• eat
  • shop
  • see
  • go
  • stay
  • daytrip
  • map
  • calendar
  • transport
  • weather
  • currency
  • tofrom

All across Canada

Hot Shopping

By Suzanne Rent


  • Christmas at the Forum at the Halifax Forum on Windsor Street has been a holiday tradition in the city for 39 years. This three-day festival, which runs from Nov. 4 to 6, offers shoppers a chance to pick up unique gifts, decorations, food, antiques and more. Browse the aisles of this three-building venue for quality arts and crafts made by artisans from around the region. On the Saturday, admission is two-for-one after 5pm.
  • Visit the Christkindlmarket from Dec. 2 to 4 at Alderney Market on downtown Dartmouth’s waterfront, where the Halifax Transit ferries dock. This traditional German market features crafts, toys, and other arts and crafts, but also a lively assortment of holiday entertainment. Take the kids to see the marionettes, carousel, and musical acts.
  • From Nov. 18 to 20, Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council hosts its annual Christmas Show at Pier 23 on Halifax’s waterfront. This show promotes buying local gifts handcrafted by regional artisans. Find the best in textiles, jewelry, as well as arts and crafts made from wood, metal, and glass.
  • The Dalplex Christmas Craft Market is another longstanding holiday favourite. Dating back 30 years, this event features vendors from across Atlantic Canada selling wares such as pottery, toys, food, and woodwork. This year’s event runs from Nov. 25 to 27.
  • From Nov. 11 to 13, take a drive to the Halifax Exhibition Centre on Prospect Road for the Christmas Craft Village. This is another way to support local artisans while finding unique holiday gifts for everyone on your list.


  • Outfit the kids for the season and beyond with a trip to Urban Kids on Chain Lake Drive in Halifax or Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth. This store serves the market for kids from age four to the tween years, and keeps on top of the latest trends in kids’ fashions. Get a complete wardrobe from tops and bottoms, to hoodies and accessories.
  • For kids’ shoes, boots, activewear and gear, stop into Twiggz in Mic Mac Mall. Shop for durable and stylish winter boots, as well as rain boots for the spring season. Pick up gloves, hats, and other winter gear to keep them warm. Dance gear, including leotards, tights, and shoes, are always in stock.


  • Rousseau Chocolatier on Hollis Street serves up handcrafted chocolates made with the finest, freshest, and when possible, locally sourced ingredients. Flavours included everything from peanut butter cranberry to smoky chili. Pick a couple dozen for a gift-wrapped box.
  • Sugar Shok Treat Boutique on Portland Street in Dartmouth has more than 50 types of bulk candy, and chocolate bars from around the world. That’s more than enough to satisfy any sweet tooth. Find funky gifts, including magnets, greeting cards, and home décor. There’s also ice cream served year round.

Editor’s Pick


Make your holiday a celebration of local talent with a visit to Made in the Maritimes Artisan Boutique in Sunnyside Mall or the Hydrostone. Shop the beautiful selection of local, fine art and paintings by artists from around the region. Quirky cushions made of rich textiles feature nautical logos or regional sayings. A beauty section includes products made from natural ingredients.

Hot Shopping Editor’s Pick: Top 5 Handmade Hotspots

Earrings (CJ Tennant) Courtesy of Winnipeg Art Gallery

Earrings (CJ Tennant) Courtesy of Winnipeg Art Gallery

These Manitoba makers craft artisanal items that spark conversation and make a statement.

