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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
 

Let’s Go Ottawa

New video: First-class bhangra!

 

Internet sensation Wilbur Sargunaraj is at it again! He had so much fun in Ottawa back in February filming the video for the popular The Canada Song, he just had to return in the summer. The result? First-class Bhangra — a catchy tune with an all-Ottawa video featuring Parliament Hill, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police horse, Sparks Street Mall, Aboriginal Experiences, the ByWard Market neighbourhood, Rideau Canal and more!

Check it out (I dare you not to sing along):

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Free wi-fi near the National War Memorial

 

Visitors to Canada’s capital who still have a bit of work to catch up on — or who want to share their photos right away, or blog — now have a beautiful new setting to get it done!

The National Capital Commission has installed 20 bright red Muskoka chairs on a plaza just off the east side of Elgin Street where it meets Rideau Street. They’ve stretched some shade sails (from a local company called House of Canvas) across the top to provide a bit of shade. All in all, a beautiful spot — and the best part is, it offers free wi-fi!

So within view of the Fairmont Château Laurier, Rideau Canal, National Arts Centre, National War Memorial, Parliament Hill and steps from a Capital Bixi bike station, you can get caught up on your online life — for free!

The pilot project, based on an employee’s suggestion, runs till October 11, 2011. Check it out!

Not everybody using the chairs is surfing the web. Some are just having fun, enjoying the day, like these children!

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Early July in Ottawa

 

Well, the euphoria of the Royal Visit to Ottawa of Prince William and Kate Middleton (the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, that is) on Canada Day is finally starting to fade a wee bit. But don’t despair! There are still lots of great activities to fill your days in Ottawa during this early part of July. For example:

The fabulous Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest– a musical party spanning six stages and 12 days just outside the Canadian War Museum – runs July 5-17. Whatever your musical tastes, you should find something that satisfies, from Buddy Guy to Huey Lewis & the News, from Peter Frampton to Death Cab for Cutie, from Jane’s Addiction to Blue Rodeo, plus comedy acts and more!

Ottawa BluesfestThe Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest attracts a huge crowd each year -- but there are six stages, ensuring you'll find something you like!

If you’d prefer the strains of classical music, don’t miss Music and Beyond, which runs July 7-17. The opening night event has a Shakespearean theme and features great Canadian actor Christopher Plummer!

If you want to be active (or watch those who are), you can’t miss the HOPE Volleyball Summerfest on July 9 — the world’s largest one-day beach volleyball tournament! The action’s at Mooney’s Bay Beach and features performances by Big Sugar and Tokyo Police Club. Awesome!

If you’re more a laboratory bum than a beach bum, you’ll love the Canada Science and Technology Museum‘s Chemistry Uncovered event, July 7-10. Besides taking part in exciting hands-on experiments, you can see an amazing magic show, taste some delicious liquid nitrogen ice cream, or, on July 9, catch David Cronenberg’s critically acclaimed movie The Fly (PG-13, with French subtitles), at the Museum’s outdoor after-dark screening (bring blankets or folding chairs and a donation to the Ottawa Food Bank).

If theatre’s more your thing, take a drive to the picturesque town of Perth to catch the Classic Theatre Festival‘s performance of Bell, Book and Candle July 8-31 (or catch The Fourposter August 5-28). Or enjoy the intrigues of a fast-paced version of Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra performed in local parks by the frenetic Company of Fools (until August 20).

Parliament Hill Changing the Guard CeremonyThe Changing the Guard Ceremony is a longstanding summertime tradition in Ottawa.

Finally, check out some fun FREE activities on Parliament Hill (beyond the tours) like the daily Changing the Guard ceremony at 10am on the front lawn (until August 26) or the spectacular Sound and Light Show — called Mosaika — that uses the Parliament Buildings as a gigantic screen, projecting images and special effects while telling the story of Canada through its people. It’s a winner, running July 6-September 5). Both events are weather permitting.

Get out there and enjoy!

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Royal Visit mania strikes Ottawa!

 

Ottawa Jazz FestivalThe TD Ottawa Jazz Festival offers free progamming in Confederation Park on Canada Day.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are coming to Ottawa for Canada Day and the residents of Canada’s Capital Region couldn’t be happier!

The official itinerary has been released, showing visits at the National War Memorial, Rideau Hall, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Parliament Hill during the Canada Day Noon Show and the Canadian War Museum. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to come out and say hello to the newlyweds!

