Ottawa Tourism

Ottawa is anything but vanilla

Ottawa is a beautiful, walkable city filled with exciting outdoor activities, inspiring cultural gems, dynamic neighbourhoods and a tasty culinary scene. However, some people seem to think Canada’s Capital is ‘vanilla’. So, Ottawa Tourism decided to entice them to discover (or rediscover) Ottawa through irresistible, free ice cream!

One weekend in June 2018, people strolling along Toronto’s busy Queen Street West were invited to stop at a funky pop-up stand offering five free ice cream flavours branded ‘Not Vanilla’. The interior of each single-serving box revealed bright colours, retro designs and notes about the flavour it contained.

The five unique flavours were as surprising, delightful and dynamic as the experiences that can be enjoyed in Ottawa:

  • Rideauculous (Peppercorn + Plum): Smooth like a long, summer day cruising the stunning waterway of the Rideau Canal and crisp like a lovely, winter day on the largest skating rink in the world. Like gliding down the Rideau Canal Skateway, put Peppercorn and Plum on your bucket-list.
  • Roam Sweet Roam (Vegan Coffee + Date): Familiar yet complex, this coffee-flavoured ice cream evokes a quiet morning stroll through a scenic Ottawa neighbourhood or the sunlit Great Hall of the National Gallery of Canada. With hints of date and caramel, this vegan treat is sure to add a dreamy note to your day.
  • ByWard ByNight (Smoked Caramel + Bitters): This cocktail-inspired ice cream is sure to stir up visions of great nights and late nights – the kind of memories made in the ByWard Market neighbourhood. Busy with local artisans, shops and restaurants during the day, but like any good desert, it’s enjoyed best after dark.
  • Urban Splash (Hops + Honey): Let your tastebuds follow the sweet waves of honey and refreshing splashes of hops inspired by the Ottawa River. Whether you’re cascading over whitewater rapids or taking in the view of downtown from the river, a taste of Urban Splash is sure to get your heart racing.
  • Ottawild (Apple + Elderflower frozen yogurt): This apple and elderflower flavoured frozen yogurt will make you want to embrace the great outdoors. Clean, sweet and crisp like the air you’ll breathe while hiking, rock climbing, bungee jumping or just casually strolling through the Canadian Tulip Festival. Get a little closer to nature with every cool, sweet bite.

The special frozen treats were made by a popular Ottawa ice cream maker – one of the many talented people who contribute to the city’s dynamic entrepreneur scene. A video series called Ottawa’s Own explores some of these locals who help shape Ottawa’s identity as an energetic, diverse and welcoming city.

Some of the ice cream tasters at the pop-up said they never thought of Ottawa as ‘vanilla’, while others confirmed the pop-up event opened their eyes to awesome adventures they didn’t expect could be had in Canada’s Capital.

Ottawa is anything but vanilla!

Enter our contest for a chance to win a ‘Not Vanilla’ trip to Ottawa and come experience it for yourself!