By Chris Lackner
Know your ABCs. Our A-Z guide spells out Ottawa’s best summer attractions and activities.
A — Art: The National Gallery of Canada. Come for the giant spider sculpture, stay for the dynamic art — and the Picasso. Until Sept. 5, The National Gallery of Canada’s treasured collection of Picasso’s line drawings is being exhibited. Picasso: Man and Beast takes viewers into the psychic labyrinth of Picasso’s mind, presenting — for the first time in almost 60 years — the artists’ works around such themes as love, lust, animal urges and violence.
B – Bonnechere Caves: 50 million years old and waiting for you to explore in Eganville!
E – Eco-Odyssée: Wakefield’s water maze; encounter beavers instead of Minotaurs.
F – Central Experimental Farm: Includes a tropical greenhouse, wildlife and ornamental gardens, and a 64-acre Arboretum.
G – GreekFest: Ouzo, spanakopita and the zorba dance, anyone? From Aug. 11-21.
H – The Hill: Explore Parliament with guided tours of Centre Block and East Block.
I – International Chamberfest (July 21 to Aug. 3) + International Buskerfest (July 28 to Aug. 1): Chamberfest offers intimate, beautiful venues with great acoustics and even better variety. Yes, there will be classical music small ensembles – but also street music, electronic music, children’s shows, jazz, multimedia, and medieval chants. As for Buskerfest, this free Sparks Street festival attracts street performers – musicians, acrobats, contortionists and more! – from Canada and around the world.
K – Kayaking: Dow’s Lake Pavilion rentals also include canoes and paddleboats.
L – Leamy Lake Park beach: Who new Ottawa-Gatineau was a beach vacation? This sandy Gatineau haven is one of the many places to beat the summer heat. For Where Ottawa’s complete area beach guide, follow this link to sand and sunshine.
N – Nordik-Spa Nature: Spa time at the edge of Gatineau Park!
O – Ottawa Champions: Take yourself out to the ball game for this optimistically-named minor-league team.
P – Lansdowne Park: The new destination for entertainment, shopping and dining anchors the Glebe, one of Ottawa’s trendiest hoods.
Q – Quest (for quarts and pints). Brew Donkey delivers you to the suds with craft brewery tours.
R – Rideau Hall: Tour the home and workplace of Canada’s Governor General; special events include Storytime for children on Fri and Sat afternoons.
S – Soccer. The Ottawa Fury FC hopes to kick and head its way back to the North American Soccer League championship game, where they narrowly lost in 2015. Join some 24,000 fans at the revamped TD Place alongside the Rideau Canal. Stay for food, shopping and entertainment in Lansdowne Park and neighbouring streets in the Glebe.
U – Upper Canada Village: Time travel to the 1860s, but don’t stay for the winter.
V – Velogo: The capital and its stunning bike paths are best explored via pedal.
W – Westboro: Come for pedestrian-friendly shopping, stay for the beach.
Y – Free Yoga on Parliament Hill (noon on Wednesdays). Twist your body, leave truth twisting to politicos.
Z – Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo: A snaky experience.