Let’s Go Ottawa
- Monday, 25 February 2013 11:07
- Written by Megan Peckford
Ottawa has tons of great neighbourhoods with unique style and shopping experiences. The Ottawa Shopping Style Series will take you on a tour of Ottawa’s best shopping districts.
The ByWard Market district in Ottawa is the place for shopping, dining and the arts. With so many great stores, it has to be broken down in to sections, starting with Sussex Drive. Of course, Sussex Drive is one of Ottawa’s best-known streets. It’s home to 24 Sussex (the Prime Minister’s residence) and Rideau Hall (where the Governor General lives and works), but the street has another claim to fame—shopping! The four blocks between Rideau Street and Murray Street are jam-packed with high-end boutiques, galleries and restaurants. Here are a few highlights to check out on your next trip to Ottawa.
CANTAS specializes in evening gowns, elegant business attire and casual wear. Focusing on European designers, the boutique carries elegant clothing at affordable prices. Sizes range from 0 to 20. CANTAS located at 700 Sussex Dr. bridges the gap between Downtown Rideau and the ByWard Market district.
Poised caters to fashion-forward women who thrive on individuality, featuring exclusive and edgy designer labels. Drop in to the boutique at 535 Sussex or book a personal shopping appointment and let the talented stylists make you look and feel extraordinary.
Envied located at 513 Sussex features well-known designers like Betsey Johnson and Black Halo with additional labels hand-picked by their team of personal shoppers. When you walk out of this store in your new duds you’ll be… envied!
Kaliyana – This is the first boutique opened by designer Jana Kalous over 25 years ago at 515 Sussex. Kalous uses architectural details to create simple and timeless style. Made with all natural fibers such as linen and cotton, the clothes feature bold shapes, asymmetric lines, multiple layers and simply ooze comfort. Dressing women from size 6 to 22, this boutique is a definite standout.
Melow par Mélissa Bolduc was an Ottawa Fashion Week favourite for the spring/summer 2013 season. The Montréal-based designer recently opened a boutique at 457 Sussex bringing her particular brand of sophisticated yet comfortable designs to the Capital.
For you and the hubby
Trustfund – True, the majority of the floor space is dedicated to the women, but there is a section of very nicely selected men’s clothes. And let’s face it, they rarely need quite the same selection we gals require! Trustfund caters to a more relaxed trend with a downtown-chic vibe. Trustfund is located at 493 Sussex right across from the American Embassy.
Schad/Schad Blü – a men’s and women’s store duo run by a husband-and-wife team. This store is a go-to for hot new trends and the season’s must-haves. And their jeans selection is fantastic! And right next door, the owners opened Wolf & Zed, a shoe store that has the perfect pair to finish every outfit. 519-521 Sussex Drive.
For the Home
Zone Maison is a home store that carries the cutest and most practical accessories going. Located close to the National Gallery of Canada at 471 Sussex. Stop in to look at the gorgeous new home trends and you might find yourself leaving with a Vespa pizza cutter you never knew you needed!
Happy shopping!Add a comment
- Monday, 11 February 2013 09:32
- Written by Christina Amos
Think your partner might enjoy receiving yet ANOTHER teddy bear with red heart-shaped paws for Valentine’s Day? Not so fast…..
Think outside the box this February and step up the WOW factor for your loved ones. There are plenty of great things going on in Ottawa for Valentine’s Day that are sure to impress that “special someone” in your life (or, at least help you on your way….).
1. Kick-start your Valentine’s Day into gear with an urban adventure. UrbanQuest.com is offering a Valentine’s package where you and your partner follow clues and solve puzzles in and around an Ottawa neighbourhood that lead you to your mystery dining reservation!
2. Love to sing, dance, and be entertained? The popular Canadian group Blue Rodeo is playing at Scotiabank Place on February 14 at 8:00pm. Check out these 5-time Juno award winners live in action!
3. Got a sweet tooth? The amazing C’est Bon Chocolate Lover’s Tour runs on February 16, and includes samples of some of Ottawa’s best chocolate.
