On Saturday, September 22, 2012 Ottawa joined cities around the world in presenting Nuit Blanche, an all night long celebration of art. Most of Ottawa’s art galleries were open until the wee hours of the morning for this inaugural event. The Byward Market was especially buzzing with activity with a variety of installations on the streets and courtyards and crowds of people meandering around taking it all in.

Ottawa Photography Festival

As part of Festival X: Ottawa Photography Festival, the Michael Gennis Gallery in Westboro is showcasing the works of 10 Ottawa photographers.  The festival runs from September 20-30. Check  out the web site for more information.

celebrate music, dance, visual arts and community

Ottawa Folk Festival

Rounding out a summer of outstanding music festivals, beginning with Jazz Fest in May and Bluesfest in July, the new and improved festival takes place September 6-10 at Hogs Back Park.  Headliners include Ben Harper, Lindsey Buckingham (from Fleetwood Mac), Great Big Sea, Dan Mangan and Bon Iver.

Go where the money is

     Bank of Canada Currency Museum
a museum dedicated to money

 This overlooked Ottawa museum, located across from Parliament Hill in the Bank of Canada building, is devoted to the development of the Canadian currency system, beginning in New France. Artifacts include coins, bank notes, and money-related paraphernalia as well as unusual and ancient international currencies such as shells, glass beads, tea, gold, silver, and bronze. The current special exhibit is a history of counterfeiting.  A bonus is that admission to this museum about money is free.

Winter hours 10:30 - 5:00 Tuesday to Saturday and 1:00 - 5:00 on Sunday.  Closed Monday.

waterfront restaurants

If you enjoy spending a sunny summer day on a restaurant patio, then check out  Guadalaharry’s Tex-Mex restaurant on Dow's Lake. Kick back with a cold beer or a margarita and munch on nachos while gazing out on the water. The food is affordable, the servers are cheery, there's lots of laughter and there’s free parking at the lot across the street.

For more information check out my article in the Ottawa Citizen Travel section

Go Jump in the Lake

boy, its hot out…so hot you want to jump in the lake.  Luckily, lakes and rivers abound in the Ottawa area, some pretty close to home.  so if you can’t wangle an invite from a friend with a cottage, check out some of these refreshing options.

There's always a breeze on Aylmer Beach - that's why the windsurfers love it!

Leamy Lake Beach is the NCC's best kept secrets

Petrie Island is a huge sandy beach on the Ottawa River

More ice cream

took a drive out to Old Chelsea to check out La Cigale, an ice cream store right at the entrance to the Gatineau Park Visitors Centre.  Well worth the drive.  The ice cream is homemade daily in crazy flavours like strawberry & sour cream, gingersnap & chai, raspberry white chocolate, and banana skor & walnut.  Sat in one of the many adirondack chairs on the side lawn enjoying my cone and then wandered into the Galerie Old Chelsea right next door to check out the art.

Ice Cream Dream

Nothing says summer like ice cream.  Sure you can buy a prepared frozen snack in the grocery or convenience store, but that doesn’t compare to a fresh scoop in a cone from one of these specialty stores.  Discovered a great  little spot - Gelatini Gelato on Preston Street - run by a wonderful young couple.  They are welcoming, accommodating and smiling....and their gelato is delicious!

WAKEFIELD - a drive in the country

My cousin was visiting for the weekend and I wanted to show off Ottawa. It was a rainy, cold spring day so anything outdoors was out of the question and she was not into museums.  What to do?
We took a leisurely drive to the country and ended up in Wakefield.  Along the way, we stopped to show her the Wakefield covered bridge.  To our pleasure and surprise there was a wedding ceremony taking place and we were there just in time to watch the bride walk down the ‘aisle’ from the road to meet the groom waiting undercover of the bridge.  How special!

The rain did not stop us from wandering in and out of the funky little shops and then stopping for lunch at my favourite eclectic restaurant, Le Hibou.  All in all, a great afternoon.

Inukshuks on the Ottawa River

Local Ottawa artist John Ceprano began building Inukshuks at Remic Rapids Park on the Ottawa River in 1986.  These freestanding, naturally balanced rock sculptures have become so popular that they have become a tourist attraction and he now receives federal government funding to continue creating them.