But what else is going on in town with a royal theme?

National War MemorialThe National War Memorial is a stunning monument in downtown Ottawa.

On Canada Day, the Lord Elgin Hotel on Elgin Street downtown is creating a huge wedding cake in the couple’s honour that members of the public can sample. Right across the street, the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival offers free programming on Canada Day and great shows from June 23 to July 3, 2011.

Meanwhile, at the castle-like Fairmont Château Laurier, you can take it up a notch by indulging in their very popular afternoon tea service. For a limited time, they’re offering “Royal Tea” which includes a glass of Moet et Chandon champagne!

The whole family will enjoy a visit to the Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada on July 1 for their Canada Day Garden Party! Held on the Museum’s outdoor plaza at the corner of Bank and Sparks Streets downtown, they will celebrate the Royal Visit and Canada’s 144th birthday with a British-themed garden party featuring games, music, refreshments and crafts for everyone.

And if that works up a thirst, Mom & Dad can quench it at ZenKitchen on Somerset Street West with a refreshing take on the classic Cranberry Kir Royale with a pomegranate cranberry drink dubbed the Cranberry Kir “Royal Visit!”

For a more active option, head to MKC in the City which is planning a very cool tribute to the Royal Couple. On Thursday, June 30, between 1 and 4pm, you can try your hand at whitewater kayaking. For $30, you can paddle three times through the course at the Pumphouse, which is located at the western edge of downtown Ottawa, not farm from the Canadian War Museum. (Directions: Take Bronson Avenue northbound, turn left (west) on Albert Street, then an immediate right on Rue Commissioner.)

Welcome to Ottawa, Your Royal Highnesses!

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Family Fun Activities

 

Looking from great family friendly activities this summer? Ottawa has a lot to offer, from splashing in the water parks, to running through hedge mazes, and exploring and learning in a vast array of air conditioned museums with hands-on activities. There’s no shortage of options.

Just Add Water

Calypso Theme WaterparkCalypso Theme WaterparkCalypso Theme Waterpark, just 20 minutes east of the capital, hosts Canada’s largest wave pool, state of the art slides, a whitewater rafting experience, and tons of other cool features that will be a blast for all ages. 10 new waterslides opened this year including the largest free-standing slide tower on the continent.

Just 20 minutes north of Ottawa in the scenic splendor of the Gatineau hills, Mont Cascades Waterpark features a showcase of water other pool attractions. Their new SplashForest combines all the excitement of waterslides with the new “activewaterplay” structure packed with water cannons and climbing nets.

Outdoor Adventures

Summer is a time for getting outside and reveling in the sunshine. At Saunders Farm , there are plenty of activities to do together, including an exploration of North America’s largest collection of hedge mazes. Navigate your way through more than 23,000 square feet of intricate paths, before climbing aboard a beautifully constructed pirate ship on land, and cooling off in the water spray zone.

Valleyview Little Animal Farm offers a wide variety of animals and birds up close, from alpacas to zebus, goats to geese. Ride the Valleyview Express, enjoy the farm playground, explore Bill’s Old Farm Museum and watch a puppet show.

In the heart of downtown Ottawa along the Rideau Canal, Pirate Adventures a unique and unforgettable experience aboard a fifty foot pirate ship armed with 12 water cannons. Watch your child transform into a pirate with face painting tattoos and pirate gear then discover a treasure map and solve its secrets. Pirate Pete will make an appearance!

Museum Madness

Gone are the days when museums were considered the realm of the adult. Ottawa’s cultural scene offers plenty of options for children with the right blend of education and amusement through tactile experiences. At the newly renovated Canadian Museum of Nature, toddlers will get a kick out of activity stations that have levers, buttons, and nozzles galore, from the inside of a mini submarine to a supermarket cash register.

Nature lovers will also enjoy taking a tour of the animal barns at the Canada Agriculture Museum, which is part of a working farm located in the heart of the city. There’s more hands on fun to be had at the Canadian Children’s Museum geared directly to youths through a setup that embodies worldwide adventure, complete with passports they can get stamped and take home. Here, young visitors interact with exhibits that take them on a stroll through a Market Bazaar, inside an Egyptian pyramid, and into a tatami room of a Japanese home, among other international outings.

And no visit to Ottawa is complete without a trip to the Canada Science and Technology Museum for a walk through the Crazy Kitchen – a dizzying household room that has become a staple childhood experience for local kids.

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