A Conversation for Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

More Ottawa info...

Post 1

Madd Matt

Kudos to a great description of the Ottawa area. A couple of other things worth mentioning:

(1) Ways to get around:
(a) Ottawa has a fantastic collection of bike trails. Scenic, cheap and fun.
(b) Also, hot air balloon rides are pretty popular year-round, and the landing alone is worth the price of admission.

(2) Places to eat:
(a) Definitely worth mentioning is the Eager Beaver, in the Market district. A little heavy on the Candiana, but where else can you find buffalo burgers, tortiere and fresh cod all on the same menu?
(b) Beaver Tails (note: I don't actually have a fixation on water-borne rodents, that's just the names of these places): Yummy fried dough - an Ottawa tradition, especially when bought from their skate-up shops on the Rideau during Winterlude.
(c) The Yang Tze, along Somerset in Chinatown: Well worth a visit for dim sum.
(d) Rasputin's: Cozy place along Bronson, with funky food to match the great collection of folk music, storytelling and other live performances. Washroom aren't always spic-'n'-span.

(3) Places to find drinks:
(a) The Carleton Tavern. Every town needs a common watering hole, and this is the place. At least the equal of the Dominion, perhaps even better. Great feeling of history knowing you're slopping beer on a floor that's a couple of hundred years old.
(b) The Royal Oak: Good British fare.
(c) Hull. The city across the river with an economy largely devoted to bars, for two reasons: an age of majority one year younger than in Ontario, and closing time is a couple of hours later. Also, a lot of places serve some Quebecois microbrews like Maudite - any beer with sediment at the bottom is worth experiencing at least once.

(4) Places to stay:
(a) The Ottawa Youth Hostel is located inside the old city jail. Worth checking out, especially some of the purportedly haunted areas.
(b) The Chateau Laurier: If you have the $$$, this is Canadian history that deserves a look. Great Sunday brunches, too.

Hope this helps any potential hitchhikers in the Bytowne area,
Madd Matt

More Ottawa info...

Post 2

Administrator-General (5+0+9)*3+0

From my own experience in Ottawa, I can offer the following reviews:

* If you happen to be passing through Ottawa and want to find a hotel near the airport: forget about it, there aren't any. You'll have to stay downtown. Fortunately, there's a hotel shuttle which costs only about 9 dollars. Unfortunately, it doesn't run early in the day, and a taxi ride is about 20 dollars.

* If you walk across the river to Hull on a Saturday afternoon to look for one of those fine bars: forget about it, they're either too far, or attached to a hotel, or closed on the weekends. In fact, all of Hull outside the museum and hotels, looked like a war zone, at least on Saturday afternoons. There was nobody on the streets, except for one stranded cyclist with a flat tire. And all the stores and restaurants were closed. It's like they're hunkering down for a Quebec Partition War, for which they'd be on the front line. Lots of houses were declaring allegiance with flags of Canada or Quebec, or even both at once.

* If you want an easier way across the river, try a river cruise. You'll get a good riverine tour of the downtown area, the embassy district, and Rideau Falls too.

* Ottawa has several excellent used CD shops, particularly around the Market. If you want to stock up on used Max Webster CDs, Ottawa's the place.

* If you're staying in the Chateau Laurier in the wintertime, the rooms can get *very* warm, and the windows don't open wide enough to compensate.

* My favorite attractions were the Canadian War Museum and the Royal Canadian Mint. The War Museum commemorates all the times Canada's gone to war just because someone asked them to. The Mint takes pride in all the places Canada manufactures currency for, including Cuba.

More Ottawa info...

Post 3

Global Village Idiot

Excellent article.

When walking by the river in Ottawa, especially in the evenings, keep an eye out for beavers playing - we stood and watched one splashing and diving around the ropes which moored a seaplane for several minutes. In fact, so civilised and friendly is this city that we even saw beavers in the flowerbeds of the parliament building itself.

Ottawa is far and away the most pleasant, relaxed and safest-feeling capital city I've ever visited. Assuming you must live there, you're very lucky. If you know Trish Willink, say "Hi" from Gary.

More Ottawa info...

Post 4


Corrections, amendments and other stuff:

1. Places to eat/drink
(a) Correction: Eager Beaver has been gone for 2 or 3 years.
(b) Good call on Yang Tse.
(c) Royal Oak has six locations. (cruise on over to http://www.royaloakpubs.com/ for a lot more)

2. Where to eat/drink cheap in Centretown (the area south of downtown, north of the Glebe, close to everything):
Bank Street:
a) Wall Street has theme nights- Tuesday is cheap spagetti night, Wednesday is 2 for 1 burger platters. Bring a friend and enjoy lots of food for less money.
b) The Lockmaster Tavern has cheap rib nights, wing nights, roast beef dinners and an interesting atmosphere. It's also got the best waiter in all of Centretown. His name is Jimmy.
c) James Street Feed Company has cheap food nights (i.e. wings), cheap beer pitcher nights, NTN (interactive trivia) and a heated patio.

Elgin Street:
d) The Fox and the Feather has cheap pitchers of mixed drinks. (ie. Long Island Iced Tea)

Byward Market:
e) Minglewoods: $8 pitchers- the same price as food. Good selection of beer and food as well.

3. Where to go when you need a grease fix after a few too many Pangalactic Gargleblasters or cheap pitchers:
a) Elgin Street Diner: Open 24 hours.
c) BIGGS. The name says it all. Order a BIGG breakfast and you'll get more than you dreamed of.

More in another thread...

And that about wraps it up for Ottawa...

Post 5

Madd Matt

(1) The Eager Beaver is gone? Aaargh. Guess you can't go home again after all. Now I feel old - or at least out of date, which is pretty much the same thing.

(2) Counterpoint about the James Street Feed Company - the couple of times I have dined there, I left feeling a bit let down. If you're going to call your restaurant a "Feed Company", then I feel you have a moral obligation to stuff your patrons silly.

(3) Good place to play pool (assuming it's still around. Sigh.) - The Orange Monkey, just off Somerset on the west end of downtown. They took a large warehouse, and filled it full of pool tables. That makes it ideal if: (a) you're tall (twenty-five foot ceilings!), or (b) you get a hankering to shoot some snooker with forty of your closest friends.

And that about wraps it up for Ottawa...

Post 6


The Ottawa article is confused about the location of the Natural History Museum.

The Museum in Hull is the Museum of Civilisation. It is an enormous building of yellow limestone, shaped like a melting glacier. The interior of the glacier contains several villages shipped entire from the Pacific Northwest Coast complete with 30 foot high totem poles.

The Musem of Natural History is on Metcalf street. It is an enormous building of yellow limestone. shaped like a Victorian castle. ( Perhaps the article writer was a geologist and could not tell one yellow limestone building from the other? ). The interior of the castle contains full size pterodactyls swooping down from the battlements which are enough to scare Dracula. It is a good place to test time machines.

Just the job..

Post 7

Is mise Duncan

So tell me (a propos of nothing, honest smiley - winkeye ) - what's the IT market like in Ottowa these days - and what are the working visa type restrictions?

(Hmm - I suppose I need to look up the Canadian government websites really.)

Just the job..

Post 8

Administrator-General (5+0+9)*3+0

I can't speak to the visa requirements, but there seem to be plenty of IT jobs. Nortel (a major Canadian phone company) has a headquarter complex there.

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