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Where to Go Ottawa

Ottawa’s Best Patios

By Chris Lackner

Find your place in the sun. Our guide to Ottawa’s best patios covers your best bets for sun, suds, sangria, vino and vitamin D.

The Social patio in the ByWard Market's Clarendon Court. Courtesy: Ottawa Tourism.

The Social patio in the ByWard Market’s Clarendon Court. Courtesy: Ottawa Tourism.

ByWard Market

Clarendon Court: Secluded and cobblestone, its four restaurant patios feel European; discover the magic behind the shops on Sussex Drive, between George and York Streets, including spots like The Social and Courtyard Restaurant. (The Social537 Sussex Dr., Courtyard Restaurant: 21 George St.)

Earl of Sussex Pub: The best sun and sud combo in the market. 431 Sussex Dr.

La Terrasse: This open-air, summer restaurant offers stunning views of the Rideau Canal and Parliament. Their extensive wine and cocktail list pair well with the sun. Try a “Colonel By” Mojito. He would have wanted it that way. Located in Fairmont Chateau Laurier, even the sunbeams feel more elegant at this seasonal patio. 1 Rideau St.

Earl of Sussex patio.

Earl of Sussex patio.

The Highlander Pub: A place to people watch with eyes on the market’s pedestrian traffic. 115 Rideau St.

Cornerstone Bar and Grill: This market hotspot is a place to be seen. 92 Clarence St.

Murray Street: This leafy patio screams romance. And the charcuterie, cheese boards and wine list will only help matters. 110 Murray St.

Métropolitain Brasserie: Steps away from the Chateau Laurier and Parliament. Grab a table or an outdoor sofa. 700 Sussex Dr.

La Terrasse patio at Chateau Laurier. Courtesy Ottawa Tourism.

La Terrasse patio at Chateau Laurier. Courtesy Ottawa Tourism.

Elgin and Sparks Streets

D’Arcy McGee’s: Spot Ottawa’s who’s who at this upscale watering hole named after a Father of Confederation44 Sparks St.

Fox and Feather: Terrific topside patio with a bird’s-eye view of the bustling Elgin strip. 283 Elgin St.

Pancho Villa: Pancho’s margaritas, daiquiris, sangrias and pina coladas are as big in size as they are in flavour. It might not be Cancún, but close your eyes on the sunny patio and it will feel mighty close. 361 Elgin St.

Pancho Villa's patio.

Pancho Villa’s patio.

The Glebe

Feleena’s Mexican Cantina: Sangria, anyone? 742 Bank St.

Irene’s Pub: Discover the hidden courtyard patio at this live music hotspot. 885 Bank St.

Little Italy

Pub Italia: Ireland enjoys a bit of Italy’s sun. 434 Preston St.

Pub Italia patio.

Pub Italia patio.


Tennessy Willems: Small but sublime. Come for the pizza, stay for the sunshine. 1082 Wellington St W.

Churchills: P is for patio… and Public House. 356 Richmond Rd.

Water View

Canal Ritz patio on the Rideau Canal.

Canal Ritz patio on the Rideau Canal.

Dow’s Lake: Three restaurant patios overlook the lake’s busy birds and boaters. Choose your own adventure between Malone’s Lakeside Grill, Baja Grill and Lago1001 Queen Elizabeth Dr.

Canal Ritz: This classy canal-side gem is boat traffic central. 375 Queen Elizabeth Dr.

Mill Street Brew Pub: Located near the Canadian War Museum on LeBreton Flats, this historic gristmill turned brewpub is also the perfect stop along the Ottawa River bike path. 555 Wellington St. 

Insider’s Scoop: Gold Rush! at Canadian Museum of History

By Chris Lackner

The Gold Rush! has come to Ottawa.

Haida box by Bill Reid, 1971. Courtesy Royal BC Museum and Archives.

Haida box by Bill Reid, 1971. Courtesy Royal BC Museum and Archives.

While you can’t get rich, you can check out the shiny new exhibit, Gold Rush! El Dorado in British Columbia, at the Canadian Museum of History, April 8 to January 2017.

For an Insider’s Scoop, we talked to John Willis, curator of economic history at the museum:

Q: What will surprise visitors about this exhibit?

A: The fact that such a gold rush, of massive proportions, occurred in Canada, on its West Coast, 50 years before the Klondike.

The fact that some were willing to travel so far in order to get the gold: some trekked overland the entire distance from (central) Canada; others came thousands of miles from Europe, China, and elsewhere in Eastern Canada (the Maritimes for example).

The distances that have to be travelled within B.C. on terrain that is both rugged and spectacular (this comes out in the videos) this will surprise and impress visitors.

