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2014-2015Ottawa Visitor Guide

View our Ottawa Visitor Guide online to plan your stay in Canada’s Capital region.

2014-2015 Ottawa Visitor Guide

Ottawa 2017

Let’s Go Ottawa

Welcome to the blog!


Welcome everyone! I’m Jantine Van Kregten, the Director of Communications for Ottawa Tourism and I’ve been blogging for the last few months in relative obscurity. Now the Let’s Go Ottawa blog is live on the Ottawa Tourism website.

Join me for a quirky look at Canada’s Capital Region. Learn about some of the hidden and not-so-hidden gems in Ottawa and the surrounding area. If you have suggestions or questions, let me know and I’ll try to help!

You may also be interested in following me on Twitter — @Ottawa_Tourism gives general interest tweets on what’s happening in Ottawa, while @OttawaJantine is more geared toward travel journalists.

Thanks for reading!


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Yoga on Parliament Hill


yoga-on-parliament-hill-credit-ottawa-tourismFree yoga classes each summer Wednesday outside the Centre Block of Parliament Hill.This Wednesday — June 2 — marks the first “guerilla yoga” session on Parliament Hill for 2010. This is the fourth summer that Lululemon Athletica has offered free yoga sessions on the lawn in front of Ottawa’s Parliament Buildings.

The sessions last about an hour, starting at 12:00 noon. They are adaptable so that rank beginners and long-time experts can all get something out of it. You just bring your mat and some water and you’re good to go.

The sessions run each Wednesday from June 2 through September 29 (weather permitting).

And the people who show up are an interesting mix of office workers, visitors and hard-core fitness fanatics. What a great way to spend your lunch hour!

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Royal swans


royal-swans-release-013Two of the Royal Swans in the Rideau RiverEarlier this week, City of Ottawa workers released Ottawa’s Royal Swans into the Rideau River. Royal swans?

Yes, the birds are descendents of 6 pairs of royal (mute) swans that Queen Elizabeth II donate

d to the city back in 1967 to mark Canada’s centennial year. (A few year later, a pair of black Australian swans was received from the Montréal Zoo and their descendents are also still in Ottawa.)

You can see the birds in the Rideau River, generally between Cummings Bridge (where Rideau Street turns into Montréal Road just east of downtown Ottawa) in the north to Carleton University in the south. Don’t get too close, though, as they’re in a semi-wild state.

The swans are removed from the river in October or November and they have a winter home provided by the city, where they are fed and cared for. So keep an eye out for our royal swans!

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40 years of Sunday cycling!


This Sunday– May 23 — marks the beginning of the 40th season of Sunday Bikedays. The program continues until Sunday, September 5, the Sunday of the Labour Day weekend.

This unique program closes more than 50 km (31 miles) of scenic parkways to motorized vehicles on Sunday mornings from 9:00am to 1:00pm, allowing cyclists, inline skaters and runners to enjoy the roadway to its fullest.

One of the most popular routes is along Colonel By Drive, which skirts the Rideau Canal, Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other popular sites include the westbound lanes of the Ottawa River Parkway in the west end, running along the Ottawa River, from the Canadian War Museum to Carling Avenue; and the Rockcliffe Parkway in the east ened, also running next to the Ottawa River, from the Canada Aviation and Space Museum to St. Joseph Boulevard in Orléans.

Additional roads in Gatineau Park are closed to vehicular traffic from 6:00 to 11:00am on Sundays, including the Gatineau, Champlain and Fortune Parkways. If you’re a cyclist who enjoys steep hills, then this is where you want to be!

If you didn’t bring your bike with you to Ottawa, don’t despair. You can rent one from the friendly folks at RentABike, conveniently located in an old train tunnel under Rideau Street where it crosses the Rideau Canal. (Descend the staircase just to the west of the entrance of the Government Conference Centre (the former main train station of Ottawa), right across the street from the Fairmont Château Laurier hotel.

Sunday Bikedays are well-appreciated and well-attended weekly events, encouraging everyone to be more environmentally friendly and to enjoy exercising in the great outdoors. They are organized by the National Capital Commission, and sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent, Zerofootprint, KPMG LLP and Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP.

Enjoy the open road!

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A collaBEERation worth celebrating!


Local brewery Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company has come up with a novel way to commemorate the great friendship between Canada and the Netherlands: They’ve partnered with Holland’s De Koningshoeven Brewery to create a new beer! It’s called Vrienden, which is Dutch for “Friends,” and features juniper berries and Canadian maple syrup.

The beer will be released to the public for the first time on Monday, May 10 at the House of Orange, a temporary name given to Bar 56 and Mercury Lounge, two nightclubs in the ByWard Market neighbourhood of Ottawa. They’re the site of a unique Dutch-Canadian cultural celebration from May 10-23, 2010.

Of course, the Canadian Tulip Festival (May 7-24) has its origins in the Second World War and a great story of friendship between nations. During World War II, the Dutch royal family took refuge in Ottawa when the Nazis invaded their country. Princess Margriet, the current queen’s younger sister, was born here in Ottawa in a hospital room that was declared Dutch soil for the birth.

Canadian troops played a pivotal role in the liberation of the Netherlands and when the war ended in 1945 — 65 years ago this month — the royal family returned home. They sent a gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs to the people of Canada in a gesture of friendship, thanks and respect. The tulips came to Ottawa and were planted in prominent places such as on Parliament Hill and along the Rideau Canal. In fact, a gift of tulips has been made every year since, an impressive tradition!

You can enjoy Vrienden at the House of Orange, or Beau’s other brews at the beer garden in Major’s Hill Park from May 14 to 24 during the Canadian Tulip Festival. Cheers!


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