   Erin Kembel of EMK Clothing designs with style and comfort in mind. Her studio boutique boasts vibrant printed dresses, bags and tops all made in-store by hand. 143 Sherbrook St, 204‑691‑4414, Map 1: R-2

The spacious loft at The Forks Trading Company showcases the work of more than 250 local makers, including plant-based lip balm from Hogwash Bath & Body. 1 Forks Market Rd, 204‑949‑1785, Map 1: Q-5

Fitness fanatics love the versatile workout gear by LBS Yoga & Athletic Wear. Make each sun salutation a style statement in the breathable and stretchy galaxy printed Trixie legging. Home Run Sports, 20 De La Seigneurie Blvd, 204‑255‑7687, Map 2: E-4

Keepsakes Gallery is stocked with the work of Manitoba artists, including floral greeting cards and acrylic paintings by artist Joy Winter-Schmidt. 626.5 West Broadway, 204-295-9257, Map 1: Q-3

An eclectic mix of Canadian-made wares line the shelves at The Gallery Shop. Glitzy earrings by CJ Tennant (pictured) get their shine from a combination of sterling silver and semi-precious stones. 300 Memorial Blvd, 204-786-6641, Map 1: P-3

Hot Shopping for July

web Bishops Landing 2WATERFRONT WARES
After a long walk on the downtown waterfront, visit the shops of Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street. For fine jewelry stop into Frida Custom Jewellry Design to purchase custom pieces. Or if you prefer jewels from the sea, Pearl City offers pearl pieces including necklaces, bracelets, and more. The locally owned and operated Alexa Pope has the latest fashions. And for some sweet treats, stop into Sugah for ice cream or candy or Rum Runners Cake Factory for a rum-filled dessert.

web 105_0572CANDY LANDS
Freak Lunchbox Barrington Street and in Sunnyside Mall in Bedford offer must-stop shopping for summer treats when out exploring the area. This colourful store is like a carnival filled with nostalgic sweets such as Pez, Cracker Jacks, and bottled soda from Pop Shoppe. Buy your treats in bulk from the selection or pick a pre-packaged favourite.
For gourmet treats or a basket of sweet goodies, stop into Sweet Jane’s on Queen Street. The staff here will put together arrangements for any tastes or celebrations. Try some gourmet truffles or a basket of retro candies.

web LiquidGold-Jeremy Tsang 2
For your summer recipes, visit Liquid Gold in The Hydrostone in Halifax or in Sunnyside Mall in Bedford. All the oils here are extra premiums, fresh with unique distinctive flavours. Taste samples on site and have your favourites blended with your choice of balsamic vinegar.

web Dee Dees 1
The aroma of freshly made waffle cones will lure you to Cow’s Ice Cream in the Historic Properties on Lower Water Street. Get a scoop or two from a variety of flavours, including many with local ingredients and catchy names. But there’s more than ice cream here. Browsing the selection of bovine-inspired clothing, giftware, and novelties will mooove you with inspiration.
Located on Cornwallis Street in Halifax’s North End and at Peggy’s Cove, Dee Dee’s produces home-style, fresh ice cream, all with local and seasonal ingredients. Try flavours such as mango, shaker lemon, banana cardamom, and Mexican. Take a tub home for late night treats.

web Women's Sea-Breeze Capris
For summer fashions for men or women, shop at Colwell’s on Upper Water Street. Men can check out casual wear, including jeans, pants, t-shirts, or knitwear. Meanwhile, the ladies can browse for dresses, skirts, tops, or visit the selection in the Michael Kors Shop. Or pick up a hot summer look perfect for weddings or festivals.

Ottawa’s Best BBQ: Hot off the grill

By Chris Lackner

You can’t bring your BBQ with you to Ottawa, so seek out these culinary delights that sizzle off the grill. Bet it grilled or smoked, here is our guide to the capital’s best BBQ food:


Fatboys Southern Smokehouse: Southern hospitality with a biker ambience in the ByWard Market. fatboys.ca

Bytown Bayou: Smoke up at this gourmet BBQ food truck. bytownbayou.ca

Rosie’s Southern Kitchen & Bar in The Glebe.

Rosie’s Southern Kitchen & Bar in The Glebe.

Rosie’s Southern Kitchen & Bar: Ribs, steak, catfish and more in The Glebe, one of Ottawa’s trendiest neighbourhoods. rosiesonbank.ca

Foolish Chicken: Finger-lickin’ chicken and ribs (and cheesecake) in a casual Hintonburg café. foolishchicken.ca

Thankfully for your taste buds, Ottawa's Foolish Chicken is anything but foolish.

