Winter in Ottawa can be cold, snowy, icy, slushy and just miserable after 3 months in with still more to go. But there is one amazing and fun bright spot in it all, the Rideau Canal Skateway. I’m not a fan of winter. The long nights and endless cold really take their toll on me. Sure snow can be pretty but I’d be happy only to see it at Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ottawa but we get pretty harsh winters here. Thankfully we also know how to have fun in winter when the 7.8km long Rideau Canal gets turned into the world’s longest skating rink every winter (for as long as the weather is cold enough to keep it frozen). I only learned to love skating a few years ago and I’m still not very strong so I’ve yet to skate the entire length of the canal but the section around Patterson Creek in the Glebe is so pretty that I don’t really feel like I need to. This winter I’ve managed to make it over to the canal a few times and here are some of my photos. Also find my tips for visiting the Rideau Canal Skateway at the bottom of this post!
Prince Edward County is one of my favourite little vacation destinations, and you’ll know that all ready if you’ve ever read this blog since a large number of posts are devoted to this little wine region in Ontario. After a day trip to the County earlier in the summer we spend another weekend exploring with our family at the end of September when the region was in full harvest mode.
Prince Edward County has quickly become one of my favourite and most visited travel spots. Over the last four years I’ve visited this little picturesque wine region six times. I’ve been in summer, fall, holiday weekends, with a group, as a couple, with dogs, stayed in Airbnbs, B&Bs, and visited a good chunk of the wineries here. I wouldn’t call myself an expert and I definitely don’t have the same amount of knowledge that a local would but I’ve learned a lot about how to visit PEC and what to expect. So here are my top tips for visiting and making your vacation hopefully a little easier.
Another summer of mostly staying close to home means lots of walks around the city. Golden hour walks around downtown Ottawa are the best when the light changes, the weather cools down a bit and people are chilling in the park and on patios. My favourite places are along Wellington Street, Major’s Hill Park, around the National Gallery of Canada and the Byward Market, down along the Rideau Canal close to the NAC and of course the Ottawa Locks by the Chateau Laurier. Here are some snapshots of summer evenings in Ottawa.
Back in the fall we visited beautiful Prince Edward County. It’s one of our favourite places to travel and it was the perfect little getaway during the pandemic where we could easily spend time outdoors and distanced from people. This was our fourth time in PEC (you can see my other posts here!). You can also read my PEC Travel Guide and Winery Guide updated for 2021 with full details on the best places to visit. But here’s a rundown of our lovely weekend in Prince Edward County (better late than never!)
Since I’ve been unable to travel for over a year I’ve enjoyed exploring my own city. Even though I’ve lived in Ottawa my whole life there are areas of the city I’ve never explored and new things that I’ve discovered. One of the fun things I’ve been doing is seeking out public art around the city. Unity by Yasaman Mehrsa is a recent installation on the steps down to the Rideau Canal in between the National Arts Centre and the new Senate of Canada building. This beautiful artwork has a lovely message too. The houses represent humans and the pathways represent nature, but together they symbolize unity. Ottawa has so much to offer and there is so much to explore in this wonderful city, especially at times like these. Now that the weather is getting warmer I can’t wait to get back out exploring.
When we visited Prince Edward County last summer we decided to stay at the new Skyward Cabin at The Edward B&B. When we visited PEC in 2019 we had the most amazing stay at The Edward but with the pandemic, accommodation options become a bit more limited since they were now renting the entire B&B instead of individual rooms to limit contact between guests. Luckily The Edward recently opened a beautiful glass walled cabin in the woods on their property. This little cabin in the woods was the perfect getaway, especially a time when you want to be a bit more secluded and away from other people.
With summer travel options being pretty limited in the time of Covid-19 we decided to do a little day trip to Prince Edward County to catch the lavender bloom in July. PEC is one of our favourite places to visit and although we already have a weekend booked for September we just couldn’t wait until then to return.
For my birthday weekend I really wanted to visit Prince Edward County to explore more of the region and of course visit some wineries. Usually when travelling we stay in Airbnbs and if we do stay in hotels we never spend much time there. For this trip I wanted to splurge a bit and stay at The Edward Bed & Breakfast to have a relaxing vacation and a cozy place to stay that we would actually want to spend time at. The Edward was absolutely amazing down to every last detail and truly one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
Skating on the Rideau Canal is probably the best thing about winter in Ottawa. I mean where else can you skate on a historic UNESCO World Heritage Site canal through the centre of a city? Stretching 7.8km the Rideau Canal is the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink and my favourite thing about winter here in Ottawa.