Ottawa, Canada

I’m Canadian and am damn proud of it too, so why not write about Canada? I’ve gained a lot of international friends so why not share an important piece of my home. Yes, i am totally gonna be bias and tell you it’s the most amazing place on Earth; that’s why I’ve asked my boyfriend, Santiago, an Argentinian visiting Canada for the first time to help me out.

I’ve been to Ottawa many of times, being from Pembroke, a small town 150km away, Ottawa is really the only large city we have access to. Ottawa is the capitol of Canada and lays within the province of Ontario but also on the boarder of Quebec. Therefore, it’s English and French. but don’t worry, if you don’t know any French you can survive solely on English.

We got into Ottawa around noon and went directly to my favourite burger place: The Works 

It’s a really cool burger place and only found within Ontario, i believe it even started in Ottawa. The menu is HUGE with some weird, but maybe tasteful toppings such as pineapple, peanut butter and even KD. I like how it’s a build your own burger, you get to pick your meat (veggie options too), bun, toppings and side. We had “Gettin’ Piggy with it’ (right) and ‘Nacho Libre’ (left). As you can guess the Piggy one had all types of bacon on it and was delicious, and the Nacho one was really different, the crispy tortilla chips gave a really good texture crunch to the burger and the toppings gave a fresh taste. You really can’t go wrong at The Works. I’ve been going here for years.

Santiago’s Comment:

The Works is the perfect place for anyone that wants a burger. It was the first time for me here. The server was really friendly and able to provide feedback on their menu choices. There are a lot of burgers here, choosing one is the hardest part.

The menu is huge, good thing my girlfriend advised me to check the menu before going, they have around 50 different burgers, all of them really original and really tempting, and as if that doesn’t sounds big enough you can customize it, so it’s recommended to study the menu cause it can be a little overwhelming to see the menu for first time.
I ordered the ‘Nacho Libre’ which is a Burger with corn tortillas with 4 shredded cheeses, sour cream, salsa & green onions. 

Overall, it’s one of the best burger places that we know, for the variety and quality of the burgers. It’s a really different proposal than any other burger place, A lot of unique options to try and with a great quality. If you’re around that area it’s definitely a must.

After a filling lunch, we made our way downtown and check into our hotel Novotel. Amazing location, right next to Rideau Centre Shopping Mall, Byward Market and Parliament Hill. Once we parked the car at the hotel, we didn’t use it again, everything was within walking distance.

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Canadian Parliament Buildings

We look a leisurely walk around Parliament and the Byward Market and of course spent a lot of time getting lost in the Rideau Mall which recently got a HUGE extension on it, by the time we were done exploring, it was dinner time.

We went for dinner in the Byward Market which has tons of restaurants and little shops. We went to a chain, Lone Star and i almost regret it because after dinner walking around we saw so many restaurants which were independent and looked romantic and cozy. We also visited a Menchies, a frozen yogurt place and had dessert there.

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“Northern Light” show projected on the Parliament Buildings

When we were at the Parliament buildings during the day we saw a sign promoting an event called “Northern Lights” which started at 9:30, so we left the hotel at 9 and when we got to Parliament Hill, there were so many people! Sitting on the grass, standing on the sidewalk, everywhere! We stood the whole time and had a great view. The show lasted about half an hour and showed the whole history of Canada, all projected on the Parliament Buildings. I was highly impressed with presentation and the quality of information.

Santiago’s Comment: 

The Northern lights was a really nice summer night program. For someone not from here it’s a great review about Canadian history which lets you understand this gorgeous country. The presentation of the show is beautiful, and it’s really entertaining to watch, the half an hour of the length didn’t feel like it at all. It was a great way to enjoy a nice night at the parliament lawn watching this art work.

The next day we did a bit more shopping but this time at the Tangler Outlets just outside of Kanata near the Staples Centre (NHL ice rink). Something that I really wanted to bring my boyfriend to was a Beavertail food stand which they have at the Tangler Outlets.

These are NOT actual beaver tails. They are a pastry, like a deep fried dough with different toppings you can get. Above we got, Garlic and cheese and then ‘Avalanche’ which is a cream cheese icing with skor bits, caramel and chocolate. You cannot find these stand everywhere. I’m use to seeing them on the Rideau Canal (outdoor skating canal) in the winter time. But i have seen one in the Byward Market and in Banff National Park (Alberta).

Santiago’s Comment:

Beavertails are of the typical Canadian food options that you must try if you visit the country. It’s a fried dough a top of different options, salty or sweet. My favourite was the garlic and cheese one, it felt like a sort of fried pizza. It’s a delicious street food option.

After shopping around, we headed to Kanata Centrum which in my opinion has the best Theatre in Ottawa, Landmark Cinema‘s which has 24 theatre screens and 1 IMAX. We ended up seeing Finding Dory, which was overall cute.

At night we did something a little bit different. Something that i had always wanted to do, but was never in a city hosting the event. Paintnite.

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Paintnite Ottawa

Paintnite is a painting class usually hosted in a resturant/bar. We were at 3 Brewers in Kanata which was right across from the Landmark theatre. You find the events online by location and they show which painting will be taught during the class. They give you everything, the paint, the canvas, the smock and paint brushes. It usually takes 2 hours and it really does fly by and is so much fun! No experience necessary

Santiago’s Comment: 

When my girlfriend told me about the paint nite I had totally low expectations about my performance there, I haven’t painted since art class in secondary school and I had never been too well at it. But seemed as a funny and different plan to do so we gave it a try. The bar was really nice and the girl who guided us showed us in a really simple didactic. After all it was a really fun experience, doing some painting and having a drink. A great date night as a couple, really chill experience, and surprisingly our paintings ended up being really well.

Santiago’s Outlook on Ottawa:

Ottawa ended up being a great city. Being a government city I didn’t have too much faith on the tourist options of the city. It ended up having a gorgeous tourist proposal with some historic buildings at the parliament area, a great shopping area at the Rideau Centre and a lot of options to have dinner. We had a great time there, we certainly had a lot of fun enjoying all the variety of plans that the city offers, and after our trip there I feel we could come back and still find some more things to discover.

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