Thankfully for your taste buds, Ottawa’s Foolish Chicken is anything but foolish.

Little Red Shack BBQ: A saucy food shack that’s worth the drive to Stittsville. littleredshackbbq.com

SmoQue Shack: Their philosophy is, “Food comes first… licking the plate comes after.” Put it to the test by digging into everything from pulled pork, brisket and ribs to Jamaican jerk and BBQ chicken. Spotlighted on The Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here, this ByWard Market gem knows how to work a grill and a smoker. The coffee BBQ sauce leads a pack of nine saucy options; the Shack’s hefty combo platters are meant to be shared, and will turn the crowd at your table into regular Fred Flintstones. smoqueshack.com

Smoque Shack in Ottawa's ByWard Market.

Smoque Shack in Ottawa’s ByWard Market.


Hintonburger: Ottawa’s iconic fast-food burger. Fast. Fresh. Local. Handmade. hintonburger.ca

Bite Burger House: Boutique burgers! Down your grilled goodies with specialty cocktails and fine wines. biteburgerhouse.com

Burgers n’ Fries Forever: Casual Bank Street burger joint with great shakes. burgersnfriesforever.com

The Works in Ottawa.

The Works in Ottawa.

The Works: Ottawa’s iconic gourmet burger is served at seven locations, but The Glebe restaurant is the most central. worksburger.com

Chez Lucien: One of the city’s best unsung pubs & best burgers (Editor’s Pick: the Bourgeois with brie and roasted pear) 137 Murray St.

Ottawa’s Best Beaches: Enter the Capital’s Waterworld

By Chris Lackner

Ottawa may not be a coastal city, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a beach town.

From the pristine lakes of Gatineau Park to the oft overlooked Ottawa and Rideau Rivers, life’s a beach in the National Capital Region. So take a refreshing dip with our guide to Ottawa-Gatineau’s top beaches:

Lac Philippe beach in Gatineau Park.

Lac Philippe beach in Gatineau Park.


Philippe Lake: Choose between Breton Beach and Parent Beach, or pack a tent; Smith Beach is for campers only.

Meech Lake: This lake’s advantage is proximity to Ottawa. It’s idyllic waters are only a 30-minute drive without traffic (beat that Toronto!). O’Brien Beach is the family-friendly option, while Blanchet Beach is more remote and serene.

La Pêche Beach: Worth it for the longer, scenic drive through the park. Canoe and kayak rentals are available at Pêche (and at Philippe); escape the beach crowds out on the open water.

Order a cold beverage on the patio at Ottawa's Westboro Beach.

Order a cold beverage on the patio at Ottawa’s Westboro Beach.


Westboro Beach: Located in the lively Westboro neighbourhood, the siren song of this scenic beach is bolstered by live patio music (Thursday through Sunday) and cold drinks (daily) on a café patio.

Mooney’s Bay Beach: This Rideau River beach entices with sandy shores and picturesque volleyball courts that just happen to play host to HOPE Volleyball Summerfest (July 16), the largest one-day recreational volleyball event in the world. 

Volleyball is one of the many activities on Mooney's Bay beach.

Volleyball is one of the many activities on Mooney’s Bay beach.

Britannia Beach: Come for the picnic tables and shaded, mature trees, stay to watch the windsurfing at this west-end gem. Worth the drive, but Britannia Park is also accessible via one of the capital’s most beautiful bike paths.

Leamy Lake Beach in Gatineau.

Leamy Lake Beach in Gatineau.

Leamy Lake Park Beach: This urban beach in Gatineau feels timeless — a throwback to the Leave it to Beaver era. It’s like heading to “the old swimming hole”… only that hole is located in a 174-hectare urban park.

Parc Moussette Beach: This small, sandy beach park is found in west Gatineau, located just across the Ottawa River. The little known hideaway features a great playground, plenty of shade, and often hosts DJs on weekend afternoons.

