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Ottawa

Ottawa the Bold: 2017 in the Nation’s Capital

By Joseph Mathieu

Summer in the capital always enchants, but this year will be truly spellbinding. Canada’s 150th birthday finds Ottawa exploding with red and white, cascading with culture and embracing the extraordinary. Artists and performers from afar will highlight their cultures while celebrating their ties with Canada, the downtown core will ignite with fiery, fantastical beasts completing a quest, and a rift in the space-time continuum will be discovered and explored underground. We are talking about an Ottawa awash in magic, wonder and revelry — a city breaking with tradition and showing off just what it can do. Why not? You only turn 150 once, right?

Kontinuum: An Underground Journey Through Time

Kontinuum (July 16 to Sept. 14)
This free, interactive, immersive experience built around the construction of the new light-rail train system in Ottawa is the brainchild of Moment Factory, the wizards behind more than 400 multi-media productions around the world. The company is proud “to tell stories in unusual environments,” says MF’s Marie-Claire Lynn. The Lyon Street transit station is a case in point. Kontinuum centres on city workers finding a “breach” in the space-time continuum while digging to erect the station. This tear in reality allows visitors to experience alternate dimensions and invisible frequencies – auditory, visual and vibrational. Guests traverse three floors of architectural anomalies and life-like panoramic projections, and have the opportunity to visualize their own, unique “frequency,” which then becomes part of Kontinuum’s ever-evolving visual and auditory DNA.

La Machine’s Long-Ma & La Princesse

La Machine (July 27-30)
Get ready for the streets, buildings, and trees of downtown Ottawa to become a stage for two towering beasts. “The Spirit of the Dragon-Horse, With Stolen Wings” stars a 20-metre-long spider named La Princesse and a 12-metre-high horse-dragon named Long-Ma. With skin and features of sculpted wood, the massive pair’s mechanical guts and skeletons of steel move with the help of 33 operators. The monumental, four-day play will be the first North American performance by La Machine, a French production company based in Nantes. “Every driver has one role, one function and all together [they] make the machines emotive as well as mobile,” says La Machine’s Frédette Lampé. “The link between the operators and the machines is not dissimilar to that of a marionnettiste to its marionette, but we call them architecture in movement.”

Inspiration Village on York Street

Ottawa Welcomes the World (March until December) lives up to its name. All year long, the capital’s embassies and high commissions are marking their country’s national celebrations at the Aberdeen Pavilion and the Horticulture Building in Lansdowne Park. Enjoy music, food and art from around the world — but no jet lag. For programming, visit Ottawa2017.ca. Meanwhile, Inspiration Village on York Street (May 20 until Sept. 4) is home to 20 sea containers converted into a multi-use space featuring 880 hours of programming. You’ll discover special exhibits, live performances showcasing our provinces and territories, and activities for kids such as a costume photo booth, and photo cutouts of popular Canadian animals.

Ottawa Welcomes the World

Ottawa Welcomes the World

The International Pavilion (June 27 to Dec. 8)
A new building at 7 Clarence Street welcomes various countries, including summer hosts like Germany, Ireland and Belgium to will showcase their culture and traditions, and promotes their ties to Canada. With inspiring stories from immigrants and ex-pats, examples of partnerships leading to innovation, interactive presentations, and dynamic storytelling, the pavilion will serve as a enjoyable way to see how other countries perceive our own. For programming, visit the National Capital Commission site.

Terre Mère at MOSAÏCANADA 150

MOSAÏCANADA 150 (June 30 to Oct. 15)
Mosaïculture is the intersection of tapestry and topiary, the latter of which is the pruning of hedges into recognizable shapes. In other words, it’s all about creating living artwork with plants. For 107 days, Jacques-Cartier Park will host the biggest horticultural event in Canada, with MOSAÏCANADA 150/Gatineau 2017. The free exhibit’s themes will reflect on 150 years of history, values, culture and arts in Canada through some 40 different organic wonders.

Insider’s Scoop: The Epic Canadian History Hall

By Joseph Mathieu

This Canada Day, a new permanent addition to the Canadian Museum of History will mark a turning point in the way our country tells stories. The Canadian History Hall, a project five years in the making, will unveil three new galleries showcasing the unsung, much-loved, and even hard-to-swallow aspects of Canada. Described as the largest and most comprehensive exhibition on Canadian history, President and CEO of the Museum Mark O’Neill said the institution hopes that, “Canadians will come away with a new understanding of who we are today and with a new appreciation of the debt we owe to those who came before us.”

