Ottawa Journals

Ottawa, Ontario: A North American Gem

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A July 2000 trip to Ottawa by Jim Rosenberg

Parliament Hill Photo, Ottawa, Ontario More Photos
Quote: Barely considered as a worthy destination in its own right, Canada's capital city is stately, interesting, clean, safe -- and it's an outstanding place to visit all on its own, without packaging it into a more broad-ranging adventure as an afterthought.

Ottawa, Ontario: A North American Gem

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Overview

Quote:
More compact and well-kept than Washington D.C., Ottawa hosts a wealth of interesting sites befitting a major capital city, including the impressive buildings of Parliament Hill; various museums, including the awesome National Gallery of Canada, the pleasant ambiance of the Rideau Canal and the lively Rideau Market area. On summer mornings, catch the 'Changing of the Guard' ceremony which features the pageantry of an outstanding military band as it marches up Parliament Hill and performs on the grounds in front of the Peace Tower. Quick Tips: Air service to Ottawa is dominated by Air Canada, but Northwest Airlines offers service from its Detroit hub, as well as Business Express Airlines from...Read More
Capital Hill Hotel And Suites Photo, Ottawa, Ontario
Quote:
Ottawa has a number of excellent hotels that are convenient to the city's major attractions. The Capital Hill Hotel and Suites is a renovated 150 year-old structure that is conveniently situated and reasonably priced in the summer season. The rooms are comfortable and clean, with excellent service. In an interesting twist, many of the rooms in this downtown high-rise building open onto balconies via conventional doors -- a hint to some of the building's history. You'll notice other subtle touches that renovation to the building hasn't taken away, but you'll have to look carefully. A couple of other suggestions in this general area: Lord Elgin Hotel; Crowne Plaza (you can reserve the latter via th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2000

Capital Hill Hotel And Suites
88 Albert Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1P5E9
(613) 235-1413

Crowne Plaza Hotel Ottawa

Hotel | "Crowne Plaza"

Crowne Plaza Hotel Ottawa Photo, Ottawa, Ontario
Quote:
A top-shelf, full-service, high-rise hotel within walking distance of the Sparks Street Mall, Parliament Hill and many of Ottawa''s principle sites and business district, the Crowne Plaza features more than 400 rooms and it's a wonderful home base to operate from. You can get more information, check rates & availability and book through the Intercontintental hotel group website: http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/cp/home Just drill in for this specific hotel by entering Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. There is a lounge and a restaurant off the main lobby that are comfy and competent, but we've preferred to venture further afield for dining and cocktails, so our experience was limited ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 4, 2001

Crowne Plaza Hotel Ottawa
101 Lyon Street North
Ottawa, Ontario K1R5T9
(613) 237-3600

Andrew's Cafe

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Restaurant

Quote:
Andrew's Cafe is a wonderfully intimate fine dining experience. Housed in a brick, Dutch colonial-type structure, you can't miss it in its neighborhood of much larger, city-scape buildings. Chef Andrew Coughlan had tenures with the fabulous Chateau Laurier and Four Seasons group prior to opening his own place in the mid-1990s. This is a wonderful dining experience and you should plan to choose a bottle from the wine list to go with your elegant meal which hearkens in appearance, flavor and presentation to a fine French restaurant. Specialties of the house include Parisien Flambe and Continental cuisine. We can heartily recommend the seafood toss with a bottle of Chardonney. Lunch and dinner a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 4, 2001

Andrew's Cafe
388 Rue Albert Street
Ottawa, Ontario
(613) 230-8057

Big Daddy's Crabshack And Oyster Bar

Restaurant | "Big Daddy's Crab Shack & Oyster Bar"

Quote:
It's first come, first-served at Big Daddy's and plenty of people beat a path to this wonderful seafood spot near Ottawa's university area. Live lobsters, fish, shellfish and shrimp are wonderfully prepared and served in New Orleans style. You won't go away hungry and for those who would prefer, there is also a selection of steaks. Can't make up your mind? Any steak will be served "Oscar style" for $5.98 additional. Need a great appetizer? Try the bacon-wrapped scallops -- they're delicious. Bring your appetite and enjoy the ambiance and mixed crowd for really fun evening out.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 4, 2001

Big Daddy's Crabshack And Oyster Bar
339 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario
(613) 228-7011

