Competitors from The Amazing Race Canada visited a few of Ottawa’s best sites and attractions during episode 6 of season 5, and we can help you follow in their footsteps! Read on for our tips on how to experience the beautiful and exciting locations the racers visited in Canada’s Capital – without the cut-throat competition and fear of being eliminated by Jon Montgomery!
Ottawa City Hall and the Ottawa 2017 Cauldron
This leg of the race started in front of Ottawa City Hall in downtown Ottawa, where Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson handed the remaining competitors their first clue. The Mayor was standing in front of a large cauldron – a three-sided adaptation of the Ottawa 2017 logo. Ottawa 2017 has been attracting and planning celebrations in Canada’s Capital throughout 2017 in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation!
Things you can do at Ottawa City Hall:
- Take a selfie in front of the Ottawa 2017 Cauldron and enjoy some of the remaining special events throughout 2017.
- Enjoy special events and festivals that are held on the grounds of City Hall or nearby – from weekly salsa classes to poutine and jazz festivals in the warmer months, to free outdoor ice skating on the Sens Rink of Dreams in the winter!
Mooney’s Bay Park and Hog’s Back Falls
For their first challenge, teams made their way to the Mooney’s Bay and Hog’s Back Park area. Situated along the East bank of the Rideau River, between downtown Ottawa and Ottawa International Airport, this natural haven is easily accessible by car or by cycling on multi-use pathways. Each team had to create one letter in the word “Canada” by parking vehicles within certain lines. They didn’t have the opportunity to see the beautiful beach and waterfalls, but you can!
Things you can do at Mooney’s Bay/Hog’s Back Park:
- Enjoy beach activities at Mooney’s Bay all summer-long, including the annual HOPE Volleyball Summerfest – the largest outdoor one-day beach volleyball tournament in North America!
- Board Pirate Adventures’ ship for an interactive theatre experience including sword fights, water cannons and a plank!
- Explore Hog’s Back Falls, a beautiful hidden oasis with cascading waterfalls, nature trails lined with historical displays and a renovated heritage pavilion.
- Bring the kids to the largest children’s playground in Canada! The Giver 150 Playground was built by children from across Canada, is shaped like Canada, features 10 play structures representing each region of the country, and it meets all safety and accessibility standards. (Too bad Kenneth & Ryan – whose motto is “Give’r” – couldn’t visit this fun spot!)
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride Centre
The next stop was the RCMP Musical Ride Centre, located just East of downtown Ottawa along the picturesque Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway (which also leads to the nearby Canada Aviation and Space Museum). This is the training centre for the Musical Ride, a world-renowned military pageant of 32 horses and riders who perform complex and thrilling cavalry figures and drills choreographed to music. One racer from each team had the exceptional opportunity to assume a few of the riders’ responsibilities. Though this is not possible for regular visitors, there’s plenty to experience on site!
Things you can do at the RCMP Musical Ride Centre:
- Take a free tour of the stables to see the majestic horses up close and visit the museum to learn the history of the Musical Ride. You’ll also see the Riding School, Farrier Station, Tack Room, and even the state Landau (“carriages”) that are used in royal escorts of Her Majesty the Queen!
- Meet the actual riders and horses of the Musical Ride who are on site when they’re not on tour. If you’re lucky, you might see them practise!
- To see the actual Musical Ride performance, attend the annual Sunset Ceremonies in Ottawa at the end of June each year, or in other cities while they’re on tour.
Detour option 1: Commissioners Park along the Rideau Canal
For this detour, teams made their way to Commissioners Park near Dows Lake along the picturesque Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Amazing Race Canada visited Ottawa during the annual Canadian Tulip Festival, and teams were asked to build a wooden display cart and place tulip arrangements to match a pre-existing example.
Things you can do at Commissioners Park and Dows Lake:
- Marvel at over 250,000 blooming tulips in Commissioners Park during the Canadian Tulip Festival each May – a total of over one million tulips bloom across Canada’s Capital Region!
- Rent a canoe, paddleboat, kayak or stand-up paddle board from the Marina at Dows Lake Pavilion and explore the Rideau Canal from water level.
- Ride your bike or rent one to explore the pathways that line both sides of the Rideau Canal.
Detour option 2: Canada Council Art Bank
The other detour option was to go to the Canada Council Art Bank which makes artwork available to people across the country through corporate art rental, loans to museums and outreach. Teams had to find specific artworks amongst the more than 17,000 items!
Things you can do at the Art Bank:
- See the largest collection of contemporary Canadian art anywhere, including indigenous art. The entire collection – including paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and prints – can also be explored on the website.
- Rent regularly from the Art Bank and always have fresh Canadian art around your home!
U-Turn location: BeaverTails kiosk
Once teams had successfully finished their chosen detour, they made their way to the BeaverTails kiosk in the ByWard Market neighbourhood. Since 1980, the delicious sweet pastry shaped like a beaver’s tail has been sold at this original permanent location. Unfortunately, teams did not have time to enjoy a BeaverTail. They quickly checked the u-turn board to see if they had been u-turned by a team in front of them (which would force them to complete the other detour that they hadn’t selected), or to see if they had the opportunity to u-turn one of the trailing teams.
Things you can do at the Beavertails kiosk in the ByWard Market area:
- Try one of the regular BeaverTail flavours such as Cinnamon and Sugar or Maple, or the special Canada 150 flavour: Nanaimo Bar!
- While in the historic ByWard Market neighbourhood, explore this condensed, vibrant area full of some of Ottawa’s best boutiques, restaurants, bars, pubs and cafés.
Canadian Museum of History
The last location for the Ottawa leg was the Canadian Museum of History – Canada’s most visited museum – located just across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec. Teams had the opportunity to visit the new Canadian History Hall before its official opening on July 1, 2017. The racers explored some exhibits, looking for clues that would help them answer an abridged version of a Canadian citizenship test. Once they answered enough questions correctly, they could proceed to the pit stop, located on the Museum’s panoramic outdoor terrace – the perfect location to end the Ottawa leg of the race, where teams could enjoy sweeping views of Ottawa as they met Jon Montgomery on the Pit Stop mat.
Things you can do at the Canadian Museum of History:
- Explore the Canadian History Hall as the competitors did. It’s the largest and most comprehensive exhibition about Canadian history ever created!
- Enjoy views of the majestic Grand Hall which features the largest indoor collection of totem poles.
- Take the kids to the Canadian Children’s Museum which is located within the Canadian Museum of History. While they experience hands-on games and exhibits representing different countries, kids can collect stamps in a passport.
Enjoy your time visiting these and many other Ottawa sites, and don’t forget to share your experiences with us by using the #MyOttawa hashtag on social media!