Now that the warm weather has arrived, here are some ways to get out in the capital and enjoy the sunshine:
1. Picnic at Majors Hill Park
You’ll find this park across from the Byward Market. You’ll find benches scattered throughout to stop and relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. From here you’ll get great views of the Ottawa River and Parliament. Pack a blanket and a picnic for a great afternoon with friends or a date.
2. Nepean Point
During the warmer months Nepean Point opens and it’s a great spot to sit in the stands and take in a beautiful view of the capital. You’ll find this spot behind the National Gallery of Canada. From the top you’ll get a great view of the Ottawa River, Parliament and the Canadian Museum of History. The statue is of French Explorer Samuel de Champlain, who explored the Ottawa River in 1613. The hill is located between the National Art Gallery and the Alexandra Bridge.
3. Ice Cream in the Byward Market
Cool down with some ice cream at Menchies and then explore the Byward Market or walk along the canal. Menchies has a great variety of frozen yogurts and every topping you can imagine.
4. Gatineau Park
Enjoy the great outdoors at Gatineau Park. Walk around and take in the sights as everything is starting to blossom. Gatineau Park is the perfect spot for hiking, biking and more. The trails and lakes are beautiful. It’s a great place to disconnect and enjoy the outdoors.
Nestled in Gatineau Park you’ll find the country estate that belonged to William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s 10th Prime Minister. When he passed away he left his estate to all Canadians. You can walk through the beautiful gardens, historical ruins and relax in the Mackenzie King Café & Tearoom.
5. Patio drinks
Now that the warm weather is here, many restaurants are opening their patios. On a warm day the patio’s are packed. Head to the Byward Market and patio hop with friends.
6. Yoga on Parliament Hill
Starting on May 4th, join hundreds of yogi’s on Parliament Hill for a lunch hour yoga session. It is held every Wednesday from 12pm-1pm until September. Make sure to get there early and get a good spot.
7. Ottawa Poutine Fest
On May 5th head to City Hall where over 20 vendors will be serving up their poutine creations. All weekend long you’ll be able to stop by and try this Canadian classic. You’ll find a great mix of exotic and traditional poutines. You’ll also find live music, beer gardens and more. Visit their website for more information.
8. Ottawa Fury at TD Place
Head to TD Place on May 7th where the Ottawa Fury will be taking on the Minesota United at 2 pm. Join the crowd as they cheer on the team. After the game head to one of the patio’s at Lansdowne.
9. Canadian Tulip Festival
From May 12th-23rd the Canadian Tulip Festival is taking place in the capital. It’s the largest tulip festival in the world and attracts over 600,000 visitors each year.
The Canadian Tulip Festival started because each year the Netherlands send tulips to Canada as a sign of appreciation for keeping the Dutch Royal family safe during WWII. While in exile in Ottawa, Princess Juliana gave birth to Princess Margaret on January 19th, 1943. In 1945, once she returned to the Netherlands, Princess Juliana sent Ottawa 100,000 tulip bulbs for providing a safe haven during the war and to recognize the role Canadian troops played in the liberation of the Netherlands. The tulip symbolizes a historic friendship between the Netherlands and Canada.
The festival provides entertainment and activities for visitors of all ages. Along with the beautiful array of thousands of tulips, the festival also provides plenty of entertainment and activities. Walk along a beautiful stretch of nearly 300,000 tulips. There are 60 different tulip varieties that can be seen in 30 flower beds. You’ll see Ottawa come alive with thousands of beautiful tulips adding colour to the city; a sure sign that this cold winter is behind us.
10. Nokia Bike Days
You can enjoy cycling on Sundays on car-free road’s in the capital region. Over 50km of parkways are open for cyclists, runners, skaters and walkers. It’s a great way to get outside and be active while taking in some stunning views. Nokia Bike Days will take place from May 15th until September 4th. Visit their website for more information about routes.
Don’t have a bike? Head to one of the VeloGo Bike Share stations and rent a bike for the day. Visit their website to find out when bikes are available. Rent a bike in one area and drop it off at the next available station. It’s a great way to see the city.