I'm playing detective and discovering new things to do in and around Ottawa.
When the cat is away, the mouse will play... or something like that! This week, Ryan is traveling to warmer shores to do something I would never be brave enough for (okay, he's on a cruise - but that's a boat and we all know that boats top my list of travel enemies. So the bravery comment stands). Regardless, it's good motivation for me to plan my own amazing staycation. And it's even better that it's happening during Ottawa's festive Winterlude season.
Ottawa is a wonderful winter travel destination and it's the perfect place for a February vacation or staycation. But, I must admit, skating and other outdoor activities aren't always my strong suit. But that's not going to stop me from having a memorable time in my hometown! You don't have to strap on some skates to join in my staycation plan. Here's what's making me love Ottawa lately.
PS Canadian readers, we have a special giveaway for you at the end!
The Jigsaw Escape Room in Ottawa's Byward Market was my latest test of nerve!
Let's hear it for all the wimpy travelers! I'm an anti-adventurist, through and through. I'm not bold nor daring. I can't handle the wild side of life and things that are seemingly innocuous to the average traveler, say, like visiting a butcher shop or taking a fast boat ride, carry the same heart pounding intensity for me as, say, naked bungee jumping does for all the other travel writers. This is important background information for, as a true anti-adventurist, I would normally never find myself in such an unpredictable and devil-may-care situation as visiting an Escape Room, but I was under the influence. The influence of two nefarious friends that is, Sandy from Canadian Blog House and Ann from Kickass Living. With these devious women acting as a corrupting influence, I threw caution to the wind and entered an Escape Room for the first time.
Here's how to mix business with pleasure in Canada's capital city.
Millions of people travel to Ottawa each year on business. Politics, law, high tech, conferences, universities - some trips last just a few hours, while others go on for a week or more. But even if you're on a tight schedule, Ottawa offers plenty of attractions and amenities for business travelers to enjoy. So whether you have a day or even just an hour to spare, make sure to visit some of the city's best attractions before you leave - and check out our insider tips that will have you getting around town like a true local!
Ottawa's culinary scene is sensational.
Note from Vanessa: We're thrilled to showcase this guest post on Ottawa's foodie scene from Shannon of Shan's View from Here. I've seen Shannon's culinary chops first hand when traveled together to explore Ontario's Prince Edward County and can't imagine anyone better to report on Ottawa's best food experiences first hand.
Culinary tourism is defined as the pursuit of a unique and memorable eating and drinking experience. Whether you live in Ottawa or are visiting to celebrate Canada's 150, you will find a vast amount of culinary experiences. Some experiences will have you strapped into a race car seat and hoisted in the air, while other experiences will immerse you in an Ottawa neighborhood and its flavours. Ottawa is growing into a culinary destination in its own right and offers memorable once in a lifetime foodie adventures.
When pop art, silos, puppies, and deep fried treats come together, you have an unforgettable day trip from Ottawa.
What do you get when you combine the rural Ontario countryside, farmland, and grain silos, with massive, street-art inspired murals soaked in social commentary and diverse inspiration? Why, Popsilos, of course! This truly unique art project, unlike anything else in Canada, proves the old adage that opposites attract. And I can't think of a better way to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday. Here's what Popsilo's inaugural day looked like.
There's great fishing in Niagara Falls - but most people overlook it. Here are the best fishing spots, the best fishing boat tour guides, and info on the kinds of (delicious!) fish you can catch in and around Niagara Falls Canada.
One of the most popular activities on a North American "bucket list" is to visit Niagara Falls, Canada, to explore the waterfalls and ride on a Hornblower Niagara Cruise. And no wonder! The falls really do live up to all the hype. But I'm going to be bold and suggest that there are other bodies of water around Niagara Canada that are equally worthy of exploration.
There's a reason why this part of Canada is referred to as the 8th Wonder of the World - there is so much to see and discover. And (no surprises here!) there's a reason why I'm so particularly fond of the Niagara River, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario. It all starts with food!
The food in southern Ontario, and especiallyaround the Niagara Region, is absolutely amazing. The micro climate of the region means milder winters and favorable conditions, the kind that coaxes finicky grapes and coddles delicate tomatoes. But while I love the fresh produce and local wine (and cheese..... and preserves.... and ciders.......) one of my absolute favourite things to eat in this region is the freshly caught fish.
Have you explored your Long Point Provincial Park camping options. You'll love our review of this beautiful park, and our favourite campground, Turtle Dunes.
When I was recently asked what one of my favorite places in Southern Ontario was, Long Point Provincial Park immediately came to mind. As one of Ontario's oldest provincial parks, and the only one to be located in a designated World Biosphere Preserve, Long Point Provincial Park is long indeed on bragging rights. And Long Point Provincial Park camping is the perfect way to experience summer - it's an escape filled with sun, sand, swimming, and more.
Every summer we join friends for our "big" annual camping trip, lasting anywhere from several days to nearly a week, and Long Point is a favourite spot among all of our preferred destinations. It checks all our usual camping boxes (clean sites, clean washrooms, a nice blend of lively but not TOO lively atmosphere) and yet it offers so much more than that.
Here are our five favourite things about Long Point Provincial Park.
We're dabbling in pharology in Northern Ontario! If you're looking for things to do in Thunder Bay, this post is for you.
I have an announcement that might shock my readers: My husband is a pharologist. But not to worry! While it may sound ominous, a pharologist is not the same as a philanderer - not even close! A pharalogist's love affairs are confined to lighthouses and pharology is the scientific study of lighthouses and signal lights.
Ryan's pharaological tendencies are strictly of the amateur kind, falling in love with lighthouses all around the world. But we don't have to travel far from home to see them. Canada has hundreds of lighthouses - and not all of them are on the ocean coast! A handful call Ryan's childhood stomping ground of the mighty Lake Superior home and one in particular, Thunder Bay's Porphyry Lighthouse, is an especially fine destination.
Chef Mehra took us behind the scenes and into the tandoori room at his prized restaurant.
Most chefs are notoriously tight lipped when it comes to sharing their culinary secrets but Chef Nitin Mehra of Ottawa's East India Company couldn't spill the beans even if he wanted to. The exact recipe for his restaurant's famous garam masala is a secret guarded so tightly that there's only one person on earth who knows the exact formula - his mother. Technically, it's not even her recipe. She inherited it from Chef Mehra's great grandmother on the day she passed away.
If you get goosebumps just thinking of how close that recipe came to being forever lost, you're not alone. Talking with Chef Mehra gave me amazing insight into the careful crafts of the culinary world, the passion and discipline that are poured into every sauce, and the role that family, tradition, community, and care play into making good food taste great.
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