You knew about the Canal and Parliament Hill before you even visited Ottawa, but you may not know about some of Ottawa’s other great attractions.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride
One of the most unique and spectacular sites you can view in Ottawa is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride. The event showcases the equestrian skills of thirty two of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s cavalry, who are in fact, regular members of the RCMP police force. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride Centre allows visitors to get an up close visit with these RCMP officers and their beautiful horses.Web Site
Address: 1200 Vanier Parkway Ottawa, ON K1A 0R2 (613)741-8181
This You Tube video shows what the RCMP Musical Ride is all about. This particular ride was in Toronto, the one in Ottawa is similar.
The Haunted Walk of Ottawa
As the nation’s capital, Ottawa is obviously full of history and important events in Canada’s history. What many people do not realize, however, is that Ottawa has a well documented haunted history. Haunted Walks Inc. Presents the Haunted Walk of Ottawa five nights a week in the nation’s capital. The walks only start when it is just dark enough to set the proper “spooky” mood and then you are on your guided tour through an alternative history of Ottawa.
The tour takes you to “The Ottawa Jail Hostel,” which for years has been thought to be haunted by the ghost of the supposed assassin of Sir Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Patrick J. Whelan. Staff and visitors have reported strange happenings in the hostel repeatedly over the years. In fact, in the past, regular visitors to the hostel (which used to be Ottawa’s main jail before being converted into a hostel) often accepted the challenge of sleeping on the top floor of the hostel. The challenge was simple, if you could last the night without being scared away by the ghosts, you could stay for free. Rumour has it that no free visit was ever given, until finally fire marshals disallowed this practice. Those taking the tour will see plenty more like the popular restaurant where a ghost has been known to tickle the ivories and the famous Bytown Museum, which many believe to be haunted by constructor of the Canal, Colonel John By himself.Web Site
Address: 73 Clarence Street Ottawa, ON K1P 5R3 (613) 232-0344
This You Tube video is part of a series by Haunted Walks that interviews the tour guides on some of the more scary and awkward moments they have had on their tours.
Map of Ottawa Points of Interest
When it comes to shopping, Ottawa has many different options. There are outdoor markets, where you can shop for homemade crafts and food, like the Byward Market. Ottawa also has many malls, including a historic, outdoor mall, the Sparks Street Mall, The Rideau Centre, St. Laurent Shopping Centre, Place D’Orleans Shopping Centre and Bayshore Shopping Centre.
The Byward Market - The Byward Market is one of the most popular spots in Ottawa for shopping, nightlife and even just walking around.
In the daytime, the Byward Market is a lively market full of outdoor vendors selling fruits, vegetables, flowers, crafts and various other odds and ends. For anyone with a sweet tooth, the Byward Market is one of the only places that you can get one of Ottawa’s world famous “Beavertails.” The Market also has many restaurants, bistros and pubs where you can grab a bite to eat, if you’re looking to give your feet a break while you eat. Local artists are often in the Byward Market, as well, not just selling their work, but often working on it as well. Buskers are another major attraction, whether you enjoy the sounds of busking musicians or if you prefer seeing jugglers and things of that nature, it’s all in the Byward Market.
At night, the Byward Market transforms into the hottest spot for Ottawa’s bar and club scene. Whether you prefer a hot dance club, a pub with live music, salsa dancing, live rock music, or just about anything you can imagine. It is all available at night in the Byward Market.
This You Tube Video gives some great images of shops and points of interest in the Byward Market.
The Sparks Street Mall - Just a block away from Parliament Hill, the Sparks Street Mall is more than just a mall; it is a place of great historical significance. It includes the spot where in 1868; Sir Thomas D’Arcy McGee (one of the fathers of Confederation) was assassinated. To date, his murder is still the only political assassination in Canadian history.
In 1961, it was decided that for a brief time, Sparks Street would be turned into a pedestrian shopping mall. The success of the venture, led to the idea to make this a permanent change. As a result, to this day, motorized vehicles are not allowed on Sparks Street. While not as popular as it used to be, the mall still includes local shops and in the warmer months includes sidewalk cafes. Web Site
This You Tube video shows the highlights and shops in the Sparks Street Mall with commentary.