On July 1, stroll down the Passageway with mirrored silhouettes of 101 familiar Canadian symbols into the nexus of the  Hall. Inside a giant rotunda called the Hub, visitors will find themselves on a massive map of the country, all 10 million square kilometres of it — a perfect launching pad to learn new things about the land we know as Canada.

The Passageway into the Canadian History Hall. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

The Passageway into the Canadian History Hall. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

Named for the donors to the ambitious project, each of the three galleries showcases the story of Canada through multiple perspectives. The Rossy Family Gallery covers the dawn of human civilization until the year 1763. The era debuts with the Anishinabe creation story on a starry widescreen that depicts, “a view of how the world fits together, and how human beings should behave in it.”

The Anishnaabe entrance to the Rossy Family Gallery. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

The Anishnaabe entrance to the Rossy Family Gallery. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

The first gallery winds into a treasury of weapons, tools, and personal possessions that display the industry and creativity of Indigenous peoples across the continent. Alongside archaeological evidence of First Nations activity as far back as the Ice Age, there is a fossilized piece of a mammoth jaw and teeth, an intricate diorama of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta, and a game to see how every piece of the bison was used to make something useful.

Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

View from the Rossy Family Gallery. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

You can meet the ancestors of the Inuit, the Thule, who proudly wore jewellery of copper and bear teeth, as well as stone facial piercings and hairstyles that may have been used to convey status. An impressive display of facial reconstruction technology introduces the bead family of Shíshálh, four family members of high standing who lived approximately 4,000 years ago.

The differences in habits and heritage of many different Indigenous peoples is elaborated with great detail. One display compares the Indigenous names alongside the simplified traditional European names attributed to them, like the Haudenosaunee, or Five Nations Confederacy (now Six Nations), which Europeans simply called the Iroquois.

Astrolabe thought to belong to Samuel de Champlain. Canadian Museum of History, 989.56.1, IMG2017-0092-0005-Dm

Astrolabe thought to belong to Samuel de Champlain. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

The roles of Frenchman Samuel de Champlain played in the history of Canada were many. He was known as an observant chronicler, a diplomat and a soldier, and ultimately a settler whose statue on Nepean Point depicts him holding his famous astrolabe that went missing. A corner exhibition dedicated to the man known as the “Father of New France” houses an astrolabe that may or may not have belonged to him, but it was discovered along a route he is known to have travelled.

View from the Fredrik Eaton Family Gallery. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

View from the Fredrik Eaton Family Gallery. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

The second Gallery, named for the Fredrik Eaton Family, covers Colonial Canada until the eve of the First World War. Several aspects of life in Canada changed with the introduction of guns, horses, and disease, while a century-long conflict between English and French Canada raged over dominance of the fertile land. The integration of French and then British rule forever changed the lives of Indigenous peoples.

The Métis of the Northern Plain were one of the first people of mixed heritage to choose a flag: a blue banner with a white infinity loop. Some see the symbol as two peoples meeting to become one, while others identify with its message of hope that the Métis nation will never fade. There are also mentions of the growing reputation of Montreal as a world-class city, the complications with living next to the United States, and the trending fashion of hooded overcoats, known as “capots” or “canadiennes”, during the French regime.

View from Gallery 2. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

View from the Fredrik Eaton Family Gallery. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

The third gallery is the size of the other two combined, named after donors Hilary M. Weston and W. Galen Weston, and it covers the period that is currently being written: Modern Canada. From 1914 until 2017, the mezzanine overlooking the Hub has no chronology, just a diverse layout reflecting the complicated nature of Canada.

The push for independence and prosperity, the interwoven story of First Nations told in their own words, and the identity of Canada on the world stage all play major roles in the top-floor gallery. The floor is filled with memorabilia like Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope t-shirt, Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s Montréal Canadiens jersey, and Lester B. Pearson’s 1957 Nobel Peace Prize. How Quebec nationalism has shaped not only the province but the rest of the country is examined from province’s Quiet Revolution to patriotic separatism that almost bubbled over during two referenda in 1980 and 1995.

history_28

A T-shirt worn by Terry Fox during his 1980 Marathon of Hope. Photo: Canadian Museum of History.

There are painful panels to read that shine a light on the cultural suppression of Inuit and First Nations culture for many decades. One large pull quote from our founding Prime Minister John A. McDonald stands out: “Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence.” Right around the corner are the colourful and vibrant art pieces in painting and dress that only the Haida of British Columbia could design. The #IdleNoMore movement also takes a prominent display amongst the sometimes uncomfortable history of the past federal stance on Indigenous peoples and their fight for respected rights.

“The Hall is unapologetic in its exploration of Canada’s history, depicting the moments we celebrate along with the darker chapters,” said O’Neill. “Chapters that absolutely must be told if we are to offer accurate account of this country’s past.”

