Summer is here so it’s time to start getting outside more and enjoy the warm weather. Summer always feels too short in Ottawa so it’s good to try and get out and smell the roses, or in this case canoe a water maze? That’s right, there is an awesome experience just 30 minutes from downtown Ottawa in Wakefield, Quebec called the Éco-Odyssée Water Maze. Here you can canoe, paddle boat or paddle board through a lush water maze. It’s a really fun activities, I went last summer on a rainy day with my family and I highly recommend.
The Ottawa Art Gallery has reopened after provincial pandemic restrictions have been loosened and the occupation that took hold of downtown Ottawa for almost a month has ended and you need to go to ASAP because Esmaa Mohamoud’s exhibition ends March 27th! This fantastic exhibition, To Play In The Face Of Certain Defeat draws on imagery from sports to explore the ways in which Black bodies appear and yet are rendered invisible within the spaces they exist. Using athletic equipments the installations and photography “illustrate pervasive, discriminatory behaviours and attitudes based on race, class, gender, and sexuality.”
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!
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.
The National Gallery of Canada has reopened after the most recent pandemic lockdown with a new exhibition of Rembrandt and a lofty new vision for its future that aims to connect to more diverse voices and audiences through critical conversations in art. In this vain they have taken what was slated to be a pretty standard Rembrandt exhibition and infused it with Black and Indigenous voices and artists that broaden the scope of the exhibition to reflect on the time period that Rembrandt lived in and how it connects to colonization and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The exhibition runs until September 6th so there are still a few more weeks to see it!
With most things still closed in Ottawa this spring due to the pandemic I tried to enjoy spending time outside, which for me means photographing all the flowers. So here are some shots of spring in Ottawa.
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.
Now more than ever it’s important to support your local arts institutions. Covid-19 has had a major impact on the tourist industry and the arts. When the National Gallery of Canada reopened in July I visited and it was so nice to be back at one of my favourite places. With limited capacity and mandatory mask wearing I felt very safe visiting. During normal times I find it easy to visit the NGC without crowds and now it’s even less busy. If you have the chance please go out and support your local arts institutions (as long as you feel safe doing so and don’t have any symptoms of course). Also be sure to check the National Gallery of Canada’s website for up-to-date information about opening hours and regulations. Continue reading for some photos of the beautiful empty gallery spaces.
Like a lot of people staying inside the prevent the spread of the coronavirus I’ve been looking for some kind of creative outlet. But the problem I found was many art supply stores were sold out of many items. Thanks to Block Shop Textiles who posted a fun little tutorial on their Instagram about block printing with natural materials I was able to do some arts and crafts with things from the grocery store!
Staying home during the coronavirus pandemic has never made me love my apartment more. All the plants, books, art and knick-knacks collected over the years and from travels.