4. When you think of the Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum, generally, romance doesn’t spring to mind! But find “love, not war” this Valentine’s Day….75 feet underground! On February 14, the Diefenbunker offers up a 3-course meal with wine, some fun photo ops brought to you by Flashpoint Photo Booth and a romantic-comedy Cold War-themed movie called Blast From the Past...all in one “off the beaten track” location!
5. An action-packed snow day is a great way to spark a new romance, or add some fun to an existing one! The Ottawa area is jam-packed with great cross-country ski trails, tobogganing hills and snowshoe trails. Love is in the (frosty!) air.
6. Stressed from trying to come up with the perfect surprise for your honey? Why not enjoy a couple’s massage and a soak in Nordic baths to help melt away the pain? The team at Nordik Spa-Nature has a number of wonderful romantic treats up their sleeves for Valentine’s Day.
7. Is wining and dining more your thing? Satisfy your tastebuds by booking an indulgent five-course fine dining experience at Brookstreet hotel’s Perspectives dining room. Extend the romance by staying overnight in one of their ultra-modern guest rooms; you won’t need to worry about driving back home, and you can enjoy their pool and spa the following day!
8. If “All You Need Is Love”, the National Arts Centre Orchestra performs a tribute to the Beatles February 14-16 at 8:00pm.
9. Do you believe that the way to your partner’s heart is through their stomach? Why not sign up for one of Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa’s Gourmet Short Courses? Or taste test their exceptional cuisine at a romantic dinner at Le Cordon Bleu Bistro @ Signatures (offered February 14-16).
10. Picture this: A moonlit evening skate, hand in hand with your mittened Snuggly Poops and sharing a toasty sweet BeaverTails pastry on the famous Rideau Canal Skateway. Snuggle up in front of one of the open-air fire pits to really turn on the romance!
Everyone enjoys something a little bit different for Valentine’s Day, and with all the amazing options in Ottawa, it may be hard to narrow down your decision. No matter what you decide to do, enjoy every moment and let the romance bloom!Add a comment
- Monday, 28 January 2013 13:47
- Written by Jantine Van Kregten
Winterlude this coming February. Glad to hear it!So, you’re coming to Ottawa for
Especially if this is your first visit to Ottawa in the winter, we urge you to refer to this packing guide to make sure you enjoy yourselves to the fullest. Because no matter how amazing the ice sculptures, how romantic the outing on the Rideau Canal Skateway, or how slippery the ice slide at Snowflake Kingdom, you won’t have any fun at all if your feet are cold!
WINTERLUDE PACKING GUIDE
- A backpack: It’s great for stashing your boots while you go skating on the Rideau Canal (remember to bring a plastic bag or two to limit wetness), plus it leaves your hands free to eat a BeaverTail pastry!
- Snacks: Raisins, chocolate, power bars—you need something to munch on to keep your energy level up while skating, snowshoeing, skiing, or just wandering around town.
- Water bottle: Even though it may be cold, you need to stay hydrated! An insulated water bottle is best.
- Indoor clothing: Bring an extra layer or two of clothing so if it’s warmer or colder than you think, you’re prepared—this is key! Thin sweaters and shirts that whisk away any moisture are the best and they pack well.
- Outdoor clothing: A warm jacket or parka is a must. Ideally, it would be a fabric that blocks the wind and repels moisture. Remember to layer in order to stay warm.
- Ski pants: For so many reasons: they block the wind and add warmth, they protect your pants from snow and slush and prevent you from getting wet and therefore even colder, and best of all, they help you whizz down the ice and snow slides at Snowflake Kingdom. If you wear jeans, you’ll get stuck and that’s embarrassing!
- Accessories: A warm hat, gloves or mittens, a scarf…these are necessities. And don’t feel self-conscious—the entire city battles hat-head! The more colourful, the better!
- Footwear: Don’t skimp here! Warm socks and boots are a must (stick an extra pair of socks in your backpack). Stiletto heels just won’t cut it, either—dress for warmth and you’ll enjoy your time outdoors.
