Okay, I’m always to first one to say that Ottawa is a nice city, that there are plenty of things to do, that it’s picturesque, relaxed, etc.
But the truth is, it can get quite grim during the in-between months. It’s very picturesque in winter, under a heavy blanket of fresh white snow, when the Rideau Canal is packed with skaters, and during Winterlude with the ice sculptures. But when the snow starts to melt and it’s still cold out, it’s not so fun. On a rainy day, the downtown core can be downright depressing. We completely avoid some areas, for instance by the Ottawa River, until the weather gets nicer.
Well, it’s spring now, and we are rediscovering Ottawa. Dow’s Lake looks wonderful with the Tulips Festival. Parliament Hill and the Byward Market are awesome too—there are plenty of tourists, the patios are open and the atmosphere is fun.
Mark visited the locks that connect the Rideau Canal to the Ottawa River for the first time. It’s not easy to access it with a stroller so we skipped it last year… but since he doesn’t need a stroller anymore, we were good to go! I have always liked the place. It’s funny, for a city (and a country) obsessed with safety, the locks don’t feel that safe, for instance there are no gates preventing people from falling into the water and the walk across the locks is not for those who fear heights. The scenery is awesome, though: the locks are framed by the Parliament Buildings and the fairytale-like Fairmont Château Laurier hotel, Alexandra Bridge and the Canadian Museum of History on the Quebec side.
From the locks, we walked up to Sussex Street and then went to hang out at Major’s Hill Park, where Mark worked on his “rolling downhill” skills. We ended up at the Byward Market where he danced in front of a street performer much to everyone’s entertainment (sadly, we didn’t collect any change…).