Petrie Island Beach: Ottawa’s newest beach is home to spellbinding views of the Ottawa River. Work up some sweat before the trip on the island’s seven kilometres of nature trails.

For a full list of local beaches and their rules and regulations, visit ottawa.ca and canadascapital.gc.ca.

Hot Shopping for June

web Pier 21 3

The Pier 21 Gift Shop at the Canadian Museum of Immigration, on Marginal Road is the place to go for gifts from one of the city’s most unique museums. Get a ball cap for the kids, a book for the history buff, or a pewter gift for the collector. Its line of signature products, including mugs, passport covers, and key tags, are embossed with the museum’s logo.

At the Designer Craft Shop on Marginal Road, Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council members display their works, including artistic etchings, silk clothing, and handmade jewelry. An expert jury approves every item in the shop.

web Clearwater


Lobster is a treat year round, but pick up some fresh crustaceans at Clearwater on Bedford Highway or at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport for your summer gathering or barbecue. Other fresh offerings include clams, snow crab, scallops, shrimp, and masago. The airport location offers lobster securely and freshly packed for travel.

web Made in Maritimes 1

Made in the Maritimes Artisan Boutique in Sunnyside Mall and the Hydrostone Market showcases boutiques of handmade goods, all produced by Maritime artisans. Its owners focus on a buy-local movement and source products such as funky art prints, whimsical handcrafted pillows, fashionable jewelry, and delicious food products.

To find local works of art, the AGNS Gallery Shop at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street. Find unique and collectible pieces of sculpture, pottery, paintings and more. Maud Lewis is among the many local talents whose work is featured here.

web sweet pea_trends08


Sweet Pea Boutique on Queen Street has all the best summer dresses for any occasion. Find a basic style for everyday wear, flirtier frocks for weekends, or a cocktail dress for a wedding or other summer celebration. Choose from accessories such as shoes, jewelry, and hair pieces to complete your look.

Turbine on Upper Water Street or in Sunnyside Mall features the work of Canadian designer Lisa Drader-Murphy. There are dresses and tops for all tastes. Browse the belts, shawls, and skincare collection too. Try on the Zain dress, a innovative style that can be worn six different ways. Locally made jewelry and hats round out this boutique’s fare.

web Bedazzled 2

Featuring designs by artists from Nova Scotia, Canada, and Israel, Bedazzled in Sunnyside Mall
offers eye-catching jewelry for your summer outfits. Look for brands such as Toni XO, Earth Goddess, and Wendy Jack. Occasional trunk shows give the designers a chance to show off their latest collections.

Hot Dining For June

Photo: Jessica Emin

Photo: Jessica Emin

Beer lovers rejoice! Jamieson’s Irish-House & Grill on Cumberland Drive in Dartmouth boasts 16 taps. Irish favourites share space alongside local craft beers from Propeller, North Brewery, Tatamagouche, and Unfiltered, as do house offerings Jamieson’s IPA and Jamieson’s Special Dark Ale.

Craft cocktails abound at Lot Six (page 61) on Argyle Street. The menu travels through space and time. The 1794 Fish House Punch from London, England, contains Appleton Jamaican rum, cognac, peach brandy, lemon, and black tea. Don’t miss oyster happy hour from 4pm to 6pm daily.

web Athens

Waffle Love on Kaye Street knows that a light, airy waffle is the key to culinary bliss. The compact menu features a traditional waffle with maple syrup, a fruit covered waffle, or sweet toppings like Skor or Oreo crumble.

For heartier fare, try the weekend brunch buffet at Athens Family Restaurant on Quinpool Road. Known for Greek cuisine, this casual spot presents an all-you-can-eat option starring breakfast stalwarts like bacon and eggs, alongside fresh fruit, perogies, fish cakes, Greek sausages, and more.

web Backoos 1

Backoos Korean ToGo Food on Birmingham Street is a nook featuring only a counter and three stools for people awaiting pick-up orders. Deep-fried chicken dominates the menu, which also includes traditional sides like kimchi (fermented cabbage salad) and japchae (sweet potato noodles).