Visitors will find conflicting images of a country far older than its 150 years of Confederation. The main message of the extensive and sometimes controversial Hall is that Canada is a great mix of conflict, struggle, and loss while also of success, accomplishment, and hope.

Ottawa’s Tried & True Shopping

By Chris Lackner

It takes creativity, adaptability, and perseverance to remain a prominent shopping destination amid ever-shifting changes in taste, trends, and clientele. As the country turns 150, we highlight top shops in the capital that have stood the test of time and have thrived for 20 years or more.

Kaliyana

Photo: Ben Welland

Kaliyana ArtwearSince 1987

Kaliyana Artwear offers innovative clothing for women, with sizes 6 to 22 available. Their contemporary, avant-garde designs are inspired by Japanese minimalism, simple and timeless, and driven by unique cuts, textures, fabrics, colours, and prints. Think unstructured shapes with lots of pockets, asymmetric lines, and layers. Most importantly, think comfort. Also, get footloose with international footwear products, including Arche shoes from France and Trippen from Germany.

515 Sussex Dr., 613-562-3676

Howard Fine JewellersSince 1967

No diamond in the rough, this family-owned store is celebrating its 50th anniversary! For one-third of Canada’s existence, Howard Fine Jewellers & Custom Designers has showcased timeless pieces of jewellery from around the world. Its showroom is home to a wide selection of treasures by Canadian and international designers, including Hearts on Fire, Rolex, Tudor, Tacori, Jack Kelege, Jeff Cooper and Furrer Jacot. Howard also offers custom design work and on-site repairs.

220 Sparks St., 613-238-3300

The Gifted Type

Photo: Ben Welland

The Gifted Type ~ Since 1981

The Gifted Type’s products go well beyond glossy print, with an eclectic collection of cards, novelty items, children’s toys, and other small gifts. Formerly known as Mags + Fags (which first opened in the ByWard Market), they have held court on Elgin Street since 1982 — amid a sea change in tenants and residents. Sister store boogie + birdie is right next door, showcasing rare jewellery (including handmade local designers), bath and body products, fashion items, baby clothes, children’s toys, candles, and Turkish towels. 

The Gifted Type, 254 Elgin St., 613-233-9651; boogie + birdie, 256 Elgin St., 613-232-2473

Snow GooseSince 1963

This purveyor of genuine Aboriginal Canadian fine arts and crafts from the Arctic and Canada’s West Coast has been a fixture on Sparks Street since 1963. You’ll find original works of art, including soapstone carvings and masks, along with a large selection of dreamcatchers, original Inuit prints and carvings, Indigenous jewellery designs, and leather goods.

83 Sparks St., 613-232-2213

Davidson's Jewellers

Photo: Ben Welland

Davidson’s JewellersSince 1939

This Ottawa jewel started to shine when founder Eastman Davidson set up a watch and clock repair shop in the family home before opening a storefront in the Glebe. His daughter Judy carried on the family tradition, and their namesake business moved to its current location in 1964. It continues to specialize in things that are shiny, but it has also crafted a glowing reputation for business ethics, service, and quality — not to mention a penchant for giving back to the community. Shine on, you crazy diamond!

790 Bank St., 613-234-4136

J.D. AdamSince 1988

This colourful, dynamic shop in the Glebe showcases an assortment of high-quality kitchenware and home accessories from over 100 high-quality companies such as Emile Henry, KitchenAid, and Cuisinart. It also carries bakeware, tableware, garden and patio accessories, ceramics, and chef gadgets. Smaller fare — including specialty food items, candles and soaps, bottles, vases, and cookbooks — make this a prime gift destination.

795 Bank St., 613-235-8714

Ma CuisineSince 1996

“Cook with it, serve with it, eat with it, Ma Cuisine has it,” they proclaim. And with good reason. Looking for a genuine Japanese turning vegetable slicer? They have that. A butter knife that absorbs the heat from your hand, making it easier to slice through? They have that too. And good ol’ cookie sheets and roasting pans? Check. Whether conventional cook or culinary mad scientist, you’re shopping in the right place. Ma Cuisine is a kitchen supply store with more than the usual muffin tins and rolling pins.

269 Dalhousie St., 613-789-9225

Manhattan West

Photo: Ben Welland

Manhattan West ~ Since 1992

You can save your travel dollars by visiting Manhattan in Canada’s capital. The same mother-and-daughter team have brought Manhattan to Ottawa for over 20 years, showcasing unique, edgy, and exclusive fashions from around the world. The tradition began at their former market location, Manhattan Marque, and continues at their Westboro shop, Manhattan West. You can travel the world of fashion by visiting this charming boutique, where you’ll find contemporary designs from New York, L.A., Italy, France, Germany, and Denmark. A one-stop shop for everything from casual to business wear, dresses to jeans, and exclusive accessories to stylish footwear.

