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Ottawa Winter Break – 5 Must Do Things

With fewer crowds to contend with, winter may be the best time to visit Canada's capital, Ottawa. And when I say there is so much to do and see in this city, I'm not kidding! Ottawa is filled with activities, museums, exhibits and architectural gems. It's hard to choose exactly what to do and what to see. Here are 5 Must Do's this winter.

1. Check Out Forged in Fire

Opening January 29, 2016, this new temporary exhibit, Forged in Fire: The Building and Burning of Parliament, begins its run. The exhibit highlights the 100th anniversary of the fire that destroyed the original Parliament Buildings. It explores the history of the site and the buildings that have called it home throughout its nearly 200-year evolution. The exhibit features artifacts and photographs from Bytown Museum collection, including rare images of the construction of Parliament by early Ottawa photographer, Elihu Spencer. It runs until October 31, 2016.

2. Winterlude

So it’s cold. Big deal! It was with winter in mind, that Winterlude was created in the first place – to celebrate our unique northern climate and culture. Winterlude is a three-day fun-filled event with activities for the entire family. Check out the ice sculpture competitions, play in North America’s largest snow playground and don’t miss the 36th annual Accora Village Bed Race. This event features teams in costumes racing huge decorated beds across frozen ice. Winterlude runs January 29 – February 15, 2016.

3. Gatineau Winter Beerfest

What better time for a beerfest than in the dead of winter. Only in Canada eh! The beerfest is held at the Canadian Museum of History. Here you'll discover over 100 craft beers by brewers from Quebec and Ontario. More than 30 breweries will be on hand. Chef, Martin De Board, the museum’s head chef, will create appetizers to tantalize the most gourmet of taste buds. The Gatineau Winter Beerfest in on January 29-30. It's held inside the museum's Grand hall and outdoors (of course).

4. Warm up in The Albion Rooms

After an activity-filled day, catch your breath, quench your thirst and fill your appetite in this central Ottawa restaurant. The Albion Rooms, is a warm, conversation-friendly restaurant. Cozy up to the bar and chat to the server as he assembles your chacouteri platter. Chef, Stephen LaSalle, has put his personal touch on several traditional British dishes, giving new twists to dishes like scotch eggs and Cornish hen. The Albion Rooms is located inside the Novotel (across from Rideau Centre mall).

5. Skate, Skate and Skate Some More

In addition to the famous Rideau Canal Skateway (opens early January), Ottawa provides a few other skating options:

The Skating Court, a refrigerated ice skating rink in Lansdowne Park, offers free open skating as well as skating programs.

Free skating is also available on the refrigerated surface of the Sens Rink of Dreams, located just outside Ottawa City Hall.

The historic skating rink at Rideau Hall, the home and workplace of Canada’s Governor General, offers free public skating each Saturday and Sunday between January 10 and March 15, weather permitting.

Embrace winter. Get out there!

(photos courtesy of Ottawa Tourism and M Yates)


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Profile photo of Maria Yates

I'm a native of Portugal, now living in Toronto, Canada. My passion for travel has taken me throughout Canada, the Caribbean, the U.S. and several European countries. Cruising is my preferred method of transportation, but I'm not picky. I'm as comfortable having afternoon tea in a 5-star hotel as I am jigging for cod in a Prince Edward Island fishing trawler. My favorite sport is people watching and, oh ya, I love food.



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