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What do you mean you’ve never considered a vacation in Ottawa?! Far from being the boring government enclave some claim to to be (hello Montrealers), this beautiful town on the banks of the Rideau Canal is really livening things up this summer, with outdoor events, finger-lickin street food, and wild pursuits in the great outdoors. Here are just some of the things you should travel to Ottawa to see this summer:
While Canada Day (July 1) is the biggest one-day party in Ottawa – complete with concerts, great food and spectacular fireworks – it’s also the last day of the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival which started June 20, and features free concerts for all. Two days later, BluesFest takes over, with a very flexible interpretation of the blues (featured artists include Snoop Dogg and The Killers). Prefer something a little more on the classical side? From July 5-17, the Music and Beyond festival will cleanse your palate with everything from chamber choirs to string quartets (and a chinese acrobatic troupe thrown in for good measure!)
Ready to really get your dance on? August 18-24 you’ll need your loudest party outfit for Capital Pride – a seriously fun celebration of everything LGBT, including a Pride Cruise, Parade, and giant Picnic in the Park. on the 19th in Hintonburg Park.
Feeling peckish? Ottawa has more tasty food trucks this year than ever before, and you can use this handy app to find them. And when you need a nice cold beer to wash down your dinner, check out the cool Brew Donkey tour. This new company offers tours of breweries, brewpubs and beer-friendly restaurants in the region (and there are many!)
And if you’re looking for something a little less sedate, then how about a 3-hour whitewater rafting excursion? Departing from Britannia Park (just 10 minutes west of downtown Ottawa) along the Ottawa River, you can book a Wilderness Tour, with a guide who shares stories, songs and jokes, retracing the steps of First Nations people, early explorers and voyageur fur traders. The trip takes you through three sets of Class II and III rapids and ends near the Canadian War Museum. The company also offers canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard and kiteboard rentals at Britannia Beach.