Relish Gourmet Burgers celebrates local history with location-specific burgers at each franchise. Quinpool Road serves the Halifax Explosion topped with fresh pineapple, pancetta bacon, curried onion, and aged cheddar. At Larry Uteck Boulevard, diners can toast the street’s eponymous college-football coach with the Couch-U: topped with balsamic jalapeño blueberry preserves, bacon, crispy pickled peppers, and cheese curds.

web Steak9412

Nothing says big night out like steak. The Keg on Market Street is a long-time favourite, known for classics like the applewood-smoked bacon wrapped tenderloin or the New York strip.

Candle-lit Cut Steakhouse on Salter Street presents USDA prime beef that’s aged and butchered in-house. The à la carte menu invites diners to add a range of sides to their steaks, from frîtes to bread pudding to pan-seared beets.

Hot Shopping for May

fweb olklore centre
Tom and Marla Dorward have owned Halifax Folklore Centre on Brunswick Street since 1971. Since then, they have provided musicians and music lovers in the city with a shop where stringed instruments are bought, sold, traded, and consigned. The knowledgeable staff can help clients shop for just about any instrument.

web Kept IMG_0024
Jennifer’s of Nova Scotia on Spring Garden Road showcases the best work of more than 200 artisans from around the region in its store. Artisans include Cheticamp Hookers, Amos Pewter, Grohmann, Nancy Postman, and many others. Find products for the home such as dishes, cookware, and food, or products for yourself such as bath and body items and jewelry.
Kept Gifts and Housewares, an independently owned and operated boutique on Portland Street in Dartmouth, houses a vast and eclectic collection of handmade and local products. Much of the stock features a Maritime artisan flair. This is a source of well-crafted gifts perfect for any occasion.

web Fireworks 1
To add some heat to your spring wardrobe, visit Fireworks Gallery on Barrington Street. Here, a team of resident goldsmiths will create a distinctive piece of jewelry for your collection. Bring in your ideas, photos, or magazine clippings to help make a piece that includes the best gold, silver, platinum, or gemstones. Designs are created using a combination of Old World techniques such as engraving and filigree with innovative technology.


MicMac Mall for Ivanhoe Cambridge 2013

MicMac Mall for Ivanhoe Cambridge 2013

Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth is one of the region’s largest shopping destinations. Anchored by The Bay, it boasts 120+ shops, including Winners and Homesense, Gap, Old Navy, Peoples, and Lush. Have a break at the food court on the third floor.
On the Halifax side, Halifax Shopping Centre
on Mumford Road is undergoing a transformation, bringing its guests a quality selection of shops and services, all within a new and bright renovated space. Retailers such as Mac, Sephora, Banana Republic, Hollister, and Michael Kors have all set up shop here.

Outdoors In

web Lole
It’s the perfect time of year to explore the great outdoors. Take it Outside in Dartmouth Crossing or Upper Water Street is the place to get geared up for those spring adventures. Suit up with jackets, pants, footwear, backpacks, and more.
Women on the go will love Lolë on Upper Water Street for its spring collection of active wear. Check out their line of organic cotton clothing with fresh looks for spring, including tanks, capris, jumpsuits, leggings, and tunics.

Susie Shortbrea
If you love homemade baked treats, visit Susie’s Shortbreads on Upper Water Street and Chain Lake Drive. Take home a dozen cookies or cupcakes, a cake, candy, mini cheesecake, or a frozen treat. All of the sweets are baked from scratch using fresh ingredients. Cupcake batter and cookie dough are available, too, so you can make the treats at home

Hot Dining for May

Canada’s Best
Selected by the editors as one of Where Canada’s Best New Restaurants for 2015, laid-back Primal Kitchen on Brenton Street features a dream menu for meat-lovers. Everything is house-made using primal cuts (the pieces first separated during butchering) of meat. Don’t miss the many craft beer options or the well-curated wine list.


