Expats · Toronto

Exploring Ottawa!

I can’t believe it’s already been a few weeks since we visited Ottawa – and even more bizarrely, yesterday marked the year anniversary of moving to Canada. Time is flying! It’s crazy to think we are about a fifth of the way through 2017.

I will have to do a one year expat post soon, but for now I keep meaning to put up photos from our wintery trip to Ottawa and just haven’t had the time. I’m scribbling this on a scrap of paper on my lunch-break at work, fingers crossed I get around to typing up and publishing this evening.

We visited Ottawa for the family day long weekend – and got the train from Toronto. It was so much cheaper than flying, and a reasonably comfortable journey (even if it did take nearly 5 hours to get there). It still amazes me how far apart everything is in Canada. Back home, 5 hours on a train could get you most the way across the country – here it’s just to the next large city.

Ottawa particularly appealed for this weekend due to the Winterlude festival. This yearly event consists of ice-sculptures, the world’s largest icerink in the form of the frozen Rideau canal and other wintery Canadian goodness.

We arrived lateish Saturday and were pretty devastated to hear the canal had been closed due to the unusually warm February weather (and so the ice was melting). However, the rest of the festival was still in full swing, and so on Sunday we enjoyed viewing the seriously impressive ice-sculptures.

sculpture 1
Winterlude Ice Sculpture – Ottawa. 

sculpture 2

We also had the chance to taste the Canadian cuisine ‘Taffy on snow’ – which is basically pure maple syrup and snow. A bit too sweet for my liking but definitely an experience!

For the rest of the trip, we explored the non-Winterlude related sights Ottawa has to offer – including a tour of parliament, the Canadian War Museum and the Royal Canadian mint. It has to be said Ottawa’s attractions are incredibly fairly priced – with the Parliament tour being free (just reserve your tickets in the morning) and the Royal Mint tour only $4.

Parliament overlooking the frozen river

We spent a fair bit of time simply walking around the city, wowed by the frozen river (a first for us) and the general snowiness.

snow ott
Much deeper snow than Toronto!
snow sculpture
Snow Sculpture found in the Market, Ottawa

I really liked Ottawa. It is a lot smaller than Toronto – but I am much more a small city person, plus I love places rich in history. And Ottawa certainty ticks that box.



One thought on “Exploring Ottawa!

  1. I lived in Ottawa for four years and adored it. It stole my heart. I always said that if I was able to find a teaching job in the city I may never have returned back to the UK. Winterlude is a fantastic festival. I love the beavertails which I know are on offer year round. And I completely agree with you about being more drawn into the city due its size and history. It was nice to remember Ottawa in the winter through your post.


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