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Ottawa à vélo – rien de plus beau!

11 Sep

Des pistes cyclables longent le canal Rideau dans le centre-ville d’Ottawa

Vous voulez visiter la capitale du Canada et prendre de l’air frais en même temps? Avec plus de 180 kilomètres de sentiers récréatifs joignant les espaces naturels, les parcs, les jardins et les sites nationaux, Ottawa est une ville de rêve pour les amateurs de cyclisme! Voici quelques options :

Pour cyclistes expérimentés et indépendants :

Vous pouvez apporter votre propre vélo (à bord d’un train-vélo de Via Rail peut-être?) et planifier votre trajet à l’aide d’outils variés. La Commission de la capitale nationale(CCN), l’organisation qui gère la majeure partie des sentiers de la capitale, consacre une section complète de leur site web au cyclisme. On y présente entre-autres les outils suivants:

  • Le document La capitale du vélo: Cette carte, qui présente un survol des sentiers de la région, est disponible de façon numérique ou imprimée.
  • La Carte du réseau cyclable – Ottawa-Gatineau : Cette carte présente le réseau de façon plus détaillée. Ce document est aussi disponible de façon numérique ou imprimé.
  • La carte Google Maps : La nouvelle option « vélo » de Google Maps vous donne accès au réseau cyclable de la capitale par le biais de votre ordinateur ou votre téléphone intelligent.

Pour cyclistes avec habiletés et intérêts variés :

Des cyclistes prennent avantage des vélos-dimanches sur la promenade de Sir-John-A.-Macdonald (anciennement la promenade de l’Outaouais)

Il y a des pistes pour tous! Des pistes faciles et pavées, des pistes cendrées, des pistes de montagne dans le parc de la Gatineau et plus encore. Sans oublier Les vélos-dimanches Alcatel-Lucent lors desquels plus de 50 kilomètres de promenades à Ottawa et dans le parc de la Gatineau sont fermées à la circulation automobile pour les cyclistes, patineurs à roues alignées, coureurs et marcheurs.

Plusieurs compagnies à Ottawa offrent leurs services pour faciliter vos randonnées:

  • Louez un vélo (avec casque et cadenas) par heure, par jour ou par semaine chez Vélocation. Ils offrent des vélos de toutes sortes : de course, tandem, de montagne et pour enfants. Ils offrent aussi des randonnées guidées et des suggestions de trajet.
  • Faites une randonnée avec Ottawa Cycling Tours en utilisant votre propre vélo ou une location. Ils offrent des randonnées adaptées aux besoins et aux goûts de tous. Ils peuvent personnaliser des itinéraires, ou vous pouvez choisir une de leurs randonnées prédéterminées (par exemple: visiter des brasseries; longer la rivière des Outaouais; se rendre à Carp pour visiter le Diefenbunker.)

Une des nombreuses pistes cyclables de la capitale – celle-ci longe la rivière des Outaouais, sous la colline du Parlement

Pour ceux qui veulent un mode de transport facile et abordable :

Un vélo “Bixi” devant les fameuses sculptures de pierres équilibrées aux rapides Remic le long de la rivière des Outaouais

BIXI de la capitale est la solution parfaite pour ceux qui veulent faire de courts déplacements d’un site touristique à l’autre. Ce système de vélos en libre-service compte 250 vélos et 25 stations situées à proximité d’un grand nombre de lieux touristiques de la capitale. La tarification encourage une utilisation fréquente et de courte durée. Une autre façon idéale de se déplacer au centre-ville de la capitale!

Avec tant d’options, pourquoi pas visiter Ottawa sur deux roues?

Ottawa’s First BAWI Festival

20 Aug

Ottawa BAWI Festival August 2012

Every spring and summer along the Ottawa River by Remic Rapids people come to marvel at John Felice Ceprano’s stone balanced art. This past weekend, August 18-19 2012, the area was further transformed during the first ever Ottawa Balanced Art World International (BAWI) Festival. Visitors stood and pointed in awe at the creations by 10 artists from Canada, USA and Italy and were further entertained and inspired by performers in music, dance, theatre and poetry.