322 Richmond Rd, 613-695-0517

Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’sSince 1977

Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s unique collection of toys is probably the envy of Santa’s elves. Their original location opened in 1977 with the same product focus the local chain has today: well-made, creative toys that spark children’s imagination. They pledge a commitment to toys that meet a high standard for “both play and educational value” and “trusty old favourites that have stood the test of time.” Their classic products are showcased alongside new, innovative playthings. These toys are not only for the young, but also for the young at heart; a visit to Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s will make adults feel like a kid all over again. Locations include The Glebe, Bayshore Shopping Centre, Rideau Shopping Centre, Place d’Orléans Mall, and Westboro.

809 Bank St., 613-234-3836

The PaperySince 1986

This colourful store in the Glebe has been hosting a non-stop paper party for 30 years. Gift-giving is made easy with The Papery’s array of greeting and holiday cards, artistic giftware, gift wrap, tissue paper (over 50 shades), ribbons, and gift boxes. They even offer a wrapping service. Party plan with napkins and plates and seasonal decor. Life plan with calligraphy supplies, agendas, journals, envelopes, and unique, vibrant colour stock. Plan for fun with colouring books, stickers, recipe books, rubber stamps, and origami to entertain the kids.

850 Bank St., 613-230-1313

Kunstadt Sports

Photo: Ben Welland

Kunstadt SportsSince 1988

Kunstadt Sports started as a small business in Kanata run by a clan of athletes and sports enthusiasts. They even operated out of the family’s home basement! It has grown to three thriving sports-equipment stores spread across Ottawa. Given our wintery capital, it specializes in snow sports, but Kunstadt also covers other seasons with an all-star lineup of equipment — from cycling and tennis gear to running shoes. Servicing for skis, snowboards, racquets, and bikes is available on-site, and Kunstadt even sells their own brands of skis and bikes. Their employees are athletes, too, as Kunstadt commits to employing accomplished skiers, bikers, tennis players, and fitness gurus. Sounds like a game plan for success.

680 Bank St., 613-233-4820; 462 Hazeldean Rd., 613-831-2059; 1583 Bank St., 613-260-0696

Octopus BooksSince 1969

This independent bookstore has multiple tentacles. It specializes in alternative and left-wing contemporary and classic books on subjects including politics, environmentalism, feminism, health and Indigenous studies. Author readings, book launches, and community classroom nights (guest lectures, debates, and more) make this bookstore an event destination. The original location opened in 1969 before moving to the Glebe 20 years ago, and the downtown location opened in 2012.

116 Third Ave., 613-233-2589; 251 Bank St., 613-688-0752

Ottawa Pub Guide: Get Cosy in the Capital

By Emma Fischer

From the darkest winter day to the melt of spring, there are plenty of reasons to snuggle up at a fireplace and raise a pint! Feel the warm embrace of Ottawa’s cosiest pubs no matter the season:

Coasters

Coasters Seafood Grill

ELGIN

Woody’s Pub

A self-proclaimed urban pub, they’re known for their wide selection of craft beer, but that’s not all they offer! Enjoy some of their classic pub fare or more multicultural dishes in one of their two main rooms. Cosy up in the lounge with not one, but two fireplaces and several comfy booths. Beat frosty weather with a frosty pint! 

330 Elgin St.

MacLaren’s on Elgin: Much more than just Ottawa’s premier sports bar, MacLaren’s is the place to take shelter from the storm. Sip on a cocktail while you play some pool, or catch the big game on one of their 80 HD televisions. With plenty of variety both on their menus and in the bar, your game plan should involve staying here long after the final whistle blows! 

301 Elgin St.

The Manx: Known for their craft beer and gourmet pub food, The Manx also boasts an incredible Scotch selection and legendary brunch. This basement pub is a little more hidden than most, but it’s the perfect underground refuge for an after-work drink or to wind down from a long day. Pop by on Sunday and Monday nights to live local music and sing your heart out on their special karaoke nights.

370 Elgin St.

BYWARD MARKET

Lafayette

The Lafayette: Having been around for 167 years, the Laff has been serving Ottawa before it was even Ottawa. They offer affordable food, drink specials and live music with free cover, which means more money for bevvies! The Laff has expanded their pub to its original size and now boasts a comfy fireplace area. Assistant manager Deek Labelle gets the last laugh: “We do our best to make our customers feel at home and comfortable at all times. We don’t believe in charging cover – we’d rather have your bum in a warm seat, sipping on a tasty beverage.”

