Ontario Tourism Blog

A Great Family Trip to Ottawa

By Shari & Elisa Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I’ve been reading a lot about Ottawa lately and so the hubby and I decided to do something a little different and take a road trip to explore our nation’s capital.

With the girls plugged in – oops, I mean the TVs – the drive was quite easy. We stopped in lovely Kingston & Kemptville, had plenty of snacks along the way, made many trips into the always clean ONroute Centres and basically made a day of it.

We finally made it to Ottawa and as we drove up to our palace for the next 2 days, it was well worth the drive.

The 100 year old Fairmont Chateau Laurier is a beautiful building. Situated right next to the Parliament buildings and alongside the Byward Market, it’s perfectly located to allow you to explore much of Ottawa by foot. The lobby is magnificent and the girls were suitably overwhelmed (and overjoyed!)


Our room was definitely the nicest hotel room I’ve ever seen! The only problem was that our youngest daughter didn’t want to leave!


We were finally able to convince her that we’d definitely be back, so we managed to get outside to explore. After a short walk over the Byward market we watched the street performers for a while and then went for dinner. Of course, even though we were stuffed afterwards, we had to get a BeaverTail for dessert.

Day 2 in Ottawa and we had big plans. We decided to head over to Dow’s Lake to check out the Tulip Festival. It was absolutely beautiful there. We drove along the lake (since parking was a nightmare!) and got a great tour of the area and all of the gorgeous flower beds. Headed from there over to the Glebe where we walked around and found a fantastic lunch stop/bakery called Wild Oats.

Our final adventure for the day was the Canadian Museum of Civilization. From outside the building was absolutely beautiful and impressive as was the view of the Parliament buildings across the Ottawa River. Of course, inside we headed immediately to the Children’s Museum. I have never had an experience quite like it. This was truly the most impressive and magical museum for kids that I’ve ever been in. You are handed a passport as you walk through the doors and as you walk through the museum you can stamp the passport at the various stops that you go to. play

busAt each destination, kids can walk through the life size exhibits and dress up, play, and experience each stop. They started by dressing up at the theater and performed on the stage.

After the theater they got on a Pakistani bus…

After exploring the Children’s Museum we headed over to the Canada Hall. On the way, we marveled at the breathtaking work called, “Morning Star” which was painted on the domed ceiling of the museum. It was so incredible that we all actually lay down on the floor to fully appreciate and enjoy it. (Luckily no one tripped over us as they walked by!)

At the Canada Hall, we walked through life size settings and experienced Canada’s past 1,000 years of history. Some of the mannequins were a little too realistic for my girls so we shot through the early Canadian years. When we got to Pioneer times, they loved walking through the school-houses and sitting at the desks. ipadsThe museum is so marvelously interactive that you can pretend to be a Pioneer kid and experience how they learned cursive writing. (They do this with a computerized mechanism in the desk.) It did confuse my kids a little – how is it that Pioneer kids had ipads!?!

All in all, the museum was amazing and was one of the highlights of our trip!

Ottawa was a lovely city to explore for the weekend. It’s very accessible by foot, but also easy to navigate if you have a car. Friendly people, great restaurants & museums and pretty neighbourhoods made it a destination we’ll definitely visit again!

For more Festivals & Events throughout Ontario visit the Summer Fun Guide Festivals page!

Written by:

Michelle Brandes; Mom, MBA, online communication consultant, food lover, gym junkie, lover of adventure near and far from home.

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