Visitors to the site can continue to enjoy these creations for the rest of the year; but once the ice and snow comes, these structures are destroyed! Next spring, Mr. Ceprano will be back, creating new works of art with the stones, as he has done since 1986.

Ottawa BAWI Festival Artist August 2012

Ottawa BAWI Festival Artist August 2012

Ottawa BAWI Festival August 2012

Ottawa BAWI Festival August 2012

Zumba on Parliament Hill in Ottawa!

1 Aug

On Monday, July 27, a free zumba class took place on the lawn in front of Canada’s Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. What better way to get some exercise than in the sunshine outside a gorgeous heritage building? Certainly, some Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers thought so. Check it out!

WANTED: Artists on Canada Day in Ottawa!

7 May

Ottawa throws one heck of a party each July 1. That’s Canada Day and the entire region erupts into a wild celebration of all things Canada…. There truly is no better place to be in the country on Canada Day than in Canada’s Capital Region.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — aka Will and Kate — were the guests of honour at Ottawa’s Canada Day celebrations in 2011. CREDIT: Central Image Agency

A big part of the celebration is organized by the National Capital Commission, including the noon and evening shows on Parliament Hill, the massive fireworks display and fun, interactive programming in Major’s Hill Park in Ottawa and Jacques-Cartier Park in nearby Gatineau, Québec.

The NCC (as it’s known) has issued a call to artists to create some unique artwork for Major’s Hill Park for this year’s celebration. Check out the details on their website.

They’re looking for something collaborative — meaning a temporary creation that would be built or made by the artist and members of the public as the day progressed; sounds like fun!

The details of Canada Day 2012 won’t be released for a few more weeks but stay tuned — it’ll be a 145th birthday party to remember!

Great Ottawa patios

19 Mar

Unbelievably, summer has sprung early in Ottawa. Not just timid spring but full-on, t-shirt-wearing, outdoor-dining summer! The next few days will be solidly in the 20s Celsius (that’s 70s Fahrenheit) so we thought we’d celebrate with a list of some of Ottawa’s greatest patios (NOTE: we can’t guarantee they’ll all be open this week but clip and save for future reference!).

BYWARD MARKET NEIGHBOURHOOD

This is patio central. If there’s a stretch of sidewalk available in front of a restaurant, there will be a patio. Some favourites?

Romantic: The back patio at Murray Street Kitchen Wine Charcuterie is a slice of heaven. It’s sheltered from the street with interesting art and it becomes progressively shadier as the summer progresses (grapevines gradually fill in the overhangs). The Black Thorn Café on Clarence Street has a front patio that’s nice, but walk into the cobblestone courtyard and you’ll find their spacious back patio overlooks a sprightly fountain (in summer), some greenspace and the tin façade of a house mounted on the imposing stone walls of the Sussex Drive buildings.

Social: Still romantic but a bit more social are the four restaurants that share the Clarendon Courtyard behind the shops on Sussex Drive between George Street and York Street. Fine dining awaits at the hip Social, the musically diverse Black Tomato, the inventive Courtyard Restaurant and the old-school Italian Mamma Grazzi’s Kitchen.

The Cornerstone's location means it gets lots of sun!

Sunniest: The Cornerstone Bar & Grill is on the southeast corner of Clarence Street and William Street and gets tons of sun. Likewise, the Earl of Sussex patio (Sussex Drive at Murray Street) benefits from a particularly sun-filled location. You can chase the sun through about 5 different outdoor locations at the Heart & Crown pub — the Irish Village complex has an interior courtyard, sidewalk locations on Clarence and Parent and upper and lower decks overlooking Murray Street.

Best People-Watching: The Aulde Dubliner and Pour House at George Street and the William Street Mall give you a great look at the action in the neighbourhood — the Pour House in particular as it’s on the second floor (use it to gauge how long the lineup is at the nearby BeaverTails stand!). At the same corner, you can indulge in pizzas and pastas from The Grand Pizzeria and Bar while watching the world walk by. Meanwhile, Luxe Bistro at the corner of York Street and ByWard Market Square — and the Empire Grill at Clarence and Parent — are both prime people-watching spots, too.