Fairmont Chateau Laurier

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Restaurant | "Zoe's Lounge - Sunday Brunch at Chateau Laurier"

Fairmont Chateau Laurier Photo, Ottawa, Ontario
Quote:
In a city with a number of prominent addresses, the Chateau Laurier takes its place near the top of the list in a fabulous structure that is the epitome of style and elegance both inside and out. Perhaps it should not be surprising that such a place would host one of the finest Sunday brunches that I've ever seen (and I've visited many). Served in Zoe's lounge, which is just to your right as you enter from the hotel's front door, the presentation is a feast for the eyes in variety, colors, smells and succulent textures of food. There is so much that it is not possible to even sample much of it, but you can resolve to visit again and it is a promise you should be happy to have the opportunity to ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 2, 2003

Fairmont Chateau Laurier
1 Rideau Street
Ottawa, Ontario
(613) 241-1414

Parliament Hill

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Attraction

Parliament Hill Photo, Ottawa, Ontario
Quote:
Canada's Parliament Hill is an impressive collection of structures that dominate the skyline, bordered by the Ottawa River and the Rideau Canal. Tours are available, or simply enjoy the impressive grounds, together with the military band concert at 10 a.m. on summer mornings. The Grenadiers assemble several blocks away and march up the hill in a short, but impressive parade prior to their performance on the hill. Don't miss seeing this at least once during your stay -- whether you have children with you or not. A great viewing point is near the bridge over the Rideau Canal, adjacent to the Chateau Laurier.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2000

Parliament Hill
Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2
(613) 239-5000

National Gallery of Canada

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Attraction | "National Gallery /Musee des Beaux-Arts du Canada"

National Gallery of Canada Photo, Ottawa, Ontario
Quote:
The National Gallery of Canada has an impressive resident collection and also hosts visiting exhitions of international fame. During our visit, the Impressionist Landscape: Monet & Renoir exhibit was on display. For major exhibitions, it is worth contacting the gallery for tickets in advance, however, it is not as competitive, difficult or costly as viewing similar exhibitions in many U.S. galleries. Regardless of whatever visiting exhibitions may be available during your stay, a visit to view the stunning gallery is a treat in itself. It is truly a national treasure worthy of a major capital city.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2000

National Gallery of Canada
380 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 9N4
+1 613 990 1985

Ottawa River Cruise

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Attraction

Ottawa River Cruise Photo, Ottawa, Ontario
Quote:
You won't have any problem finding the boat tours, since they have people hawking admissions aggressively in the area of the bridge over the Rideau Canal near the Chateau Laurier. A number of different tours are offered, but it is a well-narrated tour (French/English) and a great place to meet people on board for a conversation. You'll get a different view of Parliament Hill from the water and a better appreciation for the general area and it's history. Probably as much fun as the relaxing ride is the opportunity to meet different people on board from many different places. Refreshments are available on board at a fully equipped and staffed snack bar.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 28, 2000

Ottawa River Cruise
Rideau Locks area
Ottawa, Ontario

Parliament Hill Photo, Ottawa, Ontario
Quote:
Sometimes considered little more than an add-on to other, more popular Canadian destinations such as Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City, Canada's capital city is a refreshing contrast to the crowds and more challenging logistics of larger North American cities. Friendly, meticulously cared-for, safe and interesting, Ottawa is a great place for a long weekend in the summer months, when Parliament is out of session. While not necessarily known for its lively night-life, there are places to go; the greater Ottawa area has a population around one million. By day, Ottawa has a wealth of interesting things to do and see, including Parliament Hill, the National Gallery of Art, the lively Rideau Market Area...Read More

Changing & Handling Money in Canada

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Story/Tip

Quote:
If you're coming to Canada from the U.S., your transition to Canadian money will be a simple one that does not require much advance planning. Unless you have a bank that really specializes in making Canadian currency exchanges, you are probably better off not bothering to exchange any money prior to your arrival in Canada. The reason is that many banks attach flat fees for currency exchanges and also have a spread between what they sell the currency for and what they will pay to buy it back. Spreads and fees almost invariably add up to far more than ATM fees would for similarly valued transactions and there is simply no reason to pay them if you can avoid it. ATMs are found virtually ev...Read More