• By: Aaron Nava

Take a no-travel holiday this summer right here in Ottawa

After months of isolation, you might find yourself going a little-stir crazy. Spring is in bloom, Summer’s around the corner, but there’s nowhere to go! Thankfully, there are many ways to have some fun for a day or a couple of days. The Ottawa area is full of wide green spaces you can safely visit, and there are many ways to stream exciting content from home. So get out of the house for a while and unwind, here in Ottawa. 

A Walk in the Park

The NCC is lifting restrictions on parks; you still can’t park your car there, but if you live near one, consider going for a walk in nature. Andrew Haydon Park has a great peninsula you can walk out to for a spell, and the Dominion Arboretum is nice this time of year as well. But there are little green spaces all over Ottawa and Gatineau, curated by the NCC and the respective cities, so there are many options to explore.

Consider inviting a friend for a socially distant walk, and bring a sandwich for a picnic. (Picnic areas in the Greenbelt and in Gatineau Park remain closed, but you can still sit on the grass.) Find a nice place, Sit for a spell near one of this area’s many rivers, and watch the water drift past.

Stay safe if you’re heading outdoors for the day! Remember to bring bottled water, apply sunblock and pack a lunch. Gloves and a mask would be useful if you find you need to stop inside at some point, too.

Go Biking

The NCC has closed some roads, including the Queen Elizabeth Driveway to allow more room for cyclers, and Ottawa’s parks are opening back up. Sounds like a great time to go for a bike ride! Ottawa has always had a solid network of bicycle trails; get outside the downtown core, and you can travel from green space to green space, along one river or another.

It helps to plan your route, and have a sense of where you’d like to go with the time you have that day. If you live closer to the edge of the Ottawa-Gatineau area, like Ottawa South or Vanier, consider taking a trip to the Greenbelt. Ottawa is blessed with considerable green spaces in all directions, an island of city in an ocean of grass and trees.

If you live closer to the centre of the Ottawa-Gatineau region, head to the bike lanes along the Rideau Canal or the Ottawa River. They run all around the downtown core, many dedicated bike lanes and paths head towards them, and they head to all sorts of interesting places. Bike down to the Experimental Farm for a bit of fresh air, or cross the bridge for Major’s Hill Park.

Le Boat

Le Boat offers seven-day boating vacations on the Rideau Canal; you can ride all the way down to Kingston, if you’d like. You can see the engineering feats of the Canal from the water, while having access to amenities like a fully equipped kitchen. Pass the time with a little fishing, or just relax and let the river carry you. Most rentals are 20 per cent off right now, and you know you won’t be fighting with many tourists, so it’s a good time to book.

Ottawa Life Magazine will be covering Le Boat in more detail soon. Read our upcoming summer issue to find out more.

Bank of Canada Museum at Home

The Bank of Canada Museum may be closed to the public, but it has free resources available for interested minds. Resources aimed at taxpayers include modules on monetary policy in Canada, but there are plenty of resources to help introduce kids to basic economic concepts, like inflation and trade, as well as activities to teach concepts like financial literacy. A good idea for parents looking for something productive and interesting to do with their kids.

Stream a Concert

Music lovers will find that there are a lot of concerts streaming on the web these days. In Ontario alone, you can watch City Hall Live, where Toronto City Hall broadcasts local music acts to raise money for Unison Benevolent Fund, to create opportunities for local musicians. There’s also Music Together by Ontario Live, which streams concerts by Ontario artists during this time. Radio Canada is hosting live concerts at Le Petit Festival ICI MUSIQUE regularly until June 4th. Check here for a list of shows.

Take a Virtual Tour

See the world without leaving your couch. Many different locations around the world uploaded virtual tours for visitors who can’t make it—and so has one location above the world, in the case of the International Space Station. The Station’s grand tour is a good way to spend an hour, and includes explanations of the various modules, and descriptions of Canada’s contributions, like the Canadarm2.

But there are many earthly locations you can visit through a computer as well. The Royal Ontario Museum has online exhibitions available, and you can visit the museum in Google Maps as well. The Vancouver Aquarium has live streams of some of their animals; click here to see the penguin enclosure. And for a longer list of Canadian museums and attractions, click here.

Stream a Film, Play or Opera

If you want to watch a movie or performance from home, plenty of places are offering performances available to stream. The Metropolitan Opera in New York is offering a Nightly Opera Stream for all who can’t make it. The Stratford Festival is streaming plays on their website and YouTube for several weeks each. For more on stage plays, musicals and operas, check out the comprehensive list from What’s Onstage. And check out the National Film Board of Canada, which has thousands of pieces of films available on its website.