Rooftops: You’ll love the music at the Hard Rock Café on York Street and the views from the roof of Stella Osteria on Clarence Street are impressive, too!

OTHER NEIGHBOURHOODS

Elgin Street is another great nightlife area, and the patio at D’Arcy McGee’s won’t disappoint, with its million-dollar views of the National War Memorial, Fairmont Château Laurier, National Arts Centre and more. Speaking of the National Arts Centre, their Le Café dining room overlooks the Rideau Canal — perfect for a summer’s evening!

Chinatown is not known for its patios, which makes ZenKitchen‘s that much more enticing.

On Preston Street (Ottawa’s Little Italy), you can whet your whistle at another branch of the Heart & Crown or at Pub Italia — yes, an Italian-themed pub!

The New Edinburgh neighbourhood boosts a huge rooftop at the aptly-named New Edinburgh Pub or you could explore some locally brewed beers at the Clocktower Brew Pub (note: the beers are brewed at the location in the Glebe neighbourhood, which also sports a patio).

Speaking of brewpubs, you could also check out the newly opened Mill Street Brewpub just west of downtown near the Canadian War Museum or venture over to the wonderful Brasseurs du temps in Gatineau, Québec.

Wherever you go, you’ll find a welcoming patio! Share your favourites below in the Comments.

Ode to the Rideau Canal Skateway

8 Feb

I have to admit, I love the Rideau Canal Skateway! I love the feeling of gliding over the ice, seeing my city from a different vantage point, sharing the joys of winter with so many other like-minded souls.

I’m not even that great a skater, but the experience is so unique, it makes me feel more graceful than I really am.

At an Ottawa Tourism Christmas party a couple years ago, we held a contest to “rap” about the Rideau Canal. I decided to write this instead, which I’ve updated and recorded here (the text is below as well).

Maybe you’ll be inspired to create your own ode to the ice….

Ode to the Rideau Canal Skateway
by Jantine Van Kregten

I slide, I glide, I wanna fly down the ice of the Rideau Canal
It’s a Canadian dream, this icicle stream that snakes through my city in a sinuous seam

As I lace up my skates, I think of the dates I’ve done this before
Alone or with friends, my experience tends to make me want more!

Push and glide, push and glide
A rhythm emerges and I’m not discouraged when I’m passed by a posse of partying youths
They laugh and they tease, they bob and they weave
Then disappear in the night, wrapped up in the flight
To a tavern or pub, a shawarma or sub

Push and glide, push and glide,
A rhythm develops, a new charm envelops when my favourite old couple comes skating my way
With an impressive grace, hand-in-hand they can trace
Perfect patterns that show how well they both know
The dips and the grooves, the roughs and the smooths.

Push and glide, push and glide
The rhythm’s extending, any misgivings ending as I get in my groove
Looking around me I see, I’m not alone in my glee
From the BeaverTail noshers to the just stand-and-watchers
There’s an active delight in this cold, starry night.

I skate for the bliss—something not to be missed—
Of cold noses and toeses, of cheeks red like roses, of what one supposes
Winter could be.

For my chilly extremities are an excuse for amenities
To be savoured with neighbours, boast of our labours, indulge in the flavours
Of our favourite bistro.

We toast to the night, the warmth and the light…. and when we just might….
Skate it again!

Beautiful Winterlude fireworks!

6 Feb

Check out the brilliant display of fireworks at the opening ceremonies for the annual Winterlude festival in Ottawa and Canada’s capital region! The video was shot on Friday, February 3, 2012, from just outside the Canadian Museum of Civilization, looking at the Alexandra Bridge, the glass towers of the National Gallery of Canada, the castle-like Fairmont Château Laurier, and the Gothic spires of the Canadian Parliament Buildings.

Enjoy! Winterlude continues until February 20, 2012.