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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?

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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!

Winterlude packing guide

31 Jan

So, you’re coming to Ottawa for Winterlude this February. Glad to hear it!

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!

Giant ice slides at Jacques Cartier Park during Winterlude are tons of fun -- when you're dressed warmly!

WINTERLUDE PACKING LIST

  • 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 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 freez! Bring extra batteries as the cold sometimes drains them faster than normal usage.

WINTERLUDE TIPS

  • Once you’ve spent all day outside being active, you deserve a reward. Indulge in Taste of Winterlude, a series of culinary special events, including winemakers’ dinners and walkabout winter feasts (where you walk from restaurant to restaurant for each course of a multi-course meal).
  • Use the SnoBus to get around. This FREE service runs every 10-20 minutes on each Saturdays and Sunday during Winterlude and connects all three official sites (along the Rideau Canal Skateway, Confederation Park 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  10am to 5:30pm on Sundays. The blue and white STO buses run between Jacques-Cartier Park and Confederation Park on Saturdays and Sundays 10am to 5:30 pm
  • There are 4 new Chalets (heated places to put on your skates or take a break) along 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!
  • Most women in Ottawa arrive at parties with a shoe bag. You wear your boots to get to where you’re going, then you slip on your knock-’em-dead pumps once you’re there. Practical and sexy!

If you’ve got other tips and tricks to share, mention them below!

Ottawa’s Rink of Dreams

26 Jan

Rink of Dream's Opening Ceremony

In a sea of Sens jerseys Ottawa’s Rink of Dreams was officially opened last night at City Hall, just in time for the NHL All Star Weekend. Residents and visitors to the city will be able to enjoy free ice skating in Canada’s Capital from mid-November to March thanks to the refrigeration unit that keeps the ice in great skating condition up to 10 degrees C.

The Rink of Dreams hosts a heated change hut that’s open 7 days a week from 8am to 11pm. In the evening, skaters will glide the ice that’s three-quarters the size of an NHL rink and illuminated by colourful LED lights around the perimeter.

So grab your skates and lace up!

Ottawa fun during the NHL All-Star Weekend!

24 Jan

Ottawa is buzzing with excitement waiting for the best hockey players in the National Hockey League to show off their skills during the 2012 NHL All-Star weekend!

Whether you are lucky enough to have tickets to the game itself – or the Skills Competition or the player draft – or if you’ll be watching on TV, you’ll feel the excitement in the air. Read on for a taste of local celebrations!

FAN FAIR AT THE CONVENTION CENTRE

You’ve probably heard of the Fan Fair to be held at the sexy new Ottawa Convention Centre, right downtown overlooking the Rideau Canal Skateway.

This family-friendly spot features interactive games and attractions, trophy and memorabilia displays, and special appearances. Ticketsare $10 before Jan. 25, $15 afterwards and at the door. Great food and drink includes a yummy chili bar, pulled pork nachos, designer sliders, as well as classics such as Montreal smoked meat, carved roast beef on a bun…plus it wouldn’t be a real Ottawa party without poutine!

Visit the historic skating rink at Rideau Hall

Also worth checking out is the “outdoor patio” on Colonel By Drive, with the Molson Bar and BeaverTails stand. You might even catch a glimpse of the Stanley Cup, or see some stars of the future at the NHL Junior Skills National Championships!

RIDEAU HALL FUN

Don’t miss the Winter Celebration at Rideau Hall, the home and workplace of the Governor General of Canada, the Right Honourable David Johnston. On Saturday, January 28 between 12:30 and 4:00pm, you can experience Nordic sports and tradition through a variety of free outdoor activities, including dog sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating on the historic outdoor rink, and more.

From 3:00 to 5:00pm, visitors can tour the historic residence and the temporary exhibit, 75 Years of ‘GGreat’ Books: the Governor General’s Literary Awards, showcasing more than 600 works that have won the award since 1936.

At 3:00pm on the outdoor skating rink, the Governor Genearl will launch the first-ever NHL Hockey is for Everyone Program Centre in Ottawa with CBC TV’s George Stroumboulopoulos and others.