Durty Nelly's

Durty Nelly’s

    Ready to up your date-night game? Stories restaurant at The Halliburton hotel on Morris Street presents a casual attitude amid an upscale environment. Start with rice paper wrapped scallops and finish with a decadent blackberry-brown butter tart.
    For an upbeat evening of eats and entertainment, try The Carleton Music Bar & Grill on Argyle Street. The menu features an eclectic mix of pasta, pub fare, and share plates. After you eat, stick around–this nightspot features live music and comedy shows.

    web Hall_Sept050032
    Irish pubs aren’t just for St. Patrick’s Day anymore. Drop into Durty Nelly’s for a local craft beer or a pint of Guinness and some hearty Irish nosh like stew or bangers and mash.
    Dartmouth visitors should try The Celtic Corner on Alderney Street for a friendly pint. A varied menu boasts savoury pies and pasta dishes. Stick around to watch the latest football match or some live Celtic music.

    web Fragole
    Explore the Halifax Waterfront in the morning and stop at Bishop’s Landing for lunch. Its diverse eateries will suit any taste. Try Ristorante a Mano if you’re hungry for Italian cuisine, or Hamachi Steakhouse Bar & Grill for unforgettable Asian fusion fare. After lunch, grab a coffee at the Smiling Goat Organic Espresso Bar or cold-pressed juice at Juice Press Inc.

Local chain Sushi Nami Royaleweb IMG_2985, located downtown on Dresden Row, is known for its fresh ingredients and varied menu of traditional Japanese fare. Try the okonomiyaki, an Osaka-style cabbage pancake served with mayo and miso soup.
Wasabi Sushi on Quinpool Road is a hit for its happy hour menu featuring two- and three-roll maki combos and deals on libations. The atmosphere at this cozy spot is a mix of simple modern style and Japanese accents.

web CORA 2
Celebrate the weekend with a sumptuous brunch at Cora
(page 58) with locations around the city, including downtown on Dresden Row. Dishes at this spacious breakfast joint arrive piled high with artistically cut fruit. The popular eatery offers five locations in the municipality.

Things to Do in Toronto: Shows & Events in May 2016


Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland is Canada’s tallest and biggest roller coaster

MAY 1  The country’s largest theme park, Canada’s Wonderland kicks off opening day with even more excitement to its lineup of rides with two new soaring interactive experiences: Skyhawk and Flying Eagles. The former is the first of its kind in North America, letting thrill seekers control their own cockpit by navigating 360 degree turns and inversions from 135 feet in the air, while the latter lets pint-sized pilots—along with a co-pilot—steer their own plane. Of course, the park’s 16 roller coasters, water park, two kids play areas, and midway games are among the other draws that make it the most visited seasonal amusement park in North America.

MAY 1 TO 3  Esteemed paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim speaks about the discovery of fossils belonging to the largest predatory dinosaur ever discovered as part of the National Geographic Live series.

MAY 2 AND 3  Canadian musician Lights, known for such songs as “February Air” and “Drive My Soul,” performs an acoustic show at The Danforth Music Hall with special guests DCF.

MAY 4 AND 5  The Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents Brahms Symphony 4 alongside a new work by John Adams with a violin solo.

MAY 6  A roster of Canadian and world champion figure skaters take part in Stars on Ice, including Patrick Chan, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, Javier Fernández, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and Joannie Rochette among others.

MAY 7  Catch Canadian singer and songwriter Royal Wood at The Danforth Music Hall.


Ottawa’s Best Patios

By Chris Lackner

Find your place in the sun. Our guide to Ottawa’s best patios covers your best bets for sun, suds, sangria, vino and vitamin D.

The Social patio in the ByWard Market's Clarendon Court. Courtesy: Ottawa Tourism.

The Social patio in the ByWard Market’s Clarendon Court. Courtesy: Ottawa Tourism.

