There may still be snow on the ground, but we’re already thinking about Canada’s brilliant spring weather. Soon enough, the white stuff will melt away, and Canadians will be shedding their heavy winter gear. The scent of fresh flowers will be in the air and we’ll be stretching our legs for some good outdoor leisure activities. Here’s a special list of some of our favorite Ottawa Spring Activities that any newcomer to the nation’s capitol is sure enjoy.
1. Visit a Sugar Shack
When the sap begins to flow from the maple trees in the spring and syrup producers get to work, sugar shacks are the perfect destination for anyone with a sweet tooth, or anyone looking to have a uniquely Canadian experience. While the majority of Canada’s maple syrup production occurs in the neighboring province of Quebec, about 5 per cent is produced right here in Ontario. Nearby to Ottawa, you can gather up the family or your friends and head to Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush, located the charming communities of Almonte and Pakenham, Ontario. Here, go on a self-guided or group guided tour, enjoy a delicious syrup-coated meal at Fulton’s Pancake House, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride, or come of one of the many special activities. You can also visit Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm, where, starting mid-April you can witness syrup producers as they use wood fire to boil the sap, take a sleigh ride, savor a delicious Pancake House meal (or simply snack on the maple taffy!), and visit a barn.
2. Experience the Canadian Tulip Festival
First held in 1953, the Canadian Tulip Festival arrives in the city each May, and it one of our favorite Ottawa Spring Activities. The 10-day celebration honors the tulip, a very special flower for Canada, which is symbolic because these flowers were given as a gift to Canada from the Dutch Royal Family after Canada provided safety during the German occupation of the Netherlands. This year, the festival will be held from May 8 to May 18. Local and national artists, performers and volunteers come together for the world’s largest tulip festival. The National Capital Commission (NCC) designs and plants 300,000 tulips in 60 different varieties. The event takes place at Commissioners Park on the banks of Dow’s Lake.
3. Stroll through the Central Experimental Farm
When the temperature begins to heat up, Ottawa bursts into blossom, and there’s no patter place to enjoy the beauty of spring then at the Central Experimental Farm. Here, you’ll find a number of attractions. The Arboretum contains more than 86 acres of trees and shrubs – more than 2,000 varieties total. Enjoy the northeast corner’s microclimate of wisteria, rhododendrons, magnolias and other blossoming trees, and enjoy a panoramic view of the Rideau Canal from the southeast side of the Property. The eight-acre Ornamental Gardens display a variety of historic and contemporary flowers, and includes a perennial garden, a rose garden, a rock garden, and more. If you want to make your excursion a day-trip, pack a picnic and then be sure to check out the beautiful tropical greenhouse, and the Canada Food and Agriculture Museum – visit a modern working farm that shows the ways advances in farming have transformed Canada. The barn and Exhibitions are open daily. Special events include a sheep shearing festival, an ice cream festival, a Barnyard Halloween, and Baskets with Panache!
4. Enjoy Nature in Gatineau Park
With its green beauty, spring is the perfect season to enjoy outdoor adventure to the fullest. Located in the National Capital Region, in nearby Quebec, this 179-kilometre park offers extensive trails for cycling and mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding, rock climbing, and other activities that make visiting it one of the more enjoyable Ottawa spring activities for people with active lifestyles. Stunning natural features to explore include the Eardley Escarpment (which forms the dividing line between the rock of the Canadian Shield and the St. Lawrence Lowlands) King Mountain, (with its 10 scenic lookouts) Lusk Cave (a natural phenomenon made of marble), and Pink Lake (which is actually bright green!). While you are there, be sure to visit the Mackenzie King Estate a historic treasure once home to Canada’s longest-serving prime minister in history.
5. Beat Spring Fever at Sparks Street Village
Now a thriving commercial centre, Sparks Street Village is a historical area in Uptown Ottawa has been a pedestrian-only since 1967. The street is lined with a number of protected heritage buildings, and it is named for Nicholas Sparks, the farmer who cut the path through the woods that would eventually become the street. Today, the pedestrian village is open all year around, but beginning in March and April, Sparks Street Village starts to burst with life from Elgin Street to Bronson Avenue. Here you’ll find impressive works of art and fountain, lots of shopping, top-notch restaurants and special entertainment. To learn more, visit the Sparks Street Official Website.
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