The fact that one could make a living not by prospecting for gold but by selling to and living off those mining the gold.


This photo depicts the main street of Barkerville just before the 1868 fire that destroyed the town. Courtesy of the Royal BC Museum and Archives.

Q. Why is this exhibit important? 

A: First, it establishes the importance of the 1858 and 1862 gold rushes in the making of modern B.C. history. The era transformed indigenous societies and overturned the traditional fur economy of the Hudson Bay Company. In its wake came a new type of society devoted to exploiting land, natural resources, farmland; fostering trade and building cities. Through this exhibition the society of B.C. is trying to come to terms with its history. This includes the admission tragic errors made in the past vis-à-vis indigenous nations.

Second, the exhibit shows the importance of the larger Pacific sphere to the making of B.C. history especially in the gold rush era. What happened in California, Australia and Hong Kong had considerable bearing on how B.C. got roped into this gold rush economy.

Third, the exhibit touches on the quirks of human behaviour in a gold-rush setting. Men and women (but mainly men) travel by the tens of thousands to one destination or another intending to make it rich quick by mining the gold.  They are carried away by an enthusiasm for the riches promised by gold.  Men suffer from gold fever that sets them on a path to the gold fields, however distant. That path was referred in the newspaper of the day as a “highway to insanity.” As a collective mania, the psychology of gold fever does resemble the kind of up and down and sometimes foolish human behaviour associated with the stock market.

Wheel and flumes at the Davies claim on William’s Creek, 1867. Courtesy of the Royal BC Museum and Archives.

Wheel and flumes at the Davies claim on William’s Creek, 1867.
Courtesy of the Royal BC Museum and Archives.

Q: What are your favourite aspects of, or artifacts from, the exhibition?

A. I enjoy seeing the life size version of the B.C. Express company stagecoach that dates from the era and was used on the Cariboo Road. The vehicle is in excellent shape, it was lovingly restored in the late 1980s.  And it can’t help but conjure up images of the old west.  coachThe freight saddle or aparejo positioned in a display window opposite the stage coach belonged to a local hero, French-born Jean Caux, nicknamed Cataline.  It is interesting for it reminds us of the challenges of getting freight into and out of the rugged and mountainous B. C. interior.

There is an explicit recognition of things Chinese: a picture of Hong Kong harbour full of ships circa 1860, and later in the exhibition a display of exquisite Chinese artifacts (fan, game pieces, pipe, mud-treated silk garments, shoes etc.).

Turnagain Nugget is the largest existing gold nugget ever found in British Columbia: it weighs 1,642 grams (52 troy onces) and is approximately 4.2 cm high, 18.1 cm wide and 9.2 cm deep. Courtesy of the Royal BC Museum and Archive.

Turnagain Nugget is the largest existing gold nugget ever found in British Columbia: it weighs 1,642 grams (52 troy onces) and is approximately 4.2 cm high, 18.1 cm wide and 9.2 cm deep. Courtesy of the Royal BC Museum and Archive.

A huge and engaging painting,  Slim Jim or the Parson Takes the Pot,  shows a group of men playing a gambling game of cards. A probable con-man disguised as a priest has surprised his fellow players by winning the hand. The picture reminds us that all forms of gambling were popular in gold-rush communities, where there were men (only) and money a plenty.

The painting is so big that the box in which it came barely fits, height-wise, in the corridor of our museum

Finally the Pemberton dress, a beautiful silk-dress, with its budding hoop skirt and delicate engagements (frills that go up the sleeves), which dates from the B.C. gold-rush era, reminds us that women were present in this society — as entrepreneurs, supporters of culture, as instigators of all kinds of business and community activities. The theme is well carried in the book by New Perspectives on the Gold Rush; as well as in the exhibition catalogue: Gold Rush! El Dorado in British Columbia.

Ottawa Beer Guide: The National Capital Region’s Breweries and Brew Pubs



Ottawa Brewery: Beyond The Pale‘s brewmaster Shane Clark walks past a pint of Pink Fuzz, their grapefruit wheat beer that has become one of their best sellers (Photo: Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio)

Here are just a few of the growing number of spots in Ottawa that brew beer and serve food. Sounds like the perfect business plan.

