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!
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.
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!
March Break visitors to the Canadian Museum of Nature this week got a first look at the new exhibit, Whales Tohorā, which runs from March 2 to September 3, 2012. This exhibit is on loan from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Tohorā, means “whale” in Māori, and the Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. Whale-bone treasures, such as weapons and adornments, that the Māori produced reveal the significance of whales to them and reflect the exhibition’s cultural expression of the relationship between the two groups.
Whales Tohorā explores the diversity, biology and adaptation of whales to life in the oceans and also on the human impacts on whales such as the threats of fishing nets, foreign debris, predators and boats. A stunning component of this exhibition is the massive 17.8-metre, fully articulated sperm-whale skeleton that gives a real sense of the sperm whale’s size as the largest toothed predator on the planet!
The exhibition’s Whale Lab is full of interactive science:
- Children can crawl through a life-sized replica of the heart of the largest living creature—the blue whale.
- The extraordinary evolutionary journey of whales from land to the sea is shown by casts of fossil whale ancestors.
- Visitors can tune in to a range of whale sounds and discover how scientists and amateur trackers identify individual whales on their migration through the Pacific Ocean.
- The Whale Lab also features Search and Destroy, an experience that takes visitors to the ocean depths on a hunt for a giant squid, re-created from authentic data and sounds collected from a real sperm whale.
Visitors of any age will find something of interest in this awe inspiring exhibit that explores the undersea world of whales and brings them to life with cultural storytelling, intriguing objects and interactive science. For more information on the exhibit visit the Canadian Museum of Nature website or, to book your getaway package that includes a visit to the Whales Tohorā exhibit, visit www.ottawatourism.ca.
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.
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!
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.
- 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 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!
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.
- 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?
When y0u think of ice skating in Ottawa, you probably think of the famous Rideau Canal Skateway, snaking 7.8 km (4.8 miles) through downtown, or maybe you’re already dreaming of skating on the Rink of Dreams, that will open later this month in front of City Hall. Or maybe you learned to skate or play shinny (hockey) on one of the 247 (yes, 247!) outdoor rinks in City of Ottawa parks.
But were you aware of the historic outdoor rink at Rideau Hall, the home and workplace of every one of Canada’s Governors General since Confederation? (The Governor General is Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in Canada.)
Built in 1872 by Lord Dufferin (Governor General at the time), the rink offers free public skating on Saturdays and Sundays from January 6 to March 11, 2012 as long as the weather cooperates! Groups of 20 people or more can also reserve certain times throughout the week and that’s just what a group of Ottawa Tourism staff and friends did recently. See the video below!
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!
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?
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/
As December 25 fast approaches, you may enjoy this “Christmas card to the internet” written and performed by our Director of Digital Marketing, Nick Iannitti, and a very photogenic cat.