42 York St.

Chez Lucien: Tucked away at the edge of the ByWard Market, this quaint bar looks small from the outside, but has three levels of cosy seating inside. Exposed brick, hardwood floors and a fireplace give this place a relaxed and comfortable ambiance. Come for brunch (it opens every day at 11 a.m.) and stay for dinner. This place is a few short blocks from more conventional touristy pubs, and far more authentic. Warm up even more with their Frida and Diego burger topped with jalapeños.

137 Murray St. 

Vineyards

Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro & Coaster’s Seafood Grill: This cellar bistro and wine bar is found in a historic, 19th-century building in the ByWard Market. Directly above are two sister establishments: Fish Market Restaurant and Coaster’s Seafood Grill. At Vineyards, sample from 200 wines and 250 different beers — there is definitely something for everybody. Pair your drinks with charcuterie or a cheese board, and enjoy regular live jazz musicians (they will warm your soul). If you’re literally looking for fire, head on upstairs to Coaster’s where you can settle in by the fireplace and enjoy delicious seafood while you sip on a cocktail.

54 York St. 

Ottawa’s Best Pizza

BY JOSEPH MATHIEU

Enjoy a slice of the capital with our Ottawa gourmet pizza guide.

WELLINGTON WEST

Anthony’s: Inspired by classic Italian recipes and made entirely from the offerings of Preston’s Luciano Foods, Anthony’s doesn’t compromise when it comes to vintage pizza. A year after topping the list of the Food Network’s 12 Canadian pizzerias worth travelling for, Anthony’s opened a second successful location on Bank Street in the Glebe. Both locations are located in neighbourhoods with top-draw shopping.

1218 Wellington St. W.

Anthonys_PIzzas_Where_Ottawa

Tennessy Willems
You can’t get much more authentic than baking pizzas in a wood oven on dough made in-house daily. After years of generous portions, the quality has remained high at the Hintonburg staple where they only serve local and organic ingredients. Fresh, in-season produce and well-crafted artisanal meats and cheeses don’t come from very far, but they make the pizzas go a long way. “Helen’s” pizza, topped with baby spinach, goat cheese, Parmesan, and toasted pine nuts, pays homage to the previous owner of the building, Helen Saikely, who ran Melrose Groceteria with her husband Buddy at the same corner for 40 years. 1082 Wellington St. W.

Tennesy Willem pizza,

Tennessy Willem pizza,

CENTRETOWN

Colonnade Pizza: You know you’ve found a winning pie when they’ve been making it the same way for 50 years. Celebrating half a century of pizza next year, Colonnade is poised to feed the masses on their way to Ottawa for the sesquicentennial with five locations across the city. The flagship remains at 280 Metcalfe St.

Pavarazzi: Although the affordable gourmet pizza makers at Pavarazzi have moved out of their Laurier Street location, they are still delivering out of Somerset West. The Meat Eaters classic pizza has won local awards and the phones are still ringing for it. 491 Somerset St. W. (for delivery or pickup only)

THE GLEBE

Crust + Crate: One of Lansdowne Park’s hippest new restaurants has oblong, smoky pizzas that are redefining what Canadian pizza can be. With unpolished décor and a daily drink special almost every day of the week, it could easily become the local hang for beer and pizza parties after any game. 105-325 Marché Way

Crus + Crate in Ottawa. (Ottawa's Best Pizza)

Crust + Crate in Ottawa. (Ottawa’s Best Pizza)

BYWARD MARKET

Vittoria Trattoria: The Breakfast Pizza on the weekend brunch menu is a unique and delicious alternative. Add potatoes and eggs to the tomato sauce, mozzarella, and pancetta ham and you’ve got a wake-up winner. Come back for dinner and choose from a wide selection of gourmet pies that feature ingredients like Greek figs and apple wood smoked salmon.

35 William St.

Ravine VineyardPizza

Fiazza Fresh Fired: Every pizzeria can make a custom ‘za, but Fiazza does it right before your eyes. With mounds of broccoli and peppers, heaps of garlic, more artichoke hearts than you can handle, and free fresh basil after the bake, it’s not hard to see why this up-and-coming eatery is making waves in the pizza world.

86 Murray St.

Ottawa Spirits Guide: from Caspers to Cocktails

By Chris Lackner

Ottawa will leave you haunted — both by spirits that say boo, and the ones better served in a glass over ice. From ghostly restaurants and museums, to spirited cocktails and whisky-soaked welcomes, we showcase how the capital will leave you screaming for more tricks and treats.

Ottawa's Haunted Walks.

