Invasive zebra mussels have rapidly colonized the Rideau River including the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the nation’s capital, Ottawa. A study published in the Canadian Journal of Zoology is said to be the longest-know monitoring study of this invasive species in a small…
Ottawa is amazing. Put it on your bucket list. You will not be disappointed. Ottawa is the capital of Canada and it is located in southern Ontario, near the city of Montréal and the U.S. border. In fact, when we were planning our Northeast road trip, we had Montreal on our Canadian vacation destinations list and just added a night in Ottawa on whim. It turns out it was actually my favorite city from our whole trip! The downtown is so exciting, accessible, and beautiful. And the absolute best hotel in Ottawa is the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Ottawa because it…
The art of travel these days extends far beyond checking off sights on a bucket list. Visitors are looking for experiences that entice, challenge and immerse. As the world becomes ever closer thanks to technology and the ease of transportation, real life and experiencing local culture are merging into a new type of adventure with endless possibilities.
This new era of travel allows us to challenge our world and ourselves. You can join a charity project in Africa, learning from the locals as you effect change, or you can throw off one career in pursuit of another. Looking for a career change and place to explore your passion? What better way to reorient your life than in a different city or country? Work remotely or explore a culture through the eyes of locals. Rent an Airbnb and live in a real neighborhood rather than a tourist hotel. After all, the sky is the limit!
One institution that is helping people transition careers is Le Cordon Bleu, with its immersive culinary programs at campuses around the world.
One of Canada’s grand hotels offers a winter respite and skating on the famous Rideau Canal
If there’s a single reason to travel to the Canadian capital of Ottawa in the middle of a cold winter, it can be summed up in two words: Rideau Canal. For several months each winter, the 7.8 kilometer serpentine canal that runs through the heart of the city freezes up and becomes the world’s largest skating rink.
Except it isn’t a rink. It’s a proper canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a thoroughfare where families and couples and solo adults of all ages lace up and get their daily exercise. In a country synonymous with hockey, men of all ages wear the requisite black Bauer hockey skates and make like Wayne Gretzky. There are giggling teens in white figure skates and determined moms with speed skates on, pushing strollers that are outfitted with skates instead of wheels.
“Have a good skate,” said a gentlemen of a certain age as I laced up. He had just finished his daily skate, a workout that is capable of keeping you in fighting trim.
You’ve probably guessed that Canada is one of my favourite countries. After exploring the gorgeous spots in Alberta (like those iconic Ice Castles) and delving into west coast city life in Vancouver, I just knew I needed to see every inch of Canada. Though, let’s start with baby steps, eh? After all, it’s the second biggest country in the world! There really are so many things to do in Ottawa and it’s a great starting point to visit so much more of the easterly provinces.
Now, even if it’s your first or fiftieth time in the city, you’ll always find something new and exciting to do (especially with all its buzzing festivals).
Take a look at some of the best things to do in Ottawa and places you shouldn’t miss on your first visit. You’ll love the city!
1.) Explore Parliament Hill
Perched in the heart of Canada’s capital is the gorgeous Gothic-style building that looks similar to that of the Houses of Parliament (in London) and the Parliament Building (in Budapest).
The world’s largest naturally-frozen skating rink has officially opened for its 48th year in Ottawa, allowing travellers to head to Canada’s capital and skate along a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Each year – weather permitting – the Rideau Canal in Canada’s capital freezes over, creating a massive skateway that winds through the city. This year, officials claimed the ice ready for skaters on 5 January.
The canal is a total of 7.8 kilometres and the official ice safety committee tested a stretch and determined that nearly all of that is ready to welcome those ready to get out on the ice. However, with constantly changing temperatures and ice conditions, anyone hoping to visit should regularly check the status of the ice online. Generally, the canal stays open from January to February or early March.
The massive skating rink welcomes an average of 20,000 visits each day that it is open.
Wanderers at heart will love the 370-plus miles of pathways throughout Ottawa that pass some of the major sites of the city. Many of these miles are found along the two main routes, the Ottawa River and the Rideau Canal. For the fitness trackers out there, that’s a lot of steps for your FitBit to count!
Lace up your walking shoes and hit one of these top routes.
The Ottawa River Walking Path
Distance: 3 miles, one way
Make your way to the Bytown Museum in downtown Ottawa, where this path begins. You can stop inside the museum for a background on the history of the city or get your walk started by following the path west along the river.
Look up to your left and you’ll see imposing, Gothic-style buildings on the hill. That’s the parliament of Canada, where politicians debate all things Canadian society.