What is it like to live in Ottawa Canada in the Summer?
Curious about what is it like to live in Ottawa Canada in the Summer time? Well, Summer is finally here — and it’s time to bust out the flip-flops and sunscreen because it’s about to get hot! After four to five months in deep-freeze, you’re ready to spend your days outdoors and explore everything that Ottawa has to offer.
Whether you’re a foodie, festival lover, museumgoer or outdoor adventurer — there’s something for everyone no matter what you’re into. In this vlog, I’m going to be sharing with you top ten tips and tricks, and hidden gems of what it’s like to live in Ottawa during summer.
1. Outdoor Adventures
Fishing? Check. Whitewater rafting? Check. Camping? Double check. Does living in a city with close proximity to the great outdoors sounds like a dream to you? You can wake up now and have the best of both worlds because this is it!
Pack up your bait & tackle, and head over to Victoria Island. Dows Lake also offers an experience and comfort of urban fishing. You can catch carp, bass, sunfish and more with just a short walk from the downtown core. Looking for something a little more immersed in nature? No problem, then Petrie Island is for you! Complete your fishing trip with a leisurely paddle or canoe trip. Towards the west-end of Ottawa, you can find over ten routes to explore. Routes such as Morris Island Conservation Area and Fitzroy Provincial Park.
Or maybe you prefer an outdoor activity that gives you a bit more adrenaline. And by a bit, I mean A LOT more adrenaline. Head over to the Ottawa River and try your hand at whitewater rafting. There are many guides like Esprit Whitewater Rafting, OWL Rafting and Ottawa City Rafting to choose from, with multi-day passes and overnight camping included.
Speaking of camping, Ottawa is one of the few cities that offer urban camping sites within the city’s region. From Wesley Clover Parks Campground, formerly known as the Ottawa Municipal Campground, to Sleepy Cedars Family Camping and Ottawa’s Poplar Grove Campground, you can have a perfect urban getaway with just a short drive away.
If you’re looking for more wilderness and less convenience, there are tons of incredible provincial parks that surround the Ottawa area. Bon Echo Provincial Park and Algonquin Park being the most popular among many locals. If overnight camping is not your thing, hike in some of the best urban trails like Pinhey Forest and Mer Bleue Bog.
You’ll also want to visit Gatineau Park which occupies an area of more than 361 square kilometres. From hiking to rock climbing to boating to horseback riding, swimming and cycling — it’s no wonder this camp wins the title as the second most visited park in Canada (and yes — you can also camp and fish here too). If you’ve ever wanted to go spelunking, now is your chance! Explore Lusk Cave within the park and make sure you bring appropriate shoes, flashlight and a safety helmet!
If you’re big on cycling, you’re in luck! With over 980 km of multi-use pathways and bike lanes — there’s no shortage of routes to explore and conquer. Every Sunday during the summertime, over 50km of parkways are closed so you can cycle car-free along the Ottawa River.
You can also zipline through the Ontario-Quebec border just over the Ottawa River by checking out Interzip, the first interprovincial zipline ever!
Ok, so maybe physical activity is not your thing and none of this sounds appealing to you — then Le Nordik Spa is calling your name. You can enjoy the great outdoors without breaking a sweat. Nestled in Old Chelsea, surrounded by nature, it’s the largest spa in North America. You won’t find a place like this anywhere else in the country!
2. Beach Life and Waterpark
Sometimes all you need in life is a relaxing day by the beach and going for a swim to beat the summer heat. A great thing about living in Ottawa means access to urban beaches like Mooney’s Bay, Britannia Beach and Westboro Beach. If you’re up for the drive head over to Leamy Lake Park or go all out and make the 3 hour trip to Sandbanks and experience one of the best beaches in Canada. Just 30 minutes from the downtown core, you can also visit Calypso, which is Canada’s biggest themed waterpark!
3. Cottage Season
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.
4. Patio Life
Patio season is in full swing! 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, El Furniture Warehouse, The Grand, Fairouz, Heart and Crown, etc), Lansdowne (Local, Jack Astors, Joey’s, Crust and Crate, Craft Beer Market), Hintonburg (Absinthet, 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.