Ottawa’s Haunted Walks.

SPOOKS

“When most people think about Ottawa today, they think about a safe and beautiful capital city,” explains Jim Dean, creative director of Haunted Walks. “However, many are unaware that ByTown, the first name of the city, was once considered to be one of the most dangerous places in North America. The gang warfare between the rival English, French, Irish and Scottish groups, contributed to significant violence, murder and riots in the city streets. The construction process of the Rideau Canal, today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also claimed the lives of close to 1,000 workers along its banks. With such a dark and deadly past, Ottawa certainly has all the elements to be one of Canada’s most haunted cities.” On that chilly note…

APPETIZERS & APPARITIONS

Beckta restaurant is one of the city's oldest haunted haunts.

Beckta restaurant is one of the city’s oldest haunted haunts.

Beckta: This restaurant serves up a famous ghost, heritage architecture, and a tantalizing menu — making it the perfect haunt for the living and the dead. The previous long-time tenant, Friday’s Roast Beef House, could have inserted the word Haunted into its official name. Dr. James Alexander Grant built the three-storey masterpiece in 1875, practiced his craft onsite, and was even rumoured to maintain a morgue in his basement. Today, the only surgery being done in the old Grant House is by talented sous chefs. Owner Stephen Beckta discusses his restaurant’s famous phantom:

Q: Is Beckta really haunted?

Most of the stories come from before Beckta moved in. They involved seeing a figure in the window or staff hearing coughing (Dr. Grant was both asthmatic and loved to smoke cigars). When we took occupancy, I left a glass of champagne on the mantle in an heirloom Grant family glass. It was partially gone (thenext morning) and we’ve been haunting free ever since, so (Dr. Grant) likes us in his space… One time we had a problem with lights flickering and we thought it might be  the ghost, but it turned out our dimmer switch was faulty.

Q: What signature drink would you serve Dr. Grant?

I’d offer him a smoky cocktail, like our Smoked Butter (brown butter bourbon, vermouth, black soochong, cinnamon, mole).

The Courtyard Restaurant

The Courtyard Restaurant

The Courtyard Restaurant: Located in the ByWard Market’s Clarendon Court, a cobblestoned hotspot for ghostly activity, the building is said to be haunted by Mrs. Evans, a woman that reportedly died during an 1872 fire when the site was an inn.

Cynthia Verboven, senior events coordinator:

Over the 36 years of The Courtyard’s history, few privileged staff have had the opportunity to encounter Mrs. Evans, our resident ghost. One employee, while burning the midnight oil, reported seeing a ghostly apparition standing next to the third window of the Loft Room on the second floor. Others have reported experiencing extreme chills and an overwhelming sensation to flee the building, or the sound of tinkling glasses when left alone in the dining room. Some have even seen saltshakers move swiftly on their own across the tables!

OTHERWORDLY TOURIST DESTINATIONS

The Chateau Laurier.

The Chateau Laurier.

Château Laurier: Railway executive Charles Melville died on the Titanic en route to the grand opening of the landmark hotel, located adjacent to Parliament. He never got to see the French-Gothic style building he commissioned in action, and his name has been linked to supernatural phenomenon — reported both by famous guests and staff — ever since. “It would make sense that he believed in this project so much, that he was so passionate for it, that he would want to see it through,” explains Creepy Capital author Mark Leslie.

Mackenzie King Estate

Mackenzie King Estate

William Lyon Mackenzie King: The specter of the former prime minister, and avowed spiritualist, haunts two famous buildings open to the public. He inherited Laurier House, and is said to have conducted séances onsite with everyone from his mother and dog to famous personalities like Leonardo da Vinci and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The ghost of Mackenzie King himself is associated with his Gatineau Park retreat, Mackenzie King Estate, where Leslie’s book describes sightings of a glowing, spectral figure. It plays host during Fall Rhapsody from October 1 until October 16, when its museum and cottages close for the season.

Juan Sanchez, site manager of Laurier House: 

Every summer at least one of our employees has some supernatural experience. The sound of someone sneezing when no one was around, doors opening when they were thought to be locked, objects being moved when no one has been in the house. This summer, we have been experiencing strange events with our alarm system. William Lyon Mackenzie King was a spiritualist and owned a crystal ball. Of course, this is very valuable, so it is hooked up to its own alarm system. For a few weeks in June, the alarm was being triggered in the middle of the night. On several occasions, the alarm company was called, the ball was inspected and nothing was detected. They would leave ensuring us that the matter had been fixed, the next day the same thing would happen. Perhaps the spirits were trying to get in touch with us!

SPIRITED RETREATS

Ottawa's old jail is now a haunted hostel.

