Soar Maritimes offers getaway inspiration for Maritimers. Here we feature a fun family trip to Ottawa.
Ottawa is named after the Ottawa River that flows idly through the city. It weaves its way past the commanding hilltop Parliament buildings and verdant parks, which are anticipating the arrival of spring. Ottawa comes alive in the spring, as one hundred thousand tulip bulbs unfold into glorious splendour during the world’s largest tulip festival. The flowers hint at the colourful fun-filled family adventures that await you in Canada’s historic capital city.
Where to Stay
The iconic Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel is located right in the city centre; its lofty grand entrance exudes an old world charm. If walls could talk, the one hundred and four year old landmark would have many stories to tell of famed historic figures, from dignitaries to celebrities, that have had the pleasure of staying there. Guests can sign out a complimentary iPad that offers a tour of the hotel, allowing for glimpses into the past, which older kids will love. You may wonder what the large empty gold picture frame in the main lobby is for. The moveable frame is there for fabulous photo opportunities, and has a large dress up trunk hidden behind it. So grab the family, throw on a colourful boa and a pair of John Lennon inspired glasses, and you’re all set to create lasting memories.
High Tea Time
Zoe’s Lounge, located in the Chateau Laurier, is just like stepping back in time, with its Art Deco inspired decor and intricate chandeliers hanging from the tall ceilings. Kids will be enthused to pop in for the “Little Prince and Princess Tea”, comprised of hot chocolate or bubblegum tea (which is indeed a beautiful pink colour). Expect the little ones eyes to light up when the three-tier cake stand arrives, boasting dainty raspberry sandwiches, a Victorian scone with jam and the yummiest mini-cupcake – complete with sprinkles.
A Little Girl’s Dream
It seems every young girl aged eight to eleven is obsessed with American Girl Dolls. Ottawa is one of the few cities in Canada that has an American Girl Doll boutique located in the downtown Indigo/Chapters store. These distinctive dolls represent American history and contemporary life, and each one comes with a few fabulous doll-sized accessories. Extra one-of-a-kind lifestyle items are available too, like an outdoor kayak, a perfect pair of skates, and even a 1950s jukebox. The boutique even boasts a doll hair styling salon complete with chairs, and offers ear piercing for each doll too!
Around the World and Back
The Canadian Museum of History is Canada’s largest museum. It’s hard not to miss the towering hand carved totem poles jutting out from the lower level in the First Nations Hall. Yet it’s the Canadian Children’s Museum that lures the kids in for hours of fantastical adventures from around the globe. Kids are given passports at the entrance with a page to stamp as they explore the world, participating in things like preparing pretend sushi in a Japanese kitchen to slicing up Danish cheese at a stand in Holland. You can even hop on a decorative Pakistani bus or unload a cargo ship at the port of entry! For the aspiring actors there is a large stage complete with a dressing room and audio system, where kids can control the stage lighting, the sounds of nature, and even an audience’s applause. The explorative fun just doesn’t end.
Fly to Ottawa
Porter Airlines flies direct from Halifax to Ottawa daily. The classy Canadian airline, with its superb service, offers customers with free drinks on board (alcohol included), and delicious gourmet chocolate raisin cookies that kids love to nibble on during the short flight to Canada’s capital.