Let’s Go Ottawa
- Wednesday, 08 December 2010 03:52
- Written by Jantine Van Kregten
A couple weeks, ago, I blogged about things to do over Christmas and New Year’s in Ottawa, with the promise to add more suggestions as we got closer to the dates. Well, here are some additional options to spend the festive time in Canada’s capital region!
As Eugene Haslam commented on the original post, Zaphod Beeblebrox – an iconic music venue in Ottawa’s ByWard Market neighbourhood — is open on Christmas Day. And while the website doesn’t share the details just yet, it will soon explain what’s happening there on New Year’s Eve, which traditionally means highlighting local talent.
For a party with an unbeatable view, visit the Crowne Plaza‘s top floor for the New Year’s Eve Carnival Event. The party alone is $65, but they also offer dinner and accommodation packages. DJ Karyen and DJ Ray Ray are supplyin’ the beats
National Arts Centre is offering a New Year’s Eve dinner/show/post-party package or à la carte options (eg. the gourmet dinner is $67.49 per person, the post-party is $32.31). It’s called “Paint New Year’s Eve Pink” so dress accordingly!And for fans of Legally Blonde: The Musical, the
You could also opt for the high-stakes excitement of the Casino du Lac-Leamy: their beautiful theatre offers dinner-and-a-show options starting at $208.76 per person (including taxes, gratuities, parking and coat check) on New Year’s Eve featuring the Esquire Show Bar revue. A legendary R’nB mecca of the 50s, 60s, and 70s in Montréal, the Esquire Show Bar is recreated during the show with 15 soul music artists performing hits like Sweet Soul Music, At Last, Soulman, Knock on Wood, Under the Boardwalk, When a Man Loves a Woman, Mustang Sally, It’s a Man’s World and much more. Adjacent acommodation can be added on at the Hilton Lac-Leamy. What a way to welcome in 2011!
If you’re just now making plans to visit Ottawa for the holidays, don’t forget the Third Night Free option available through Ottawa Tourism. Valid at participating hotels through bookings up to March 31, 2011 (though travel can take place after that date), it’s a great deal!
- Monday, 06 December 2010 03:52
- Written by Jantine Van Kregten
Taste of Winterlude is a series of wine and food events in Ottawa and Canada’s capital region that take place at various venues between January 27 and February 21, 2011. Winterlude— Ottawa’s great winter festival — has slightly shorter dates, starting on Friday, February 4 and continuing through February 21.
Just a few highlights:
- Savour Ottawa Walkabout Winter Feast (a tour of 5 restaurants in the ByWard Market neighbourhood who are members of this local foods movement) on Tuesday, February 8
- Vegan restaurant ZenKitchen pairing their delicious food with a Niagara winery on Wednesday, February 9
- C’est Bon Cooking offering their foodie walking tours of the ByWard Market neighbourhood on 4 consecutive Saturdays and offering a “cooking adventure” where you get in the kitchen with Chef Andrée on Friday, February 11
- Avant-garde restaurant Atelier restaurant turning up the volume to pair their night with the music of Motorhead (!) on Tuesday, February 1
- Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa featuring ice carving, ice wine and maple syrup (among other things) on Saturday, January 29
- Le Nordik Nature Spa offering “Winterlude in a Bathrobe” with a cocktail reception on Thursday, January 27
- Courtyard Restaurant offering a non-traditional Robbie Burns Day whisky dinner on Wednesday, February 16
- the urban element offering a Niagara-themed wine and food event on Thursday, February 10
- Le Baccara at the Casino du Lac-Leamy featuring a champagne tasting menu on Tuesday, February 1
- And way more!
So now that you’re intrigued by the possibilities, here’s more great news. Book a visit to Ottawa and get your Third Night Free! That’s right, at participating hotels, you’ll get your third night of accommodation on the house! The offer is on now till March 31, 2011 — but that’s just for booking (your actual arrival in Ottawa can be during Winterlude, or maybe in May for the Canadian Tulip Festival, or maybe to catch some shows at the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest or the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival… the possibilities are endless!).
Full details are at www.ottawatourism.ca
- Tuesday, 30 November 2010 03:52
- Written by Jantine Van Kregten
So maybe you’re planning a visit to Ottawa over the holiday season… or maybe you live here and are looking for some suggestions of what to see and do. This is a starting guide of what awaits — watch for updates as December progresses!
It doesn’t cost anything to window shop — and some of the best can be done in the ByWard Market neighbourhood. For the three weekends before Christmas (Dec. 4-19; 12-4pm), you can also get in the spirit by singing Christmas carols (songsheets are provided) on a free horse-drawn carriage ride through the Market’s streets. Other choirs have been invited to sing during the same times at the corner of George Street and ByWard Market Square — donations are welcome.
You can celebrate the Winter Solstice at the Canada Science and Technology Museum on Tuesday, December 21 with a FREE stargazing party — but dress warmly because the event is only outdoors (7pm).
WHAT’S OPEN ON CHRISTMAS DAY?
Most people have Christmas Day off as a holiday, but there are a few things you can do: stroll the grounds of Parliament Hill, enjoy some excitement at the Casino du Lac-Leamy, watch reunions at the Ottawa International Airport, go tobogganing in a local park (weather permitting), or grab a drink or a snack at a local hotel.
A few examples:
Grill 41 in the Lord Elgin Hotel offers a plated Christmas dinner table d’hôte (4 courses) for $49 on both December 24 and 25 — and a plated New Year’s Eve dinner table d’hôte (5 courses) for $69 on December 31.
