The Rural Urbanite’s Summer

How to find the perfect balance while visiting Ottawa this summer

Provided by Ottawa Tourism

The long Canadian winter is over, and the three-months-of-summer clock has started ticking. Are you wondering how you can make the most out of that sunshine? Thankfully, Ontario summers are infamous for being sunny, hot, and humid – a plus for any Atlantic Canadian who needs a break from the windy seas.

Hop on a direct flight from Halifax to Ottawa with Porter Airlines, and tour around some of our nation’s capital’s top locations without having to sacrifice being outside, and even get a tan while you’re at it. The outdoors adventures are endless and will have you feeling like you’re having your cake and eating it too.

The Ottawa experience can be altered to fit whatever mold you make. In need of a mid-vacation stretch? Head down to Parliament Hill and get your yoga on. There’s no need to spend on a membership for your short stay, when you can practice every Wednesday at noon for free while surrounded by the gorgeous downtown architecture. Breathe, take a break, and let the instructor guide you through your sun salutations. Where else can you do yoga on a capital hill?

Compliment your yoga practice with some high-energy city cycling. There are over 600 km of recreational pathways in Ottawa where you can discover both the rural and the urban gems located around the city. Use RentABike for a self-guided tour around The Capital Cycle Route – which is designed to take you through all of the major city attractions – or let the experts at Escape Bicycle Tours and Rentals do the work for you. Join them for a 2, 3, or 5-hour tour around historic landmarks and hidden gems where they’ll handle everything from the route to the snacks.

Avid cyclers will enjoy the challenge that is just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa. Gatineau Park offers a challenging route that will get your heart pumping, and it’s not just designed for the cyclist. Hikers, campers, and swimmers can all get their rural workout in with trail like King Mountain and Pink Lake. Rustic families can head on over for an afternoon picnic, or to enjoy the five public beaches. After a full day of hiking, you can head back to urban heaven and relax at the Nordik Spa-Nature, which brings the best Scandinavian traditions right to Canada. The spa has seven outdoor baths, eight saunas, and plenty of treatments to get those muscles relaxed after a day of hiking. It’s the largest spa of it’s kind in Norther America, talk about roughing it in style.

The extreme-sports fans are never left out when visiting the capital. While your friends take advantage of the bike tours and the spas, you can fill your day with adrenaline-packed activities. With some of the world’s best rapids, whitewater rafting on the Ottawa River will have you hanging onto your lifejacket. It is known as one of the best whitewater destinations in the world for a reason and will keep you cool on an otherwise hot day.

If you’re one who is most comfortable being in the air rather than in water, you can take your pick between two risky jumps. Parachute through the sky with GO Skydive and take in all of Ottawa-Gatineau from a whole new angle.

No experience? No problem. The instructors set you up with a 15-minute training session to prepare you for the rush of a lifetime.

The second jump keeps you on land with “The Rock” at Great Canadian Bungee. The bungee has a 160-foot rebound, which is higher than the entire bungee height of any other site in the U.S. and Canada. An Ottawa summer is never a dull moment, even if you decide not to jump off a cliff or out of a plane. You can strap on your vintage goggles and fly high on the WWII-era Biplane Adventure. The photos from this flight are sure to end up in your family slideshow.

Whatever you choose to fill your day with, make sure you end it with an evening of craft beer. Choose between 36 breweries within city limits, take a Brew Donkey Tour to visit a few breweries in a day, or you can prop yourself on a patio of your choice to keep your outdoors streak going. See for yourself why Ottawa craft beer is considered the best around.

Finally, check out the summer festival guide to see if your trip aligns with some of Ottawa’s top musical festivals, or the biggest party in the country: Canada Day. Kick back and enjoy the Northern Lights Show to learn about her history and celebrate her birthday in style right in her capital.

Ottawa Tourism

This content has been developed and paid for by Ottawa Tourism, without involvement from The Coast’s editorial department.

Support The Coast

At a time when the city needs local coverage more than ever, we’re asking for your help to support independent journalism. We are committed as always to providing free access to readers, particularly as we confront the impact of COVID-19 in Halifax and beyond.

Read more about the work we do here, or consider making a donation. Thank you for your support!

Get more Halifax

The Coast Daily email newsletter is your extra dose of the city Monday through Friday. Sign up and go deep on Halifax.