My Favourite Things To Do In Ottawa

I was watching this clip (from “Every Frame a Painting”) the other day about how great Memories of Murder is and I was reminded of the amazing video store in Ottawa where JBot and I first rented it.  Invisible Cinema in downtown Ottawa was the gateway drug for so many fantastic new films. Wyatt was only too happy to recommend new things to us. You know the place is great when they organize films by director!

Just looked it up and it has been shuttered. Dang!

And now with friends about to depart for a holiday in Ottawa, let’s continue down nostalgia lane and share some of our favourite places in Ottawa:

Chez Lucien in the Byward Market (137 Murray Street). Where art is worshipped along with the baseball game. The burger named after Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera is so good. Try it with the side salad and french fries. Their free jukebox is stellar. As is the romantic chocolate fondue.

This is a great spot to visit after the National Gallery.

I was obsessed with Hintonburger when I was pregnant with G-Man. Oh man, nothing better than a big greasy delicious local homemade burger with bacon…. <queue Homer Simpson drool sounds> When we first started going there they ran out of a little trailer. Now they have taken over the old KFC so they have a much bigger space. I’ll admit, I loved the lop-sided tables. And the burgers. Still worship those burgers.

Beau's

Craft beer has really gained popularity in Ontario but, for me, it all began with Beau’s. Not in Ottawa proper but outside of town in the small village of Vankleek Hill, Beau’s has grown into a top-notch brewer and a role model for keeping businesses local and independent. Their Oktoberfest is a blast if you are visiting  the Ottawa area in the fall. They have a new patio to tempt travellers to stay and eat and drink after a tour.

There is a lot of great hiking trails in and around Ottawa. The Trans-Canada Trail that runs along the Ottawa River and next to Parliament and the canal is very popular, of course. When we lived in Ottawa Mer Bleue was our favourite hiking spot. It is an easy looped trail through a bog. Bog ecology is really fascinating. Which reminds me of Beau’s fantastic seasonal beer called Bog Water. It is made with myrtle! So good!! Pretty sure that beer is inspired by the Alfred Bog though…

Another place in Ottawa that has a special place in our hearts is the residence of the Governor General. It is called Rideau Hall. The building itself is gorgeous, the history is interesting, but it is the site itself that is worth a visit. The gardens and arbour are lovely. Plus, we also had a regular meeting of families at the sweet playground there. Best in town!

Scone-Witch

Rideau Hall is also close to the Scone Witch on Beechwood. They have more than one location. Their scone sandwich with turkey and Stilton cheese is the stuff of dreams. And their lemon curd. It is also next door to Books on Beechwood.

We used to live close to the Glebe neighbourhood. It has a nice vibe. We loved their annual yard sales.

If you are visiting Ottawa, definitely check out the schedules for the Bytowne Theatre or the Mayfair. Great movie theatres!

And if you are looking for coffee check out Bridgehead! They have a few different locations throughout town.

I am sad to say that our favourite Jamaican place is no more. We will miss Frederick, his crazy spicy jerk, and his crazy strong homemade ginger beer! The same has to be said for Zen Kitchen as well. We had the best food and drink pairing EVER at this vegan restaurant. But, that is the fate of restaurants I suppose. It can be a hard business…

Ottawa has a bad reputation for being boring, “the town fun forgot” gets flung around a lot. But really, it just inevitably looks bad in comparison to Montreal or Toronto. That and the large number of civil servants who don’t really cut loose amirite?  ^_^

What Kind of Traveller Are You?

Like anything, there’s all kinds of travellers in this world.  From those that barely go far enough to lose sight of their homes to those that travel to far off lands with the lightest of ease.  I would consider my family to veer towards the latter, as we’ve been lucky enough to travel to multiple countries with very little weighing us down.  Speaking of weight, I couldn’t imagine dragging giant rolling suitcases everywhere I go, like some travellers seem to always do.  2000 year old cobblestones and rough, unbeaten paths don’t work well with those flimsy luggage wheels, anyway.

So what kind of traveller are you?  Sarah Cooper of The Cooper Review has create cute illustrations that show different types of travellers (or, travelers for you Americans).   Here’s one, with more after the break (go to The Cooper Review for all of them!):

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Singapore?

Singapore, and Malaysia in general, has always been on my list of go-to destinations.  Something about the look and feel of the city always mesmerized me – the vibrant colours are absolutely breathtaking.  Of course, there’s more than just the vistas that Singapore is known for.  The food – from hawker centres, to the rice dishes, Wall’s ice cream and the chili sauces are all high in my books.  Singapore has a vast history which tickles the dormant anthropologist in me (e.g., the Jackson Plan is interesting early racial segregation), while the growing pop culture scene is an exciting blend of religions, histories and cultures thanks to its sea port upbringing.  I’m not sure if Singapore will make it into our final travel plans, but hopefully it remains a contender.

Of course, I also just want to drink a Singapore Sling while listening to Tom Waits’ Shore Leave… in Singapore.  Luckily, there are travel articles detailing exactly where, and where not, to get your gin fix.

Anyway, the Internet has a vast expanse of reasons to visit Singapore.  But, for your enjoyment, here’s a beautiful video titled The Lion City II – Majulah by Photographer and filmmaker Keith Loutit that shows how much Singapore has been growing and changing over the past three years:

The above video is a sequel to The Lion City a tilt-shift video that apparently tackles the crushing heat of the city (maybe not the best video to prove why I want to go but the visuals are nicely shot):

Travel Idea: Shakespeare

With the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death last week there was quite a bit of talk about the bard.

I came across this link of “Pubs That Shakespeare Actually Drank At” list and wanted to bookmark it for future reference, cuz you know, beer:

 

The George Inn, London – An Elizabethan inn-yard theatre, burned down and rebuilt in 1677, National Trust site
The Bell Inn, Welford on Avon, Warwickshire – Open fireplaces!
The Windmill, Stratford-upon-Avon –2 minute walk from Will’s house, built in 1599.
Shakespeare’s Tree, Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire – This is evidently a tree that the great bard, um, passed out under. Good to know!
The George Inn

Travel Idea – Vans & RVs

When I was a kid, my grandparents had a camper van. Man, I loved that camper van. I was hoping to find something similar to take the kids on a road trip this summer but then I looked at the cost of rentals.

And then I had a small heart attack.

Soooo, that’s not happening. But I think I will file it away with plans for a later date. Sometime when I can maybe buy a van second-hand and do a diy transformation into a camper van of my own.

Something like what Christine On did here on her blog Defying Normal.

And what Lloyd Khan has been documenting in his Shelter books.