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Precious Prize to Ottawa

18 Sep

Every now and again, we’re happy to highlight great comments we get from our visitors, so please consider this guest post from Susan Pottery, who was the lucky winner of our CBC’s Q contest this spring. Susan was gracious enough to send us the following emails and images, which are beautiful, by the way.  Thanks, Susan – come back any time!

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As summer comes to a close I am thinking of the wonderful time that I had in Ottawa thanks to Ottawa Tourism. Spring in Vancouver had been particularly cool and rainy this year so escaping to Ottawa for two weeks was incredible. Sitting on the patio at a restaurant in the market late in the evening was particularly memorable. I couldn’t believe how warm it was, almost tropical.

To be in Ottawa for Canada Day was remarkable. I felt very patriotic watching the fireworks from the Ottawa River. I also felt particularly lucky to be staying at the Arc Hotel during the Jazz Festival and thoroughly enjoyed the after hours music at the hotel. All in all it was a wonderful visit that left a lasting impression on me and my sister. Please pass on my thanks to the rest of the staff. I have attached some photos that we took. Ottawa is such a beautiful city and very photogenic.

Thanks again! Susan Pottery

 

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?

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.

New water taxi service links Ottawa – Gatineau – Casino

16 Sep

The Gatineau dock (with beautiful view of Parliament Hill) for Au feel de l'eau's new environmentally friendly electric aquabus.

A new water taxi service is linking sites along the Ottawa and Gatineau Rivers. Au feel de l’eau operates a pollution-free electric boat that can hold up to 12 passengers, 2 wheelchairs and 4 bicycles.

Until October 9, it departs each morning at 9am from the Casino du Lac-Leamy, and arrives at the Ottawa wharf (located where the Rideau Canal empties into the Ottawa River, near the Bytown Museum) around 10:00am. At 10:15am, it begins to shuttle back and forth between Ottawa and a site on the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River near the Canadian Museum of Civilization until 12:20 when it departs Ottawa for the Casino again.

At 1:30pm, it leaves the Casino and between 2:35 and 6:15pm, it shuttles back-and-forth between Ottawa and Gatineau. The final run from Ottawa to the Casino departs at 6:15pm, arriving at 7:15pm.

If weather conditions permit, the company will continue the Ottawa-Gatineau shuttles for an additional week, until October 16. In 2012, the service will run between May and October.

The cost is $5 per person (tax included) for the Ottawa-Gatineau shuttles and $15 per person for the Ottawa-Casino shuttles.

The company also offers private group bookings.

UPDATE (September 18): Until further notice, the water taxi will operate in the afternoon only!

Ottawa Race Weekend and Great Glebe Garage Sale

26 May

Two great options for visitors this weekend.

On Saturday, May 28, the famous Great Glebe Garage Sale takes place. An entire neighbourhood, known as the Glebe, holds a garage sale at the same time. The area stretches roughly south of Highway 417 (known as the Queensway — check out an earlier post on “Do you Speak Ottawan?“), west and north of the Rideau Canal and east of Bronson Avenue.

If you’re a true bargain hunter, you’ll arrive early — it’s not unusual to see people roaming at 6am! — but there are bargains to be had throughout the day. Your best bet is to take public transit as the streets get very congested with cars looking for parking spots. Remember, too, that Bank Street — the main thoroughfare — is under construction but that the businesses along it are open and some are offering special deals. Happy bargain hunting!

It's a fun, festival atmosphere at the Ottawa Race Weekend. Photo credit: Victah Sailo

Later that day and on Sunday, May 29, you’ll want to check out Ottawa Race Weekend. It’s Canada’s largest running event, attracting about 40,000 people in its various events. On Saturday afternoon at 4:00, there’s the family-friendly 2K race, leaving from Elgin Street and Laurier Avenue West. At 5:00pm, it’s the 5K and at 6:30pm, it’s the 10K, leaving from roughly the same location. Check out the course maps for details for all races.

On Sunday, it’s the wheelchair marathon at 6:55am, the marathon at 7:00am, and the half-marathon at 9:00am. At 8:00am, children will run the last segment of the “Y Ottawa Kids Marathon” — where they ran one-kilometre distances in the preceding weeks to eventually run a total of 42.2km.

If you’ve never heard the sound of thousands of shoes slappin’ the pavement, it’s quite something. Go on out and cheer on the runners — they certainly appreciate it!

Tulip Ball a colourful success!

10 May

Guests were greeted by Daniel Richer, Town Crier, and a model wearing one of the spectacular floral gowns.

The Canadian Tulip Festival launched this year’s event with a sparkling Tulip Ball on Friday, May 6 at the gorgeous new Ottawa Convention Centre. Take a look at some amazing photos from that night, featuring one-of-a-kind floral gowns and more!

A gold tulip supplied by the Royal Canadian Mint was under careful watch at the event.

The gowns were created by Joel Marc Frappier, MFA, CAFA and Sylvie Bigras. Students from La Cité collégiale were also involved.

The black tie affair attracted an impressive crowd, who enjoyed fine dining and a silent auction, as well as the impressive view of Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal.

There's a woman in there somewhere!

The 59th edition of the Canadian Tulip Festival continues its run until Monday, May 23. And rest assured that there are still lots of tulips left to bloom. You can book your Tulip Celebration getaway through Ottawa Tourism.

There was a definite safari feeling to this tulip gown.

This whimsical gown is ready for inclement weather -- it incorporates a transparent umbrella!

Colour was not in short supply at the Tulip Ball!

Jane’s Walk Ottawa shows off diverse neighbourhoods

6 May

One Jane's Walk will explore Ottawa's Little Italy neighbourhood, including viewing frescos by Guido Nincheri, called the Michelangelo of North America.

Looking for a fun thing to do this weekend — beyond attending the first weekend of the Canadian Tulip Festival?

Why not participate in a Jane’s Walk? You’ll explore neighbourhoods in Ottawa and the region on foot with knowledgable people sharing their passions. For example, local author and naturalist Katharine Fletcher leads a tour of the Central Experimental Farm; you can explore the hidden gems of oft-overlooked Bronson Avenue; meet the Cats of Parliament Hill; or learn to forage for wild food in the heart of the city.

Check out the full schedule of walks, including some offered en français, offered on both Saturday and Sunday, May 7-8.  Best of all? The walks are free!