- A little cash: You’ll want to indulge in a BeaverTail pastry, hot chocolate or other treat, so keep some small bills or coins in a handy spot.
- Skates and sleighs: If you don’t bring your own pair of ice skates, you can rent some from Capital Skates at either the downtown end of the Canal near the National Arts Centre or half-way along the Canal near Fifth Avenue. Capital Skates also rents sleighs, which are perfect means of transportation for children or non-skaters, and which need to be pushed by skaters. For rates and details, visit www.capitalskates.com Rentals are also available at the Dows Lake Pavilion at the other end of the Canal.
- Bandaids: If you haven’t skated in years, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to blisters (though modern skates are MUCH more comfortable than they used to be).
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip balm: Think about it—the sun reflects off the snow and ice so it’s extra strong. Plus sunglasses might help you combat hat head once you move inside.
- Tissues and wipes: Cold weather often means runny noses, so you’ll appreciate a handy supply of tissues.
- Mobile phone, camera, batteries, recharger: You want to record and share these moments with your friends and followers, don’t you? Pack your smartphone and/or camera securely—and warmly—in an inside jacket pocket, not in your backpack where it might freeze! Bring extra batteries as the cold sometimes drains them faster than normal usage.
- Use the SnoBus to get around. It runs every 10-20 minutes or so on each Saturday and Sunday during Winterlude and connects all four official sites (along the Rideau Canal Skateway, Confederation Park and Ottawa City Hall in Ottawa and Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau). Look for the red and white OC Transpo buses running between Confederation Park and Dows Lake (along the Rideau Canal) from 10am to 8pm on Saturdays and 10am to 5:30pm on Sundays. The blue and white STO buses run between Jacques-Cartier Park and Confederation Park on Saturdays and Sundays approximately 10am to 5:30 pm.
- There are 4 new Chalets (heated places to put on your skates or take a break) along the length of the Rideau Canal Skateway. Some people leave their boots behind, but most people throw them in a backpack and take them along.
- There’s nothing more Canadian than standing in your skates with a BeaverTail in one hand and a hot chocolate in the other, on the Rideau Canal Skateway. Take a photo for Twitter or your Facebook page or upload a video to YouTube!
- If Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate and if the Skateway is not open for skating, don’t despair! The new Rink of Dreams (inaugurated in early 2012) offers free skating on a refrigerated rink on the grounds in front of Ottawa City Hall, not far from the Rideau Canal downtown. There are also 247 outdoor rinks in City of Ottawa parks throughout the community.
- If you see one of the Winterlude mascots, the Ice Hog family, be sure to say hi. Mama, Papa, Noumi and Nouma don’t talk but they love to give out hugs. They’re a mythical species of furry animal that is usually found up north but during Winterlude, they visit Canada’s capital region to spread the joy of winter.
- Most women in Ottawa arrive at parties with a shoe bag. You wear your warm boots to get to where you’re going, then you slip on your knock-’em-dead pumps once you’re there. Practical and sexy!
- Thursday, 10 January 2013 10:53
- Written by Beverley Carkner
OTTAWA Magazine’s culinary festival, WinterBites, launches January 10 and runs through January 26, 2013. Sure to satisfy the palate, from pubs to fine dining, participating restaurants are offering special three-course prix fixe menus, two options for lunch and two for dinner. Many of the locations require a reservation so make sure you book ahead and mention the WinterBites menu. To follow are highlights of some of this year’s participating restaurants.
Nestled off George Street in a heritage building, the Courtyard restaurant provides relaxed fine dining in a warm and charming ambiance with a menu that fuses European-based cuisine with contemporary flair.
WinterBites Menu »
Located in the National Arts Centre in downtown Ottawa, le café offers complementary parking voucher validation Monday through Friday for lunch, not to mention great views of the Rideau Canal Skateway.