5. Canada Day Celebration
Are you really celebrating Canada Day unless you’re celebrating it in the nation’s capital? Canada Day festivities in Ottawa are one the biggest celebrations in the city — and arguably the whole country. In 2019, over 11,000 people celebrated in downtown Ottawa including Ryan Reynolds! From fireworks to concerts (featuring performers like Alessia Cara, Arkells, Lights) and art shows to interactive activities, it’s a birthday party you won’t want to miss out on.
6. Summer Getaways Trips
If cottage season isn’t enough for you — Ottawa is in a prime location inbetween two of the largest cities in Canada. Just a few hours east and you’ll find yourself in Montreal, or head west and spend the weekend (or more!) exploring Toronto. You’ll also be able to find a ton of incredibly charming towns in the outskirts of the city. Small town gems such as Almonte, Prince Edward County, Ontario Highlands, Kingston, Montebello and Mont Tremblant. There’s no shortage of places to explore once you feel like you’ve seen most of Ottawa!
7. Parliament Hill Yoga
Get your stretch, and sweat, on! If you’re a yogi or just discovering the love of yoga, this one’s for you. Weekly, join hundreds of people on parliament hill for a weekly one hour yoga class hosted by Lululemon. What started off as a 15 person event back in 2007, has attracted thousands of people over the course of ten plus years. Ottawa is a vibrant city and offers many activities to stay active. Yoga and politics – just one of the things that give you a sense of daily life and what is it like to live in Ottawa
Summer means festival season is upon us! For all you music lovers out there, you’re going to love summer in Ottawa. From the Ottawa Bluesfest, Jazz Festival, CityFolk Festival, Chamberfest and Escapade — you’ll find the world’s biggest artists headlining these events with no shortage of concerts to attend. Since we’re on the topic of art, you’ll also want to check out House of PainT. The festival showcases Graffiti, Breakdancing, Dj’s and MC’s from across Canada. You’ll also want to put the Ottawa Fringe Festival on your bucket list if you have a love of performing arts.
Ok, so maybe the arts aren’t your thing… but iIf you love sports AND festivals, HOPE Volleyball Summerfest is sure to be the highlight of your summer. It’s one of North America’s largest one-day volleyball festivals that has been a city tradition since 1982.
I’ve only scratched the surface of all the interesting events that happen in the city. If there’s something specific you’re looking for, you can always head over to Ottawa Festivals to check out any new and upcoming events.
9. Food and Drink Tours
Foodies, this one’s for you! Ottawa and the surrounding regions are overflowing to the brim with food and drink tours. Love wine? Stop by Domaine Perrault, Jabulani Vineyard and Winery or KIN Vineyard for wine tastings and tours, all located conveniently within the city.
Love beer? Two words. Brew Donkey. You won’t find a brewery tour as extensive as this one, or one that also includes axe throwing. But maybe a party on a bike is more your jam. You’ll want to check out the Thursty Pedaler, a pub crawl where you bike, refuel and visit three different local establishments while you drink and be merry. A non-alcoholic coffee crawl is an available option as well. Or maybe you’re just a little more old fashioned! There are a ton of brewpubs like Flora Hall and Beyond the Pale Brewing Company scattered all around the city for you to sit-down and experience.
Ottawa is also home to a ton of local award-winning ice cream and gelato shops. While I don’t recommend you visit EVERY ice cream shop in one day, you’ll want to make sure you visit each one at least once in your lifetime! Some notable mentions include Stella Luna, Moo Shu, Mantovani 1946, The Merry Dairy and Little Jo Berry’s. This might satisfy your appetite and give you more of an idea of what is it like to live in Ottawa Canada during the Summer time!
10. Be a Tourist
Once you live in a city for a while, you can often forget to visit all the “touristy” hot-spots the city has to offer. And I promise you, they are still great attractions to visit that often get regularly updated. What is it like to live in Ottawa Canada in the Summer means getting out and exploring historic sites. As well as seeing national museums and even going on a boat tour or two. Spend the day walking along the Rideau Canal, Parliament Hill and Byward market, and make your way over to any of the museums downtown like the National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa Art Gallery, War Museum and History Museum. End the day with a Rideau Canal Cruise and rediscover the Rideau Canal, from Dow’s lake to the Ottawa River.