ByWard Market

Clarendon Court: Secluded and cobblestone, its four restaurant patios feel European; discover the magic behind the shops on Sussex Drive, between George and York Streets, including spots like The Social and Courtyard Restaurant. (The Social537 Sussex Dr., Courtyard Restaurant: 21 George St.)

Earl of Sussex Pub: The best sun and sud combo in the market. 431 Sussex Dr.

La Terrasse: This open-air, summer restaurant offers stunning views of the Rideau Canal and Parliament. Their extensive wine and cocktail list pair well with the sun. Try a “Colonel By” Mojito. He would have wanted it that way. Located in Fairmont Chateau Laurier, even the sunbeams feel more elegant at this seasonal patio. 1 Rideau St.

Earl of Sussex patio.

Earl of Sussex patio.

The Highlander Pub: A place to people watch with eyes on the market’s pedestrian traffic. 115 Rideau St.

Cornerstone Bar and Grill: This market hotspot is a place to be seen. 92 Clarence St.

Murray Street: This leafy patio screams romance. And the charcuterie, cheese boards and wine list will only help matters. 110 Murray St.

Métropolitain Brasserie: Steps away from the Chateau Laurier and Parliament. Grab a table or an outdoor sofa. 700 Sussex Dr.

La Terrasse patio at Chateau Laurier. Courtesy Ottawa Tourism.

La Terrasse patio at Chateau Laurier. Courtesy Ottawa Tourism.

Elgin and Sparks Streets

D’Arcy McGee’s: Spot Ottawa’s who’s who at this upscale watering hole named after a Father of Confederation44 Sparks St.

Fox and Feather: Terrific topside patio with a bird’s-eye view of the bustling Elgin strip. 283 Elgin St.

Pancho Villa: Pancho’s margaritas, daiquiris, sangrias and pina coladas are as big in size as they are in flavour. It might not be Cancún, but close your eyes on the sunny patio and it will feel mighty close. 361 Elgin St.

Pancho Villa's patio.

Pancho Villa’s patio.

The Glebe

Feleena’s Mexican Cantina: Sangria, anyone? 742 Bank St.

Irene’s Pub: Discover the hidden courtyard patio at this live music hotspot. 885 Bank St.

Little Italy

Pub Italia: Ireland enjoys a bit of Italy’s sun. 434 Preston St.

Pub Italia patio.

Pub Italia patio.


Tennessy Willems: Small but sublime. Come for the pizza, stay for the sunshine. 1082 Wellington St W.

Churchills: P is for patio… and Public House. 356 Richmond Rd.

Water View

Canal Ritz patio on the Rideau Canal.

Canal Ritz patio on the Rideau Canal.

Dow’s Lake: Three restaurant patios overlook the lake’s busy birds and boaters. Choose your own adventure between Malone’s Lakeside Grill, Baja Grill and Lago1001 Queen Elizabeth Dr.

Canal Ritz: This classy canal-side gem is boat traffic central. 375 Queen Elizabeth Dr.

Mill Street Brew Pub: Located near the Canadian War Museum on LeBreton Flats, this historic gristmill turned brewpub is also the perfect stop along the Ottawa River bike path. 555 Wellington St. 

Insider’s Scoop: Gold Rush! at Canadian Museum of History

By Chris Lackner

The Gold Rush! has come to Ottawa.

Haida box by Bill Reid, 1971. Courtesy Royal BC Museum and Archives.

Haida box by Bill Reid, 1971. Courtesy Royal BC Museum and Archives.

While you can’t get rich, you can check out the shiny new exhibit, Gold Rush! El Dorado in British Columbia, at the Canadian Museum of History, April 8 to January 2017.

For an Insider’s Scoop, we talked to John Willis, curator of economic history at the museum:

Q: What will surprise visitors about this exhibit?

A: The fact that such a gold rush, of massive proportions, occurred in Canada, on its West Coast, 50 years before the Klondike.

The fact that some were willing to travel so far in order to get the gold: some trekked overland the entire distance from (central) Canada; others came thousands of miles from Europe, China, and elsewhere in Eastern Canada (the Maritimes for example).

