, and the Festival Flotilla, where boats are decorated and paraded down the canal. Friday to Monday.

Centretown Movies hosts the annual outdoor film festival in Dundonald Park. Bring your blankets and anything you need to get comfy outside, and watch a great film on a screen under the stars. Friday is the classic film The Birdcage, featuring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams, and Saturday is Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.

Head down to the Sparks Street Mall for the 21st Annual International Busker Festival. The fest features over 40 performances by entertainers from across Canada and all over the world; they will shock and amaze you. Bring a stash of toonies and loonies and give them up for your favourite performers. Thursday to Monday.

Saturday, August 4

Fireworks at the Casino du Lac-Leamy

The Casino du Lac-Leamy’s 17th edition of Sound of Light is an international pyromusical showcasing the talents of some of the best fireworks experts from around the world. Teams from four countries (plus the casino’s grand finale) display their skills, synchronized with an original soundtrack, over five nights of competition. Saturday features a team from France.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Five New Features Along the Rideau Canal

Photo: Ottawa Tourism

Need another reason to visit the Rideau Canal this summer? How about five. The National Capital Commission has implemented five exciting new features along the canal, providing visitors with even more to enjoy along the shorelines.

All features can be found between the Government of Canada Conference Centre and Bronson Avenue, and will be in place until this fall.

CAPITAL READING GARDEN
Located south of the Corktown Footbridge, the Capital Reading Garden was inspired by the Bryant Park Reading Room in New York City. The space offers seating, tables, umbrellas, Wi-Fi access and some reading material for the public one weekend per month from June through September.

POP-UP PATIOS
This one is for the foodies. A gourmet food truck offering a variety of cuisine can be found along the esplanade on the east side of the Rideau Canal along Colonel By Drive in front of the Ottawa Convention Centre. Every Thursday through Sunday from June to October, grab some grub and chow down on the accompanying pop-up patio.

RIDEAU BEACH & 8 LOCKS FLAT
Inspired by the temporary urban beach along the Seine in Paris, 8 Locks Flat is a temporary, contained beach and patio located on the east side of the Canal, just north of the Corktown Footbridge. Visitors can enjoy soft sand, beach chairs and umbrella rental, plus uniquely Canadian food and beverage offerings. The beach is scheduled to open sometime this weekend and will be open daily through October.

ICECO LTD. ICE CREAM PUSH CARTS
When the weather’s hot, few things are more cooling than ice cream. Four ice cream push carts can be found in popular locations along the Rideau Canal between Laurier Avenue and Dow’s Lake. Open daily throughout the summer.

DECORATED BIKE RIDE
This one-day event will be held on September 2 during Sunday Bikedays. Perfect for families, the event sees riders decorate their bikes and then participate in a community ride. Over the next three years, the project plans to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest decorated bike ride.

 

For more information, contact the NCC at 1-800-465-1867, or visit the www.canadascapital.gc.ca

Hot Dining: Patio Season

Le Café at the National Arts Centre offers great views of the Rideau Canal.

The sun is shining. The drinks are cold. All you need is a patio. Try one of these popular outdoor dining spots.

Canal Ritz
375 Queen Elizabeth Dr. (Glebe)
613-238-8998
www.canalritz.com

The Courtyard
21 George St. (ByWard Market)
613-241-1516
www.courtyardrestaurant.com

Murray St. Charcuterie
110 Murray St. (ByWard Market)
613-562-7244
www.murraystreet.ca

Pancho Villa
361 Elgin St. (Downtown)
613-234-8872

Le Café
53 Elgin St. (National Arts Centre)
613-594-5127
www.lecafe.ca

Hot Dining: Where to See Skaters on the Rideau Canal

We round up the best spots to grab a bite with the added enjoyment of watching skaters on the Rideau Canal.

Skaters take a snack break at the BeaverTails counter.

BeaverTail Shacks
Located on the Rideau Canal Skateway, you can skate up to the window, order one of these delicious Canadian treats, and grab a spot on a picnic bench without ever leaving the ice. Be honest: isn’t one of the main reasons you go skating here to have a BeaverTail and a hot chocolate after?
Several locations along the Rideau Canal. www.beavertailsinc.com

Canal Ritz
This Italian restaurant boasts one of the most scenic views of the canal and is located right near one of the entrances to the skateway, so after you’re done your meal it’s easy to lace up your skates and join in on the fun. Rather watch? Snag a seat by the big windows and curl up with a specialty coffee.
375 Queen Elizabeth Dr. (at Fifth Avenue), 613-238-8998. www.canalritz.com

Canal Oak
Part of the Royal Oak Pubs chain, this unique two-storey location is situated near the Pretoria Bridge, which crosses over the canal. Order a pint, relax by the fire, and enjoy some colourful people watching. It’s also a top spot to head after you’ve traversed the ice and need to refuel.
221 Echo Dr., 613- 234-3700. www.royaloakpubs.com

Winterlude: A Canadian Tradition

Skating on the Rideau Canal is an essential Ottawa experience. Photo credit: NCC.

From Feb. 3 to 20, Ottawa transforms into a winter wonderland. This annual festival offers an abundance of indoor and outdoor activities, so we’ve rounded up some of the highlights from this classic Canadian event. By Misa Kobayashi. (more…)

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…)

Q&A with The Good Lovelies on their Christmas Tour

Get your fill of holiday music with The Good Lovelies.

This Canadian folk group takes the stage at Shenkman Arts Centre on Dec. 13 as part of their special Christmas tour. Where Ottawa editor Misa Kobayashi caught up with The Good Lovelies in advance of their local show to find out about their travel essentials, where they love to eat when they’re in Ottawa, and more.

What’s your favourite activity to do on the road?
Well, we bought some skipping ropes about a year ago. When we get restless, we get out of the car and jump rope for a few minutes. Invariably, we make friends with any young girls that happen to be around. They join in without asking. It’s a way more fun version of the elementary school playground! And we love eating in new places, checking out the local cuisine. Recently we had some incredible Indian food in Northern Ontario in Bruce Mines. Go figure! (more…)

Fantastic Fall

When summer turns to autumn, few places on earth see as spectacular a transformation as Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. Here are just a few of our favourite spots to see the changing fall foliage in all its red, green, and orange glory. By Kristin Braginetz.

Lovely views abound at Gatineau Park. Photo credit: Ottawa Tourism.

GATINEAU PARK
Slip on your hiking shoes, pack a picnic lunch, and get ready for one stunning nature walk. Hundreds of kilometres of old Indian footpaths wind their way through 361 square kilometres of unspoiled land, making Gatineau Park the ideal way to spend a day outdoors. For those who prefer to travel on two wheels, much of the park is also bike-friendly. Several points offer awe-inspiring views — stop and catch your breath at Étienne-Brûlé Lookout, Eardley Escarpment, or the Mackenzie King Estate. Be sure to grab a map from the park’s visitor centre in Old Chelsea before you go. 613-239-5000; 819-827-2020, www.gatineaupark.ca.

RIDEAU CANAL
Though it may be best known for being the world’s largest skating rink in winter, this Ottawa landmark serves a purpose year-round. In autumn, the trees that line the Rideau Canal turn vibrant colours, providing a beautiful backdrop for anyone walking, jogging, or biking along the historic waterway. For an active afternoon, nature lovers can rent a bike (see “Outdoor Adventures & Sports” on p.64 for a couple options) and spend the day cycling the length of the canal. If you’d prefer to be right on the water, consider a boat cruise, or paddle yourself around on a kayak. 613-239-5000, www.canadascapital.gc.ca. (more…)