101 Café (in the Crowne Plaza Ottawa offers a five-course meal with holiday entertainment and dancing on December 31 and a January 1 New Year’s Day breakfast buffet.
As I mentioned, this is a first post — watch for more info as we get closer to the holidays! Or post your own suggestions below!
- Friday, 12 November 2010 03:52
Deerhurst Resort is its own reward. The absolutely stunning Muskoka surroundings make for a great venue for the annual Ontario Tourism Summit. After a number of great speakers covering off topics including areas like digital marketing, accessibility, and cooperation between Ontario’s many tourism destinations, we couldn’t be feeling much better, considering a glance outside filled the eyes with a serenely beautiful view of Peninsula Lake.Heading to
What really put a feather in our cap was taking home two trophies at that evening’s OTMPC Awards Gala, hosted by Toronto’s always-charming Kevin Frankish. The award for Best Tourism Advertising encompassed our efforts over 2009, including print, radio, television and online. You can see one of the winning spots below.
Next came the Culinary Tourism Leadership Award, honouring Savour Ottawa’s efforts in turning Ottawa into a legitimate culinary destination.
Our enormous thanks go to all the partners who make Ottawa the fantastic destination it is for tourists! If you don’t mind, we’re going to go bite down on our award statuettes now–we’re told they’re made of pure 24K gold.
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- Tuesday, 02 November 2010 04:52
- Written by Jantine Van Kregten
If you’re a visitor to Ottawa, you might not recognize everything that comes out of a local’s mouth. Here’s a guide to some unique-to-Ottawa expressions that you might find useful!
Some of the expressions are geographical in nature. You should know, for instance, that “The Hill” refers to Parliament Hill, home of the House of Commons and Senate and the core of Canadian democracy.
“The Market” refers to the ByWard Market – not just a building, or a one- or two-day-a-week farmers’ market, but a whole neighbourhood. Bounded roughly by Susssex Drive, Murray Street, Dalhousie Street and George Street, “the Market” is home to a 363-day-a-year outdoor market; shops and boutiques; 120+ bars, restaurants and other places to eat and drink; and a thriving residential district.
If you listen to a traffic report, you’ll hear mention of “The Queensway” but they’re really referring to the main east-west thoroughfare–Highway 417. “The Split” refers to the segment in the east end where Highway 174 splits off to head to the neighbourhood of Orléans while the 417 continues through eastern Ontario and the Québec border.
“The Château” (often pronounced more like “shadow”) refers to the Fairmont Château Laurier. “The Canal” can only refer to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal. And “ LeBreton Flats” is the area just outside the Canadian War Museum that is also hosts the fabulous Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest each July.
Before 2003, the downtown area across the Ottawa River from downtown Ottawa was the City of “ Hull“. But following an amalgamation of several Québec municipalities, the correct name is now Gatineau, though many still refer to Hull (or at least the “Hull sector” of Gatineau).
Ottawa went through a similar amalgamation of 11 municipalities to create a new, larger City of Ottawa in 2001. You’ll still hear people refer to “Kanata,” “Nepean,” “Vanier,” and “Rockcliffe Park,” among others, that used to be separate municipalities.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PRESENCE
As the capital, Ottawa hosts most of the federal bureaucracy and with that comes a love of acronyms that knows no bounds. You’ll hear talk of “DFAIT” (pronounced DEE-fate), “DND,” “PWGSC,” “PSAC,” “the GG,” “PMO” and more. (For those who are paying attention, that’s the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Department of National Defence, Public Works and Government Services Canada, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Governor General, and the Prime Minister’s Office.)
You might hear those acronyms if you’re hobnobbing in an establishment such as Hy’s Steakhouse or among cabinet ministers’ staffers at D’Arcy McGee’s Pub on Sparks Street, or enjoying your $1 oysters at “Hill Hour” (not Happy Hour) at Métropolitain Brasserie.
Ottawa Senators, our local National Hockey League franchise! They’re “the Sens“ and they play at “the Bank” (Scotiabank Place) and you can cheer them on at an establishment on Elgin Street, also known as the “Sens Mile.” If you do, you’ll become part of the “Sens Army.” Some still refer to Scotiabank Place as the “Corel Centre” or even the “Palladium“–both former names of the building. Oh, and “Alfie” is Daniel Alfredsson, the beloved team captain.Ahh, the
Among the university and college teams, cheers on the “Ravens” at Carleton University, the “Thunder” at Algonquin College and, um, the “Gee-Gees” at the University of Ottawa. I’m an alumna, so I can tell you what the heck a gee-gee is: it’s the lead horse in a race.
FOOD & DRINK
What’s a “chip truck,” you ask? It’s a (usually mobile) truck or cart on the street that serves fast food — usually hot dogs, burgers, fries and “poutine” (French fries, gravy and cheese curds).
Ottawans’ favourite sweet treat is a “BeaverTail” and no, it does not have much to do with the iconic Canadian animal (except that its shape is reminscent of the posterior appendage of the rodent). It’s a hot wholewheat pastry treat topped with a variety of toppings — the most popular of which is cinnamon and sugar.
Ottawa’s “Chinatown” is found on Somerset Street West between Preston Street and Bay Street and “Little Italy” is along Preston Street. The “French Quarter” is the name given to the former (mostly francophone) municipality of Vanier and “The Village” is the name given to a burgeoning LGBT area of town, along Bank Street (between Nepean and James Streets).
So how ’bout it, Ottawans? Have I missed anything? And for all you visitors out there, are there any terms you’ve heard that haven’t made sense to you? Let us know and we’ll try to help!