OTTAWA BREW PUB: Ashton Brewing Company
Art Hodgins is well versed when it comes to Ottawa’s drinking scene. He currently owns Quinn’s and Patty’s Pub and has owned a number of other watering holes in the past. The Old Mill at Ashton, about 30 minutes west of Ottawa, is his first foray into brewing, though. Colloquially known as the Ashton Brew Pub, the quaint English-style pub pumps out a number of brews, which are made on-site and served at the bar. The Vanilla Stout and HopStravaganza are worthwhile choices. They also sell growlers, so you can enjoy their beer at home.
• The Old Mill at Ashton, 113 Old Mill Rd., Ashton, 613-257-4423, ashtonbrewpub.ca
Map and reviews (more…)

The Quantic Landscape at Atrium Gallery


The Quantic Landscape, an exhibit by Denis Larouche, is on display at Atrium Gallery until Oct. 23

Denis Larouche brings science and art together in his latest art exhibit The Quantic Landscape at Atrium Gallery. By observing that all matter manifests from the same elements, the Gatineau artist borrows from the laws of physics to work with space and shapes, demonstrating the relation between objects that on the surface seem so different. Larouche also includes the quantic equations that inspired his paintings on each individual work. The Quantic Landscape runs until Oct. 23 at Atrium Gallery.
• Atrium Gallery, 101 Centrepointe Dr., 613-596-5783, ottawa.ca/arts
Map and reviews

Downtown Ottawa Guide: Where to Eat, Drink and Shop on Elgin Street



Aerial view of Elgin Street in downtown Ottawa.

Elgin Street, in downtown Ottawa, is one of the busiest streets in the city throughout the year. There are plenty of hotspots along this bustling strip, but we uncover some of the hidden gems that locals have come to love.


2013 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival Expands, Lineup Full of Surprises



2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival: Wayne Shorter brings his quartet to this year’s Ottawa Jazz Festival

The TD Ottawa Jazz Festival continues to be a joyful surprise.

The annual foray into jazz and surrounding genres has become one of the biggest draws during Ottawa’s festival season. In recent years, heralded performers such as Esperanza Spalding, Elvis Costello, and Branford Marsalis have headlined. If they repeated this format for 2013 — a lineup of big name, genre-defying artists and top-notch jazz musicians — the jazz festival would have received the same type of enthusiasm it’s experienced in previous years. Not one eyelash would have been batted, not one complaint filed. This year, though, they’ve decided to expand their boundaries, adding a brand new series that will take place in a stellar venue.

TD Ottawa Jazz Festival 2013 teaser from Adam Hughes


Ottawa Music Guide: Top 10 Ottawa Venues For Live Music



Ottawa Music Venues: Rich Aucoin gets up close with the crowd at Café Dekcuf (Photo: Ming Wu)

OTTAWA MUSIC VENUES: Babylon Nightclub
This Ottawa music venue in the city’s Centretown neighbourhood is home to artists of all kinds, showcasing hip hop groups one night and indie rockers the next. These days, the focus tends to more be on DJs and dance parties. That’s not a bad thing because there’s plenty of room for dancing, but also lots of comfy seating for those who enjoy catching up with friends. See what’s on this week by clicking here.
• Babylon Nightclub, 317 Bank St., 613-594-0003, babylonclub.ca
Map and Reviews


Ottawa’s Arts Court a Hotbed of Culture


Arts Court in Ottawa’s downtown houses the city’s most eclectic arts groups. (Photo: Gabriel Hébert)

Built in 1871, Ottawa’s Arts Court has a vibrant past and remains a lively presence in the city’s downtown. It currently houses 26 independent arts organizations, including the Ottawa Art Gallery and SAW Gallery. Frequently hosting performances, exhibitions, and special events, Arts Court also offers multi-purpose spaces for rent, suitable for a
number of artistic presentations. This May, check out A Company of Fools’ presentation of White Rabbit, Red Rabbit (on until May 25) in the Library of the Arts Court.

2 Daly Ave., 613-564-7240. www.artscourtottawa.ca
Maps and review

Ottawa Easter Weekend Calendar for March 28 to 31


Ottawa Weekend Calendar: The Wooden Sky will light up the stage at The Blacksheep Inn!

Need some excitement this holiday long weekend? The Ottawa Weekend Calendar lines up your best bets to keep you busy.

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Thursday, March 28

Escape from the daily grind and get into the groove with Terry Gillespie, the King of Roots music. This seasoned musician draws influences from reggae, jazz, blues and African music, and has played alongside musical greats the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, and John Lee Hooker. Launching his new album Bluesoul at the National Arts Centre, Gillespie will take you on a captivating musical ride.

The Wooden Sky is on a roll! This Toronto-based band is fresh off of winning Folk/Roots Group of the Year at the Independent Music Awards, and was recently nominated for a Juno Award for Folk Record of the Year. They’re now embarking on a special tour, where they’ll be playing old favourites and new material for an upcoming record! Kick-off the long weekend with a road trip and see what all the hype is about at The Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield.

