Looking for some unique Ottawa getaways? We have 23 suggestions for Ottawa travellers to discover the city's cozy side, one microadventure at a time.
I am not adventurous. Nope, not one bit. Sure, I talk a good game and occasionally do things which other people might consider a bit daunting, like walking across Victoria Falls Bridge or kayaking in the Saguenay Fjord, but I think we all know the truth. Deep down, I'll always be the girl who caused a commotion in the Athens Meat Market and braced for an attack from non-existent wild pigs in Hawaii. I'm scared of adventure and (...I like to think...) adventure is a bit scared of me. However, a conversation with a friend has completely re-framed things for me. I've been introduced to the world of microadventures! And I think it's the perfect thing for Ottawa getaways.
The phrase microadventure has been popularized by Alastair Humphreys in his book Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes. The book describes a microadventure as something "close to home, cheap, simple, short and 100% guaranteed to refresh your life. A microadventure takes the spirit of a big adventure and squeezes it into a day or even a few hours." That's perfect for a city like Ottawa and, come to think of it, it's a bit of a familiar concept.
Hang on a second. That sounds like what I do. That sounds like what I do ALL. THE. TIME. I like things that are cheap, simple, short, and refreshing (aka COZY things!). Could it be that I've been an adventurer - and a trendy adventurer at that! - all along? Since the spirit of Humphrey's microadventures focus on this close to home, here are my favourite microadventures for those seeking Ottawa getaways.
In Perth, Ontario, restaurants don't just take the cake. They also make the pie! Here are some excellent places to eat.
The community of Perth, Ontario is just a short, one hour drive from my home in Ottawa but it's in a class all of its own when it comes to food. The handsome, historic town of 6,000 boasts a long list of restaurants, bakeries, pubs, and cafes tucked into the fetching limestone buildings of its downtown core. Always one to eagerly form neighborly bonds, I set out to Perth with two friends, a pair of stretchy pants, and a cooler in the trunk of the car to keep any perishable purchases preserved. While many foodie quests begin with savory appetizers and conclude with dessert, this trip would be happening in reverse. At the very top of my list was a visit to the Perth Pie Co's new headquarters, a delicious pilgrimage I'll be making again and again. If you're in search of Perth, Ontario, restaurants, I hope you'll follow in my footsteps for at least part of your quest, as my experience was absolutely delicious!
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.
Planning for some business travel in Ottawa? 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!
Canada's most ambitious landscape art project takes several heartwarming turns in Gatineau.
A prairie buffalo looks up from his meal of tender grass shoots, looking calm and serene despite the heat of the day and the thickness of his woolly coat. He's perfectly at ease and utterly unperturbed by the proximity of a nearby polar bear, whose sleek, silvery-white fur glistens in the sun. An enormous, stately inuksuk stands between them and presides over their affairs.
Anywhere else, this would be a most curious trio but in downtown Gatineau, Quebec, they couldn't be more at home, for the buffalo, the polar bear, and the inuksuk are made entirely of plants, the latest spectacle from Montreal's innovative landscape art company, Mosaicultures. And in their most ambitious project yet, "MosaiCanada", Gatineau's waterfront Jacques Cartier Park is transformed into "a beautiful historical bouquet" for Canada's 150th anniversary.
(Update: This project has concluded and I hope this post inspires you to search out MosaiCanada installations in the future).
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.
Our vote for the best Indian food in Ottawa? It's the East India Company - in part because Chef Mehra took us behind the scenes and into the tandoori room at his prized restaurant. (Updated in 2022!)
What's our vote for the best Indian food in Ottawa? It's the East India Company - and it's thanks in part to a few secrets we learned behind the scenes! Most chefs are notoriously tight lipped when it comes to sharing their culinary secrets but Chef Nitin Mehra 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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