GUEST POST - OttaWHAT? A GUIDE TO TOURING CANADA'S CAPITAL CITY

Greetings, fellow travel-bugs! 

My name is Sara and I blog over at girl untitled, a snippet of all things random and unnecessary. I quickly met 2 of the 3 triplets whilst aboding in Hawaii this past winter, and since then we have become GREAT online friends! I'm from a wonderful place fondly known as CANADA! Have you heard of it? It's kind of like the United States but bigger and less people (our population is about the size of the state of California). It also houses the friendliest folk, the prettiest sceneries, and enough maple syrup to tempt any diabetic! I'm here to tell you why Ottawa, our nation's capital, should be the next place on your travel bucket list…so here it goes: 

Sights and Attractions You've Got to See...

If museums are what you live for, than Ottawa is the right place for you! With over 30 museums within city limits alone, Ottawa is a place that promotes in preserving history. Every Thursday students get in for free at any museum. 
One place I frequented quite a bit was the Canadian National Art Gallery, located near the National Mint Museum (and yes that's a giant spider in front of it…don't ask). When I lived there I was able to see a lot of great exhibitions, including works by Andy Warhol and Miro. Their astute permanent collection is something to see as well, from Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain" piece to Barnett Newman's "Voice of Fire" (which at 18 feet tall stands in a room all by itself). Other notable museums to look into are: The National War Museum (located in Gatineau, QC…on the other side of the Ottawa River), The Civilization Museum (also in Gatineau, but it seriously is a 10 minute walk from downtown Ottawa), and the Aerial Museum (located on the east-end of the city). 

And of course…you can't go to Ottawa without stopping by our nation's Parliament buildings! A smaller version of the British parliament houses, this is where the leaders of our country meet on a daily basis to discuss both national and international concerns. And if you're lucky, you can sometimes get caught in the middle of a heated protest, since that's where all the picketers like to hang out too. 

There is no better place to celebrate Canada Day than in the nation's capital itself! Millions of people flock every July 1st to Parliament Hill for music, dancing, street vendors, and FOOD. We usually have a special guest or two, and this year it so happened to be Prince William and Kate! I may be completely biased when I say this but…Canadians really do know how to put on a good show. 

Another lively area of the city is the historic Byward Market. Located in the heart of Ottawa, this place is jam packed with vendors all-year round, and is the home to probably one of the best tasty treats around: BEAVERTAILS (no beavers are ever harmed in the making, don't worry). President Obama stopped by for a Beavertail while touring Canada in 2009…and in return got a cookie named after him…aren't Canadians great? 

Eating my first {but certainly not my last!} BEAVERTAIL! 2008

Transit and Parking...

Like any big city, parking is sometimes hard to find. But I do know the code to my ex-boyfriend's parking stall so contact me if you ever want to use it (really though…he doesn't need it). If you're short on a vehicle, taking the bus is an EXCELLENT alternative. It's inexpensive and reliable, being noted as one of the best busing systems in the world (except when the union decides to go on strike in the dead of winter). Another source of transit is biking. Rental stalls can be found all over the Downtown core, and you might need the exercise after eating 5 Beavertails, right? 
Spooky Accommodations…


There are plenty of hotels and accommodations in the downtown area, 
but two places stand out from all the rest. The Chateau Laurier was commissioned by The Grand Trunk Railway president Charles Melville Hays, and was constructed between 1909-1912. The hotel was to be opened April 26, 1912, but because Hays died in the sinking of the Titanic earlier that month, didn't open until June. Many believe that Hays' spirit haunts the corridors of the historic hotel to this day.

The Ottawa Jail Hostel is a hostel which used to be the old Ottawa Jail…hence "The Ottawa Jail Hostel". When the jail closed in 1972, a hostel company bought it and transformed it, although left a lot of the original structure intact, allowing guests to experience a "night in jail". The gallows, where many inmates were eventually hanged, still stands there today with an eerie noose hanging from it. Talk about creepy! 
FOOD! FOOD! GLORIOUS FOOD! 

Ottawa is a city rich with culture, and it shows in all the diverse food services that are available. You can't come to Canada and not try at least one authentic poutine, cheese curds and all, but the down town area is home to some of the finest ethnic cuisine around as well. Indian, Thai, Pho, you name it. One notable dish you must try is a Lebanese Shawarma…and you can find this delectable donair basically anywhere in the city because every street corner has a Shawarma restaurant. No lie! A great time to come to Ottawa is in the summertime, when every week there is a different festival of sorts going on…jam packed with food! Italian festival, Greek festival, hey…they even have a day completely devoted to ribs! Do Canadians know how to party or WHAT?!
I could go on and on about how wonderful this national capital is, but it might take another few guests posts to do that, there's just so much to see. Ottawa is one of the best cities around, and I couldn't think of a better place to represent all of Canada. So go on…don't be shy…pack your toque and come for a visit, eh!  You won't regret it. 


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Thanks, Sara - you are awesome!
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2 comments on GUEST POST - OttaWHAT? A GUIDE TO TOURING CANADA'S CAPITAL CITY

  1. Sara: you forgot skating on the Rideau canal and Winterfest!!! time for another guest post...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I feel a little cheated...I am the only one in the family who has never been to Ottawa. Hmmm road trip Sara? After my baby comes of course. Trips...I have heard so much about you from Sara and I love love love the blog!

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