The Rideau Centre - Located in the heart of downtown Ottawa, the Rideau Centre is more than just a shopping mall. One hundred and eighty shops fill the mall, but there is so much more. The Westin Hotel and Congress Centre are attached to the mall. There is also a beautiful rooftop garden that gives breathtaking views of the Byward Market, the Rideau Canal, the Chateau Laurier and the Parliament Buildings. The Rideau Centre has been officially designated as a tourist area, which means that it is the only indoor shopping mall in the city that is allowed to be open on statutory holidays. The Rideau Centre is also a major transportation hub, as many local buses make the trip to and from the mall every couple of minutes.Web Site
Address: 50 Rideau Street, Suite 300 Ottawa, ON K1N 9J7 (613) 236-6565
St. Laurent Shopping Centre - In terms of square footage, the largest mall in the Ottawa area is St. Laurent Shopping Centre. There are 195 shops and services within the mall. The mall’s owners have recently requested permission to expand the mall which would bring it up to being the tenth largest mall in Canada (it is currently the 27th.) It is a favourite mall for children, in particular, as it holds Ottawa’s largest toy store, “Toys R Us.” The mall is attached to St. Laurent Station, one of the busiest bus stations in the city, making the mall very accessible no matter how you are travelling.Web Site
Address: 1200 St. Laurent Blvd., Ottawa, ON K1K 3B8 (613) 745-6858
Place D’Orleans Shopping Centre - Place D’Orleans Shopping Centre is the most popular shopping mall for residents in the east end of Ottawa. Over 175 shops and services, including three large department stores (Zellers, The Bay and Sportchek) fill this large mall. One of the favourite features is also the fountain, which shoots water fifty feet into the air, just below the beautiful glass ceilings. The YMCA “Mini-Port” is also a popular spot in the mall, as you can take your children there to play on the slides etc. for free. Web Site
Address: 110 Place d'Orléans Drive Orleans, ON K1C 2L9 (613) 824-9050
Bayshore Shopping Centre - Bayshore Shopping Centre is the most popular mall for residents in the west end of the city. It is one of Ottawa’s busiest malls, attracting more than seven million visitors each year. Some major renovations and expansion over the year have led to this mall being anchored by several large department stores: Old Navy, The Bay, Winners/Homesense, Zellers and Sports Experts. One of the most popular features in the mall is the daycare. “Port Pizzazz” run by the YMCA, allows children to actually drop off their children to play, while they go shopping. A minimal hourly fee can be skipped with proof of purchase of $75 in the mall. Web Site
Address: 100 Bayshore Drive Ottawa, ON K2B 8C1 (613) 829-7491
Map of Ottawa Shopping Centres
Sparks Street Mall
When people think of Ottawa, “fun in the sun” is not usually the first term that comes to mind. The reality is, however, that Ottawa’s beaches are becoming increasingly popular throughout the city. Ottawa has four main beaches that are very popular with Ottawa residents and visitors: Britannia Beach, Mooney’s Bay Beach, Petrie Island Beach and Westboro Beach. The beaches aren’t just great places to unwind and “catch rays” either. The beaches are home to volleyball tournaments, movie screenings and all sorts of other activities for everyone, throughout the year.
Britannia Beach - Britannia Beach is located on the Ottawa River. A popular spot for picnics or just a day of relaxation, Britannia Beach has been one of Ottawa’s most popular beaches for years. In the summertime, the beach is often packed with locals and tourists looking for a great way to spend a summer day. Picnic tables and barbecue pits make Britannia Beach one of Ottawa’s most popular picnic destinations.
Mooney’s Bay Beach - Mooney’s Bay Beach is located on the Rideau River. Located next to the Mooney’s Bay sports facility, the Mooney’s Bay Beach is very popular with swimmer and rowers. Beach volleyball is also very popular at the beach. Tennis courts and play structures allow further fun for the whole family.
Petrie Island Beach - Ottawa’s newest beach is Petrie Island Beach and its large area of sand makes it resemble a typical beach more than any of the other three in Ottawa. A lovely shaded area with picnic tables is very popular for visitors who want to cool off and have a bite to eat or just spend some time in the shade. Barbecues are allowed in this area, as well, which is a very popular feature. Petrie Island Beach has been a hot spot since opening a few years ago and it seems to grow in popularity each year.
Westboro Beach - A smaller beach, Westboro Beach is often popular with families. Visitors come to enjoy the sun and spend some time swimming or having picnics. At night time, in the summer, Westboro Beach is home to the popular “Movies at the Beach” series, where popular movies are shown outdoors. Hundreds of people turn out for “Movies at the Beach” every time it is done and it seems to be increasing in popularity all the time.