The distances that have to be travelled within B.C. on terrain that is both rugged and spectacular (this comes out in the videos) this will surprise and impress visitors.

The fact that one could make a living not by prospecting for gold but by selling to and living off those mining the gold.


This photo depicts the main street of Barkerville just before the 1868 fire that destroyed the town. Courtesy of the Royal BC Museum and Archives.

Q. Why is this exhibit important? 

A: First, it establishes the importance of the 1858 and 1862 gold rushes in the making of modern B.C. history. The era transformed indigenous societies and overturned the traditional fur economy of the Hudson Bay Company. In its wake came a new type of society devoted to exploiting land, natural resources, farmland; fostering trade and building cities. Through this exhibition the society of B.C. is trying to come to terms with its history. This includes the admission tragic errors made in the past vis-à-vis indigenous nations.

Second, the exhibit shows the importance of the larger Pacific sphere to the making of B.C. history especially in the gold rush era. What happened in California, Australia and Hong Kong had considerable bearing on how B.C. got roped into this gold rush economy.

Third, the exhibit touches on the quirks of human behaviour in a gold-rush setting. Men and women (but mainly men) travel by the tens of thousands to one destination or another intending to make it rich quick by mining the gold.  They are carried away by an enthusiasm for the riches promised by gold.  Men suffer from gold fever that sets them on a path to the gold fields, however distant. That path was referred in the newspaper of the day as a “highway to insanity.” As a collective mania, the psychology of gold fever does resemble the kind of up and down and sometimes foolish human behaviour associated with the stock market.

Wheel and flumes at the Davies claim on William’s Creek, 1867. Courtesy of the Royal BC Museum and Archives.

Wheel and flumes at the Davies claim on William’s Creek, 1867.
Courtesy of the Royal BC Museum and Archives.

Q: What are your favourite aspects of, or artifacts from, the exhibition?

A. I enjoy seeing the life size version of the B.C. Express company stagecoach that dates from the era and was used on the Cariboo Road. The vehicle is in excellent shape, it was lovingly restored in the late 1980s.  And it can’t help but conjure up images of the old west.  coachThe freight saddle or aparejo positioned in a display window opposite the stage coach belonged to a local hero, French-born Jean Caux, nicknamed Cataline.  It is interesting for it reminds us of the challenges of getting freight into and out of the rugged and mountainous B. C. interior.

There is an explicit recognition of things Chinese: a picture of Hong Kong harbour full of ships circa 1860, and later in the exhibition a display of exquisite Chinese artifacts (fan, game pieces, pipe, mud-treated silk garments, shoes etc.).

Turnagain Nugget is the largest existing gold nugget ever found in British Columbia: it weighs 1,642 grams (52 troy onces) and is approximately 4.2 cm high, 18.1 cm wide and 9.2 cm deep. Courtesy of the Royal BC Museum and Archive.

Turnagain Nugget is the largest existing gold nugget ever found in British Columbia: it weighs 1,642 grams (52 troy onces) and is approximately 4.2 cm high, 18.1 cm wide and 9.2 cm deep. Courtesy of the Royal BC Museum and Archive.

A huge and engaging painting,  Slim Jim or the Parson Takes the Pot,  shows a group of men playing a gambling game of cards. A probable con-man disguised as a priest has surprised his fellow players by winning the hand. The picture reminds us that all forms of gambling were popular in gold-rush communities, where there were men (only) and money a plenty.

The painting is so big that the box in which it came barely fits, height-wise, in the corridor of our museum

Finally the Pemberton dress, a beautiful silk-dress, with its budding hoop skirt and delicate engagements (frills that go up the sleeves), which dates from the B.C. gold-rush era, reminds us that women were present in this society — as entrepreneurs, supporters of culture, as instigators of all kinds of business and community activities. The theme is well carried in the book by New Perspectives on the Gold Rush; as well as in the exhibition catalogue: Gold Rush! El Dorado in British Columbia.