WinterBites Menu »
Le Cordon Bleu Bistro @ Signatures
Ottawa is home to Canada’s only campus of this world-renowned culinary training school, and at the Bistro you can experience fine dining with exceptional French cuisine.
WinterBites Menu »
Santé overlooks the busy Sussex Drive / Rideau Street intersection – a major crossroads in Ottawa – but they don’t overlook the details in providing healthy, vegetarian-friendly, Asian-inspired cuisine.
WinterBites Menu »
Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro
A casual relaxed atmosphere in the ByWard Market neighbourhood that offers free live local jazz Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Descend into the cozy cellar for an amazing selection of wine, beer from around the world and Scotch.
WinterBites Menu »
A vegan restaurant that uses all-natural ingredients with no genetically engineered foods, preservatives or chemical additives. But it’s the taste that will bring you back – innovative offerings that even the most dedicated carnivore will appreciate!
WinterBites Menu »
- Friday, 04 January 2013 16:11
- Written by Jantine Van Kregten
When news broke that the beloved Parliament Hill Cat Sanctuary has closed, many people commented that this was one of the quirkiest attractions in Ottawa and one they would miss visiting (or showing to visitors).
We at Ottawa Tourism humbly offer these other quirky Ottawa offerings to help fill the void. Some are family friendly, others more adult-oriented, some are free and others have a fee.
How many have you done? What’s favourite unexpected Ottawa attraction is NOT on this list?
free yoga class! Hundreds show up and cover the lawn with their colourful mats. Say ooommmm!1. Other Parliament Hill attractions: The monument to 19th century politicians Robert Baldwin and Sir Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine has a neat quality that is not immediately apparent. Because of the curve in its wall, two people can sit on opposite ends—metres apart—and converse in just a whisper! Check out the “Whispering Wall,” also known as the monument to 19th century politicians Robert Baldwin and Sir Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine at the northeast corner of the grounds. The monument has a neat quality that is not immediately apparent. Because of the curve in its wall, two people can sit on opposite ends—metres apart—and converse in just a whisper! And if you’re in Ottawa between May and October and your visit extends over a Wednesday at noon, head to Parliament Hill for a
2. Balanced rocks in the Ottawa River: Local artist John Ceprano’s works are beautiful but ephemeral. Each spring, Ceprano wades into the shallows of the Ottawa River near Remic Rapids and starts stacking the river rocks. No glue, no rods—just gravity and balance and patience. By the end of the summer, there is a whole community of whimsical sculptures, which disappears each winter as the ice, snow and wind take their toll. Then each spring, the magic starts again.
3. Horse stables in the ByWard Market: Did you know that there are horse stables still operating within the bustling ByWard Market neighbourhood in downtown Ottawa? John Cundell is the third generation in his family to keep horses on York Street just east of Dalhousie Street. Available for weddings, birthdays and groups, the local merchants’ association also uses Cundell’s services to provide free horse-drawn carriage rides in the neighbourhood each Christmas season.
4. Rideau Hall celebrity trees: Rideau Hall is the name of the residence of Canada’s Governor General (the Queen’s representative). Over the years, many visiting dignitaries have planted a commemorative tree on the grounds of Rideau Hall, including Nelson Mandela, Princess Diana, the Emperor of Japan and more. One romantic fact—the tree planted by John F. Kennedy and the tree planted by Jacqueline Kennedy “kiss” above one of the walkways near the residence, their leaves entwined! Visiting the grounds is free—watch for small plaques at the base of the “celebrity” trees explaining who planted it and when.
Rideau Canal Skateway: Ottawa is home to the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink, according to Guinness World Records. Once the ice is a foot thick (usually in early January), the Skateway is open 24/7, for free! Skate and sleigh rentals are available at 3 different locations along its 7.8 km (4.8-mile) length, and there are 4 spots to get BeaverTails, that hot pastry treat that Ottawans love. Put that on your bucket list, if it’s not already there! J And if Mother Nature isn’t cooperating, you can also check out the free Rink of Dreams at Ottawa City Hall or the free historic rink (weekends only) at Rideau Hall.5.