ACTIVITIES

  • Ottawa Walking Tours is offering a 20% discount on their Historical Highlights 2-hour walking tour on Saturday, January 28 (10:15am) for participants who wear their favourite NHL team jersey during the tour. (Discount doesn’t apply to those without jerseys.) Instead of $15, it’s $12 per person wearing a jersey. Reservations at 613-799-1774 or online are required and the deal only applies to cash purchases, not pre-paid credit card transactions. Participants must wear their NHL jersey during the tour.
  • Rinaldo Hair Designers & Spa on George Street is offering a 15% discount off all spa services (excluding massage) between January 26 and 29,2012.

FOOD AND DRINK

  • Are you attending the game, the Skills Competition or the Fan Fair? During All-Star weekend, show your ticket stub at the Southern Cross Grill on Queen (adjacent to the Radisson Hotel Ottawa)  and everyone in your party receives appetizers for half-price or, if you’re there early, 20% off your breakfasts!
  • The Honest Lawyer in the ByWard Market neighbourhood will be giving away prizes and offering drink specials during Saturday’s Skills Competition (7-9pm) and trivia prizes after the game. On Sunday, they’ll open early (at 4pm) and give out prizes for trivia and prizes after every goal –two prizes for every goal scored by an Ottawa Senators player. 
  • At Midway Family Fun Park, any customer who wears a Senators jersey or t-shirt is entitled to 50% off a large pizza at Max’s Bistro (January 26-29, 2012).
  • Both Mambo Nuevo Latino and Kinki Asian Fusion are extending their special Winter Bites menus throughout the All-Star weekend.
  • Cornerstone Bar and Grill has a series of food specials, both à la carte and table d’hôte offerings. They’re also offering drink specials.
  • Buffalo wings and nachos are just some of the specials on offer at the Holiday Inn Plaza la Chaudière’s Bar des Chutes in Gatineau.
  • While dining at Santé Restaurant, overlooking the corner of Rideau Street and Sussex Drive, you may very well catch a glimpse of a player or other VIP

How do you plan to spend All-Star Weekend?

Last chance to vote for your NHL All-Stars to come to Ottawa!

3 Jan

Hurry – today is the last day to cast your ballot for your favourite players to join the National Hockey League 2012 All-Star Game, to be held in Ottawa on Sunday, January 29, 2012!

The 2012 NHL All-Star game will be played at Scotiabank Place, home of the Ottawa Senators, but the Fan Fair interactive fun will be at the Ottawa Convention Centre downtown. PHOTO CREDIT: Ottawa Senators Hockey Club

In fact, there are a whole series of fun hockey activities in Ottawa, stretching between January 26 and 29, including the popular NHL All-Star Fan Fair, to be held at the beautiful Ottawa Convention Centre, overlooking the Rideau Canal Skateway!

Fans can go online to vote for up to 3 forwards, 2 defensemen and one goalie — before 11:59pm on Wednesday, January 4. As a bonus, you might win a trip to the game itself!

If that doesn’t work out, consider booking a trip through Ottawa Tourism! Our NHL Scotiabank Fan Fair Weekend Getaway offers accommodation, tickets to the Fan Fair, promotional credits at the Casino du Lac-Leamy and a certificate for a Rideau Centre savings directory!

Fans of the Ottawa Senators have been voting early and often for hometown faves Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Erik Karlsson and Sergei Gonchar to join the all-star squad! Why not join them?

Chris Robinson Travel Show features Ottawa Dec. 24

21 Dec

If you’re in the Toronto area, tune in to NewsTalk 1010 from 10:00 to 11:00am on Saturday, December 24 for the Chris Robinson Travel Show‘s feature on Ottawa.

You’ll learn more about the plans for Winterlude and other winter celebrations, post-Christmas shopping options, relaxing at Holtz Spa, staying at the Fairmont Château Laurier, dining at Le Cordon Bleu Bistro @ Signatures, visiting the National Gallery of Canada and the Canada Aviation & Space Museum and more!

To whet your appetite, check out the video at the bottom of Chris Robinson’s homepage: http://www.chrisrobinsontravelshow.ca/