So maybe you’re planning a visit to Ottawa over the holiday season… or maybe you live here and are looking for some suggestions of what to see and do. This is a starting guide of what awaits — watch for updates as December progresses!
Everybody loves free stuff, especially when there are so many other demands on your wallet! Be sure to wander the downtown Ottawa and Gatineau streets between December 2, 2010 and January 7, 2011 and admire the Christmas Lights Across Canada program — more than 300,000 coloured lights decorate Parliament Hill, the National War Memorial and other scenic sites.
It doesn’t cost anything to window shop — and some of the best can be done in the ByWard Market neighbourhood. For the three weekends before Christmas (Dec. 4-19; 12-4pm), you can also get in the spirit by singing Christmas carols (songsheets are provided) on a free horse-drawn carriage ride through the Market’s streets. Other choirs have been invited to sing during the same times at the corner of George Street and ByWard Market Square — donations are welcome.
You can celebrate the Winter Solstice at the Canada Science and Technology Museum on Tuesday, December 21 with a FREE stargazing party — but dress warmly because the event is only outdoors (7pm).
WHAT’S OPEN ON CHRISTMAS DAY?
Most people have Christmas Day off as a holiday, but there are a few things you can do: stroll the grounds of Parliament Hill, enjoy some excitement at the Casino du Lac-Leamy, watch reunions at the Ottawa International Airport, go tobogganing in a local park (weather permitting), or grab a drink or a snack at a local hotel.
A few examples:
Grill 41 in the Lord Elgin Hotel offers a plated Christmas dinner table d’hôte (4 courses) for $49 on both December 24 and 25 — and a plated New Year’s Eve dinner table d’hôte (5 courses) for $69 on December 31.
Lane’s Restaurant in the Holiday Inn & Suites is open on December 25 and on Boxing Day (December 26) as of 11:00am, as well as on December 31 and January 1.
101 Café (in the Crowne Plaza Ottawa offers a five-course meal with holiday entertainment and dancing on December 31 and a January 1 New Year’s Day breakfast buffet.
As I mentioned, this is a first post — watch for more info as we get closer to the holidays! Or post your own suggestions below!
ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX, 27 York Street, Ottawa.
The Nightclub at the Edge of the Universe.
We always open on Christmas Day. Here’s why…
When I lived in Toronto many years ago (in the ’70′s) and was attending York University, I didn’t have anywhere to spend Christmas Day, so I aimlessly walked down Yonge Street. At first I felt alone, because it seemed like everyone else had somewhere to go, some family to be with. But as I walked and walked I realized that there were many other people who were like me. I found myself saying ‘Merry Christmas’ over and over and having such interesting conversations with people who, like me, also had no Christmas plans and I began to ENJOY that walk and the way it made me FEEL.
Years later, when Zaphod’s was on Rideau Street (in the ’80′s), I was living in an apartment on Daly Street, furnished with just a sofa, coffee table and a bed. A pretty sad existence, but one that my customers did not realize. Once again with nothing to do on Christmas Day I decided, since it was my club, I could open up Zaphod’s and just have some quiet drinks and listen to some tunes by myself. LOUD.
But a strange thing happened. There was a knock on the front door. A regular customer dropped by. I let him in. Then another came. And another. And it wasn’t just people who were alone that came. Friends who had already eaten Christmas dinner came to offer best wishes. Friends brought out-of-town friends, and relatives. And people started calling more friends. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. And soon, we had a party happening.
So that’s why I keep Zaphod’s open on Christmas Day.
Come if you have nowhere to go. But mostly come because now you HAVE SOMEWHERE TO GO!
Awesome, can you post the address?!
I apologize for not responding in time. If you were referring to the address of Zaphod Beeblebrox, it’s 27 York Street (found in the first line of the first response to this posting).
If you’re referring to addresses for all the other places mentioned in the posting, you may not have noticed that each location was hyperlinked to their respective websites — which would list addresses, phone numbers, and in some cases, menus and prices.
I chose to do it that way so that you’d be assured of getting the most up-to-date information.
I hope you had a very pleased New Year nonetheless!