6. Urban sugarbush: Yes, Ottawa is next to Lanark County, the maple syrup capital of Ontario, but it’s also home to the only urban sugarbush we’ve ever heard of, the Vanier Sugarbush. Located within the Vanier Museoparc, a collection of cultural assets especially important to the Franco-Ontarian community, the Vanier Sugarbush taps 14 acres of trees to produce its own maple syrup. Join them at the annual Maple Sugar Festival, March 17-24, 2013.
7. Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum: What’s not to love about a once-secret, four-storey, underground nuclear fallout shelter? Beyond the Mad Men-era nostalgia, there’s great programming, from monthly Cold War-themed movie nights to zombie nights to kids’ spy camps! They’ve even hosted weddings!
HOPE Volleyball SummerFest: What’s cool about volleyball? Well, it’s BEACH volleyball, for one thing. It’s the largest one-day beach volleyball tournament in the world, for another. And it raises thousands of dollars for deserving local charities for a third. THE place to be for Ottawa’s young and fit set.8.
9. Sleep it off in jail: The Ottawa Jail Hostel, to be more precise. Until the 1970s, this grand old building was the Carleton County Gaol and visitors today sleep in the very cells that were once home to prisoners. Except no one sleeps on Death Row (the top floor)—it’s too haunted. See for yourself on a Haunted Walk tour, offered daily—I mean, nightly.
Whitewater kayaking in downtown Ottawa: Yes, the Ottawa River near Beachburg—90 minutes’ drive west of Ottawa—boasts some of the world’s best whitewater, but did you know you can learn how to whitewater kayak in DOWNTOWN Ottawa? At the Pumphouse, an offshoot of the Ottawa River located between Library & Archives Canada and the Canadian War Museum, the Madawaska Kanu Centre offers one-day whitewater kayaking lessons each summer. That’s within walking distance of most downtown hotels!10.
11. Lucky Ron: A true Ottawa icon, Lucky Ron has been singing the same batch of old-school country tunes since 1986. Every Saturday around 4:30pm at the Château Lafayette—which, dating back to 1849, is Ottawa’s oldest tavern—Lucky Ron’s army of fans bring audience participation to a whole new level. No cover charge but let’s just say that quarts of beer are de rigueur.
12. China Doll at Shanghai Restaurant: The oldest Chinese restaurant in Ottawa is known for more than its food—on Saturday nights, it hosts a wild karaoke night. Hosted by China Doll, the son of the owner and one of Ottawa’s most colourful drag queens! Occasionally, China Doll hosts Retro Disco Funk & Punk Bingo!
13. Duelling pianos at Fat Tuesday’s: On Thursdays and Saturdays, check out Ottawa’s only duelling piano show: one of the best impromptu sing-alongs you’ll find! Shows start at 10:30 p.m. Live music also on Fridays.
North America’s largest spa: After $4.1 million in recent upgrades, Nordik Spa-Nature in nearby Chelsea, Québec, offers 45,000 square feet of relaxing interior space and more than 100,000 square feet outside. Surrounded by trees and rocks, you’re encouraged to follow a gentle routine of heat (sauna), coolness (plunge pools) and relaxation. Or try the infinity pool with panoramic view, casual lounge or the salt-water floating pool. Ahhhh!14.
15. Pure indulgence at Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa: Several of Ottawa’s great chefs got their start at Ottawa’s Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute—the North American headquarters for the world’s foremost school for teaching classical French cuisine. While you could take the 9-month Grand diplôme course, you could also access your inner Julia Child by enjoying a three-hour demonstration course (or six-hour practical course where you can get your hands dirty!). Or if you just want to enjoy the fruits of others’ labour, you can dine at Le Cordon Bleu Bistro @ Signatures. Set lunches are offered Wednesday through Friday and à la carte dinners are available Wednesday through Saturday. The restaurant and school are located in a former lumber baron’s beautiful mansion in the leafy Sandy Hill neighbourhood just east of downtown Ottawa.Add a comment