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Friday, March 29

Round up the flock and bring the whole family to the Canada Agriculture Museum for some Easter fun! From Friday to Monday, Easter on the Farm brings some cute, fluffy newborn chicks, rabbits, and lambs to the Museum. Visitors will have a chance to make and taste traditional Easter breads (and bring the recipes home)! And what would an Easter weekend be without scouring for chocolate? Scavenger hunts for your little lambs will have them scrambling to find chocolate treats.


Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Visit furry friends and celebrate Easter on the Farm at the Canada Agriculture Museum

If you’re not travelling this weekend, take a virtual road trip down the Trans-Canada Highway! Road Trip at the Currency Museum puts the Bank of Canada behind the wheel of a macro-economic bus and transports you through time, exploring economic troubles and times of stability. The bus makes its last stop this Sunday as the exhibit wraps up.

Using classical and minimalist aesthetic elements, Sigur Rós rouses emotion in audiences worldwide. The group’s ability to generate such a large fan base is remarkable since they sing only in Icelandic and their own collection of sounds, which they call “vonlenska,” or “Hopelandic.” Promoting their new album Kveikur, set to drop in June 2013, Sigur Rós performs new material at the Scotiabank Place accompanied by an 11-piece live band.

Saturday, March 30

Cajun! Soul! Rock and roll! All of these styles contribute to the powerful, distinctive sound produced by quintessential American band The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Almost forty years ago, lead singer and harmonica player Kim Wilson founded the group as a straight blues band. Muddy Waters is known to have called Wilson his favourite vocalist and harmonica player. Worth bragging about! Today, the sound of this five-piece band has evolved into a high-energy incorporation of a number of different styles. With their new album On the Verge, this blues-rock band is making a stop in Ottawa at Centrepointe Theatre.

Take a closer look at the people who have shaped the history of our nation. The Canadian Museum of Civilization presents their most recent exhibition, Double Take: Portraits of Intriguing Canadians, featuring 59 Canadian personalities whose actions have had a lasting impact on our country. The exhibition will have you seeing these individuals in a new light as photographs, paintings, and artifacts unearth tales ranging from assumed identity, exploitation and scandal, invention, discovery, and glorious achievement.

Are you a man with discerning taste? Are you in need a fresh look for spring? The Berdy Elegance Fashion Show at the Ottawa Convention Centre this weekend will suit you up from head to toe. Berdy Elegance Tailoring has created fine clothing since 2008, and offers the highest quality of customs suits and shirts at affordable prices. With more than 100 fabric swatches and catalogues on site, a stop at this show will ensure that you’re the most fashionable fellow in town.

Sunday, March 31


Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Take in some lively images of spring at the Kanata Civic Art Gallery

If spring can’t come soon enough for you, you may benefit from a dose of Spring Song. This free exhibit at the Kanata Civic Art Gallery features artists old and new to the Gallery. Vivid images of gardens in full bloom, vibrant sunsets, melting snow, and returning birds will fill you with joy for the season to come.

Feeling a bit full after a weekend of Easter indulgence? Strap on your dancing shoes and head down to Mercury Lounge to dance off that chocolate! Ottawa’s own Berekete Afrobeat Band, a 15-piece multicultural groove machine will be rocking the house with their eclectic mix of jazz, funk, psychedelic rock, and West African-style percussion.


Ottawa Weekend Calendar for March 22 to 24



Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Prepare for spring at the Home & Garden show.

Not sure what to do this weekend? The Ottawa Weekend Calendar has got you covered.

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Friday, March 22
Get lost in Don McCullin’s first solo exhibit in Canada at the National Gallery of Canada, featuring 134 striking black and white photos. From violent scenes of war to serene landscapes, Don McCullin: A Retrospective highlights the wide variety of images this British photojournalist has captured. A screening of his feature documentary McCullin will air Thursday, March 21 at 6 p.m.

Sick of the cold and snow? A trip to the Ottawa Home and Garden Show at the Ernst and Young Centre this weekend will ease that winter angst. Get excited about spring as you browse discounted products and learn from guest experts, such as HGTV’s Bryan Baeumler who’s presentation (1 p.m., Saturday, March 23) is all about home renovations.

Raise your glass for A Toast to the Ladies! Hosted by the School of Photographic Arts: Ottawa, this gala features a photography exhibit, raffle prizes, wine, beer, hors d’oeuvres, and live music from Bluesfest favourite The Love Machine. All proceeds are going to Ottawa’s Youville Centre to help young mothers and children.

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Saturday, March 23

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: See flowers in full bloom at the Museum of Nature.

Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet are creating sparks together as Whitehorse. Married since 2006, the duo have come together professionally, putting their successful solo careers aside. They play the National Arts Centre with Daniel Romano, who previously fronted beloved band Attack In Black.

What’s better than Easter chocolate? Easter chocolate a week early! Guylaine from L’Artisan du Dessert will be leading young chefs through the process of making and decorating chocolate eggs. In preparation for the holiday, bring your little chocolatiers over to the Museum of Civilization for this creative children’s workshop!

Spring is in full bloom at the Museum of Nature. Ikebana: Horizon, exhibited annually at the Museum, showcases the disciplined art form of Japanese floral design, which emphasizes shape, line, and form. Join in demonstrations to learn the styles of the Sogetsu and Ohara schools of Ikebana.

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Sunday, March 24

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: The Maple Sugar Festival wraps up March 24.

A great way to wind down after a hectic weekend, Music for a Sunday Afternoon begins at 2 p.m. at the National Art Gallery. Guest musicians perform a number of classical pieces by Schubert, Chopin, and George Crumb on the flute, cello, and piano.

The Maple Sugar Festival at the Sugar Shack draws to a close today with activities for the whole family. Bring your appetite for brunch and Maple Sugar desserts. Feeling lucky? Try your hand at Bingo. For the adrenaline junkies, The Maple Race and the Strongmen Show will leave you short of breath!


Ottawa Weekend Calendar for March 15 to 17


Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Absurd Person Singular runs until March 23rd at The Gladstone.

Wondering what to get up to this weekend in Ottawa? Let our Ottawa Weekend Calendar be your guide.

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Friday, March 15

This St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Ottawa VERSeFest has enlisted Irish poets Matthew Sweeney (of County Donegal) and Rita Ann Higgins (of County Galway) to engage you with their prose. Join them at Knox Presbyterian Church as they rhyme off readings from their collections.

Christmas is quickly becoming a distant memory, but Absurd Person Singular, a 1972 play by Alan Ayckbourn, takes you on a journey to Christmases past. Documenting the changing fortunes of three married couples over three consecutive Christmas parties, this play reminds us what a difference a year makes. On stage at The Gladstone.

Has the drab snow and dirt got you down? You may benefit from an artistic pick me up! Until March 28th, the Galerie Old Chelsea is playing host to John Hiscock’s new series Sublime Light. Viewing this bold series of landscape watercolours is sure to remind you of nature’s beauty.

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Saturday, March 16

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade will have Ottawa seeing green. Kicking off at 11 a.m., the parade will wind its way through city streets via Laurier, Bank, and Wellington. And the party won’t stop there. Following the parade, the 2013 Parade Party at St. Brigid’s Centre offers food and drink.

A prominent young front-runner in the contemporary jazz community, Laila Biali is bringing her talent to the National Arts Centre. Biali borrows from multiple styles, ranging from pop to classical, weaving them into her own unique arrangements.

Did you know that the sun has sunspots? Canada Science and Technology Museum‘s solar telescopes make solar observing a reality. Leave your sunglasses at home and head to the Helen Sawyer Hogg Observatory to safely observe the sun to see for yourself!

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Sunday, March 17

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Bring your sweet tooth to the Ottawa Maple Sugar Fest

The nine-day annual Ottawa Maple Sugar Fest gets underway today with brunch hosted by the Knights of Columbus. The week has a number of activities in store including sleigh rides, a petting zoo, soup cook-offs, and a lumberjack challenge. Bring your sweet tooth and your appetite for what’s sure to be a tasty time.

It’s the final day of Barnyard Break! at the Canada Agriculture Museum. Ease your kids back into school with this day of fun and learning. There will be reading and crafts, cooking classes, and visits with barnyard animals.

On Tour in Ottawa: Half Moon Run Play Zaphod Beeblebrox


Half Moon Run play Zaphod Beeblebrox on March 9.

Half Moon Run on are on the rise.

The Montreal-based band — with members originally from Ottawa and Comox, British Columbia — released their debut album Dark Eyes last year to rave reviews.

The album immediately charted on Canadian lists, and they became that new “buzz band” people were talking about at festivals. This led to a frenzied 32 shows in 32 nights across Europe — a pace that continues for the trio.

Half Moon Run are currently on a headlining tour that comes through Ottawa on March 9 at Zaphod Beeblebrox in the ByWard Market. The show is technically sold out, so here’s to hoping you already grabbed a ticket or that they’ll open up some tickets at the door. It will be worth it, as this is an opportunity to see them in an intimate setting before they get pushed into bigger venues sooner than later.

Haven’t had a chance to hear Half Moon Run’s debut album? Well, you can stream the whole record below!