Ottawa’s old jail is now a haunted hostel.

Old Ottawa Jail (now the Ottawa Jail Hostel): “The Jail is recognized as one of the most haunted buildings in North America and new reports continue to come in,” says Haunted Walk’s Jim Dean. “Several years ago some newlyweds joined us on a tour of the old jail and took photos of each other inside some of the cells. After taking a photo of the husband, they noticed the face of another man with an old-fashioned haircut in the photo. The image is so clear that if it weren’t shot on a digital camera you would think it would have to be the result of a double-exposure.” 

MUSEUMS

The Museum of Nature

The Museum of Nature

Bytown Museum:  The museum, located alongside the Rideau Canal’s arresting locks just below our political hub, is the oldest — and one of the most haunted — buildings in the city. Eerie experiences range from the sound of footsteps on an empty staircase to objects seemingly moving of their own accord. Leslie suspects “some of the ghosts at the museum came from the spirits of those that died building the canal.”

Canadian Museum of Nature: Normal by day, Leslie says the site’s supernatural nature reveals itself at night. Security guards have reported unexplained sounds and activity — from cold spots on the fourth floor to elevators moving and doors opening of their own accord. He says one female employee reported seeing the faint outline of a man form in a mirror before passing through her body, and even daytime visitors have allegedly had the uncanny feeling of being watched. But it’s likely just another Casper; Leslie suggests the ghost could be that of original architect David Ewart. But given the ancient artifacts and relics that have been housed onsite over the years, who knows what forces may have tagged along with an exhibit? The museum’s castle-influenced design is practically a ghost welcome mat.

Dan Smythe, head of the museum’s media relations: 

Perhaps the spirit of Sir Wilfrid Laurier graces the museum. When the Parliament buildings burned in February 1916, Parliament moved into the museum for four years. Under Laurier’s leadership the museum was built; when he died on February 17, 1919, his body lay in state in the museum’s auditorium. An estimated 50,000 people passed by to pay their respects.

SPIRITS (THE HARD STUFF):

North-of-7-Where-Ottawa-Spirit-Guide

North of 7 Distillery’s spirited products.

North of 7 Distillery: The first batch of four-grain, bourbon-style whisky from the capital’s first-and-only distillery won’t be available until early 2017 (it needs to be aged for at least three years). Co-owner Greg Lipin promises a flavour with hints of “butterscotch ripple or caramel.” For now, visitors can buy their top-selling gin, vodka, rum and White Dog, a “fancy moonshine” – basically fresh whiskey off the still. Split Tree Cocktail Co.’s local cocktail mix is also sold onsite. Lipin is clear on which spirit he recommends pouring before seeking out Ottawa’s ghouls and goblins: “Our White Dog moonshine. It will give you liquid courage beforehand, and calm your nerves afterwards.”

TRICKS AND TREATS: SHOPPING & ATTRACTIONS

Saunder's Farm

Saunders Farm

Saunders Farm: Haunting Season (daytime, family-friendly activities opening September 26) and Fright Fest (night-time activities for adults and children, open weekends starting September 24) return to this farm in nearby Munster, Ont. Get your spook on with labyrinths, a Haunted Hayride, the Ghost Town stage show, the Barn of Terror, Camp Slaughter and a new spooky attraction opening in October. After fending off the phantoms, enjoy some farm fresh food.

Pumpkinferno

Pumpkinferno

Upper Canada Village lights up with Pumpkinferno from September 30 to October 30. You’ll feel haunted by the outdoor, nighttime exhibit of 7,000 handcrafted pieces of pumpkin art just inside the gates of the historic attraction. Illuminate your Halloween season with displays of scenes from exotic places and historic ages, forest animals and sea-born creatures, storybook heroes, mythical characters, cultural icons and more.

Wicked Wanda's. Credit: Pole Star Photography

Wicked Wanda’s. Credit: Pole Star Photography

Wicked Wanda’sLocated in the iconic Imperial Theatre, which was one of Canada’s major music venues in the 1980s, Wicked Wanda’s houses hundreds of hand-selected adult leisure products. Along with the popular brands of pleasure makers, you’ll find unique and custom items by local artisans and entrepreneurs. Wanda’s is also home to the Sensorium Erotic Gallery, Ottawa’s only erotic art space, which includes works by local, national, and international artists. The gallery, curated by artist-in-residence David Cation, is open during store hours. Not too sure about the tools of satisfaction? Don’t be shy — the knowledgeable staff have a passion for pleasure. 327 Bank St., 613-820-6032, 

