Destination of the Month: Ottawa
To take in a touch of Europe and experience the amazing sights of a world-renowned tulip festival you don’t need to travel as far away as Holland. Ottawa, the Capital of Canada is an incredible spring destination. Located in the southern portion of the province of Ontario not far from Montreal and the US border, this city was first settled in the 1600s and sits on the confluence of 3 rivers. Here you can take in the beautiful old neighborhoods surrounding Canada’s Parliament Building as well as local colleges and museums like the National Gallery of Canada and The Canadian History Museum which displays an impressive tribute to the country’s native Algonquin people.
A stroll along Rideau Canal, a Unesco World Heritage Site, will have you seeing ice skaters in the winter and boats docked along its banks in the summertime. But spring is when Ottawa really shines with mother nature. The Canadian Tulip Festival from May 12-22 is the largest in the world and hosts up to 650,000 people. It all started in 1945 when the Dutch royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in gratitude for Canadians sheltering the future Queen Juliana and her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in the Second World War. The festival is free and the main stage is at Commissioner’s Park. But it is also a perfect opportunity to hop on a bike and leisurely tour the canal and all of its quaint neighborhoods.
In contrast to the bright blossoms in the city, just outside a great thaw is going on and thunderous waterfalls are at their most magnificent in spring. Rideau Falls Park is a perfect urban oasis with a beautiful view of the city skyline. And just outside downtown, there are rustic paths around the picturesque Princess Louise Falls.
There are so many natural wonders to choose from in the Canadian Capital especially if you like to see some downright cute animals. Ottawa’s greenbelt has over 60 miles of trails and some of those trails lead to chipmunk parks and beaver dams.
If you are visiting in April make time for some day trips. The historic town of Perth is lined with boutiques and restaurants. It is also home to the Festival of the Maples which celebrates the end of the Maple Sap run and was initially started to bring the people outside after a long winter hibernation.