What is it like to live in Ottawa Canada in Spring?
The snow is melting, the birds are chirping and there’s finally sunlight past 5PM. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter and everything the snowy season has to offer — but there’s no better feeling in the world than the seasonal transition from winter to spring. Trust me, if you know, you know. Today, we are covering what it is like to live in Ottawa Canada during the Spring.
After months of bundling up, drinking hot cocoa and playing in the snow — it’s time to shed your winter gear and start your spring thaw, because there’s a ton to see and do in Ottawa with summer right around the corner. In this video, I’m going to be sharing top ten tips and tricks, and hidden gems of what it’s like to live in Ottawa during spring.
1. Sugar Shacks
First up, we have sugar shacks. Aka, the sugary, maple-y goodness known to locals as liquid gold. During the months of March and April, when nights are below freezing but days are mild, is when sugar season starts and sap starts to flow. From maple infused gourmet foods to horse-drawn sleigh rides, we take celebrating our national treasure seriously. The most popular, and only urban, sugar shack in Ottawa is Vanier Museopark. They host an annual Sugar Festival with tons of activities to experience and maple taffy on snow to eat, but you can find many other sugar shacks in the surrounding region. The ones I have visited with my family are Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Shack, Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm, Proulx Sugar Bush and Berry Farm just to name a few. If you’ve never been, you’re in for a real sweet treat (pun intended).
2. Nature Trails
It’s never too early to get out and hike! Spring hiking may as well be called mud hiking, but life is always a bit funner when you can get your hands (and feet) a little dirty. During the spring season, paved trails would be the best bet if you want to keep the mud to a minimum, or be prepared to bring an extra pair of shoes and socks for your outdoor adventure.
If you’re thinking of hiking in any Gatineau Park trails in spring, make sure you check out the National Capital Commission’s website to see which areas are open and closed — because some trails will be closed to dry out for the summer season and protect the wildlife during spring thaw. One of the great benefits of Living in Ottawa is the access to nature. It is literally 10-15 minutes from your doorstep. With the gift of the National Capital Commission’s ‘Greenbelt’ which is a protected wetland and forest area that surrounds Ottawa like a ring separating the suburbs from the central region – we are literally surrounded by nature trails.
And if you want larger more adventurous hikes then you can always head to Gatineau Park or head just outside the city for plenty of trails. My favourites are Stony Swamp Trail, Jack Pine Trail, Mud Lake, Pinhey Forest, Morris Island Conservation and so many more!
3. All Things Seasonal Transition
It’s time to set aside your winter jacket, winter boots, hats, gloves and scarves — and bust out the pastel colours and lighter layers. And while you’re transitioning out your wardrobe, this is your last call to take down any of your holiday decor if you haven’t already. It’s also time to put away any winter gear like skates, skis and snowboards, and bring out the bikes and rollerblades from hiding. If you own a car, you’ll also want to change your winter tires to all season. Like all seasonal changes people often wonder what is it like to live in Ottawa Canada in Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter!
4. Canadian Tulip Festival
If there’s a handful of things Ottawa is known for, the Canadian Tulip Festival would be up there. Held annually in May since 1953, the Tulip Festival was established to celebrate the historic Royal gift of tulips from the Dutch to Canadians immediately following the Second World War as a symbol of international friendship. As you shop local goodies and munch on some delicious snacks from food trucks nearby — if you really wanted to, you’ll be able to count over one million tulips planted in Commissioners Park on the shores of Dow’s Lake, and along the Rideau Canal.
5. Patio Life
Patio is life. Need I say more? Spring means patio furniture is being dusted off and finally making its entrance. What better way to spend your afternoons or evenings cooling off with a delicious cocktail or beer outside, paired with a gourmet meal from a local chef.
There are a ton of amazing restaurants that offer patio space around the city, most notably in the Byward Market (HQ, Sidedoor, Warehouse, The Grand, Fairouz, Heart and Crown, etc), Lansdowne (Local, Jack Astors, Joeys, Crust and Crate, Craft Beer Market), Hintonburg (Absinthe, Bar Laurel, Bar Lupulus, Carben Food + Drink) Glebe and Westboro (Churchills, Bite This, Gezellig) and of course, in suburban areas like Kanata Centrum (Milestone, Jack Astors, Crazy Horse, 3 Brewers). Whether you’re looking for a classy night out or to get a bit wild while smashing back beers and pub food — you’ll be sure to find a patio spot for every occasion.
6. Food Truck Season
Ah yes — food trucks. The most under-rated, and underdogs, of the foodie community. In Ottawa, many food trucks will close during the colder months so if you’ve had a craving all winter long, you’re finally in luck! From tacos (Yakko Takko) to lobster rolls (Ad Mare Seafood Truck) to a platter of Jamaican jerk chicken (Caribbean Cruiser) — you might say bye-bye to indoor dining for good! Check out all the top spots to see during this season!
7. Farmer’s Markets
Who doesn’t love a good Farmer’s Market? It’s one of my favorite things to talk about when someone asks ‘what is it like to live in Ottawa Canada in Spring?’ There’s nothing better than experiencing farm to table, and supporting local while you’re at it! You’ll be able to find a ton of Farmer’s Markets scattered around the city of Ottawa — but the most popular ones you can find in Lansdowne, Orleans, Westboro and Barrhaven. From produce to baked goods, and crafts to artisanal goods — spring means you can finally start shopping for the freshest local products the season has to offer!
8. Home Maintenance and Spring Cleaning
Ok — this one is not as daunting as it sounds. Get a checklist ready, do your rounds and you’ll be ready for spring in no time. With spring thaw, means checking your eavestrough and gutters, flood proofing your foundations and repairing any cracks and decay. You’ll also want to do a general inspection of the outside of your home. Make sure your A/C unit, faucets, lights and outlets are in working order, along with examining your roofing and windows. Check to see if any uninvited guests have made your windows, doors, chimneys their home for the winter time. Be thoroughly and make any repairs needed as soon as possible. You’ll be saving yourself time and money in the long run.
The inside of your home is just as important as the out! Spring cleaning is upon us. That means it’s time to crack open your windows and let all the winter dust out! I don’t know about you, but there is nothing more satisfying than a deep clean of my home. Clearing out all the clutter means making way for a refreshed headspace and signalling that hibernation mode is finally over!
9. Cottage Season Starts
Want an escape from the hustle and bustle of a city to somewhere more slow-paced and relaxed? You’re in luck! The incredible benefit of living in Ottawa means that you’re surrounded by amazing cottage regions under an hour away from where you live. Take a 30 minute drive to Chelsea and Wakefield and find out what the hype is all about. Surrounded by incredible greenery and steps away from Gatineau River and La Pêche River, you can live your cottage fantasy all season long. You can also find a ton of other hot cottage spots along the stretch of the Rideau Valley, Thousand Islands and Prince Edward County. Living in Ottawa means enjoying everything a metropolitan city has to offer, with no shortage of cottage adventures to escape to for the warmer months ahead.
10. Gardens and Tree Nurseries
Spring also means it’s finally time to prep your gardens to be filled with colours and floral fragrance. From plant shopping to preparing new beds and weeding and mulching — there’s nothing that signals spring is here like seeing new sprouts geminate. Speaking of plant shopping, you can find many locally run greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries like Robert Plante Greenhouses, Plant & Curio and Green Thumb Garden Centre. For the tree enthusiasts out there, there are also many tree nurseries in the surrounding region of Ottawa for you to build your dream garden and backyard from.