Wunderkammer is the German word for “cabinet of curiosities,” and this shop certainly lives up to its name with its whimsical, one-of-a-kind products. You’ll even meet a 100-year-old doll that stands in a glass jar and acts as store security. Vintage furniture, animal skulls, and walls covered in sassy, out-there artwork give the location character. Among the glass cases full of jewellery — including Frug, a line created by owners Tamara Steinborn and Nathan Dubo — you’ll also find stationery, handbags, art, and home décor. The owners say their most magical items are found in one of their house jewellery lines: Tamara Steinborn Jewellery. “We launched the line on Halloween 2015 and it plays on dark and mystical themes from mythology and Wiccan lore.” 234 Dalhousie St., 613-860-3510, Facebook @wunderkammerboutique

Capital Cocktail Guide: Ottawa On Ice

By Chris Lackner

Get in the spirits. Ottawa has a thriving cocktail scene.

Sure, it may be a government town. But it works hard and plays hard. We outlines the hotspots to indulge in colourful, creative cocktails:

Union 613

Union 613

CENTRETOWN

Union 613: Their seasonal cocktail list — starring homemade syrups and infusions — is so good it should be illegal. Speaking of, visit their eccentric basement speakeasy, but don’t prohibit yourself to one drink. El Gringo and This Is Not A Caesar are great starters. 315 Somerset St. W., union613.ca

LITTLE ITALY

two six {ate}: Nobody does an Old Fashioned better. Have three and you’ll be cheering the restaurant’s name, and getting dirty looks form other customers. 268 Preston St., twosixate.com

The Moonroom: Sip artisan cocktails to your heart’s content at one of the city’s most cozy, romantic bars. This is the hidden gem you’ll tell your friends about when you get home. Vampires and werewolves welcome. 442 Preston Street, 613-231-2525

Moonroom.

The Moonroom’s Manhattan

BYWARD MARKET + DOWNTOWN RIDEAU

Hooch Bourbon House: More than 25 kinds of bourbon and a biblical cocktail menu that includes original fare like the Jalapeno Spiked Mint Julep and Caesar Hoochgustus. In order to walk straight, pair your drinks with mouth-watering, southern-flavoured food. 180 Rideau St., hoochbourbon.ca

Atari: They serve a three-tier layer of 24 creatively-named cocktails at $8, $10 or $14. Only here can you claim to have had a drink with Zelda, Jack Sparrow and Mary Poppins. 297 Dalhousie Street, atariottawa.com

HOOCH-WEB

Hooch’s Old Fashioned

The Albion Rooms: Their Market Shrub Sour and ByWard Batida — which pairs muddled blackberries and blueberries with black rum and brandy cream — will help you feel comfortably at home in the ByWard Market. Or step into the Canadian north with the Yukon, the Albion’s take on the classic Alaska cocktail. 33 Nicholas St., thealbionrooms.com

The Moscow Tea Room: Inspired by vodka and Russian culture, their cocktail menu includes playful drinks like the Sharapova (citrus, raspberry and lemon grass) and White Russian Tea, and the mysterious Lady in Red. 527 Sussex Drive, moscowtearoom.com

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two six {ate}’s cocktail Dr. Greenthumb

WELLINGTON WEST

Hintonburg Public House: Don’t be fooled. This hipster haven is about more than craft beer. Their monthly cocktail menu is always full of delightful surprises. After a summer that starred the likes of Basil Margarita and Strawberry Orange Mimosa, just imagine autumn’s treats. 1020 Wellington St W, hintonburgpublichouse.ca

KANATA

Aperitivo: This is the place to get spirited before an Ottawa Senators game. Amidst a sea of Kanata chain restaurants, Aperitivo is an oasis for fine food, and handcrafted cocktails. Although their small menu is always changing, the crowd-pleasing Fish Tacos and the Hibiscus Sour cocktail have been staples since they opened. For something truly otherworldly, sample their unique sweet and spicy Verdita Margarita. 655 Kanata Avenue, Unit L2, 613-592-0004, aperitivo.ca

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two six {ate}’s Myrtle Thatcher’s Cup.

 

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:

BBQ

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.

Burgers

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.

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.

CITY BEACHES

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.

Mother’s Day Brunch: 6 Best Spots to Kick-Start Mother’s Day in Ottawa

Mothers Day Ottawa Brunch

Mother’s Day in Ottawa: how to spoil mom on May 8th (Photo: Stacy Spensley)

Time’s running out to book a great table for Mother’s Day brunch in Ottawa. Here, we’ve compiled some of our top picks for the best places to spoil mom this Mother’s Day in Ottawa (and beyond!).

See the list of top brunches on Mother’s Day in Ottawa »

Read more…

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.

Westboro/Hintonburg

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.

town-web

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.