by Terina Ram
What we think (hope) will be the last snow storm of the year is passing and it looks like the warmer air is on the way, along with some rain in the forecast. With only a couple of more days until the first official day of spring and we are SO ready for it!! We thought it would be a good idea to share how Ottawa transforms in preparation for the new season. The coming months are filled with activities that make the most of the warmer weather and get people out and about!
Although Gatineau Park has trails open all year round, March and April is spectacular time for hikers and trail lovers! The snow still litters the floor, however the sun illuminates the dense forests and the warm rays reflecting off the cold snow make it the perfect time to get back to exploring! The trails continue to be a wonderful spectacle as the weather increases, with many of the beaches opening up in mid May and right through the summer!
Parc Omega offers many different options for families, animal lovers, and those who want to be outside all year round! They offer car tours as well as walking tours which allow you to get into nature and see a variety of animals in their natural habitats.
Sugar Bush and Sugar Lumber Fest are great ways to experience Canada’s very own sweet and sticky treat: Maple Syrup! Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush, Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm, Proulx Maple & Berry Farm, Vanier Museopark are all open from March to the beginning or middle of April! SugarLumberFest will take place April 8 and celebrates all things maple!
Visit the Arboretum, located on Ottawa’s experimental farm which is home to Canada’s Agriculture and Food museum! Not only is the area beautiful to walk through but the museum also hosts March Break and Easter events which are fun for the whole family!
Yoga on Parliament Hill will be back for another spring and summer starting May 3rd! Join Lulumon as they present renowned yoga instructors every Wednesday at noon! Just bring your own mat and water, all levels of yogis are welcome for free yoga on the hill!
Poutine Fest is back May 5-8 for another year to celebrate Canada’s favourite food! Join local and national vendors as they serve their own unique takes on the classical Canadian dish. Be sure to see one vendor take the crown for best poutine, all happening at Ottawa City Hall.
Get on the water at Dow’s Lake. Starting mid May, canoe, kayaks and paddle boats are available for rental until the end of the summer.
Camp Fortune is known to Ottawa as ski resort during the winter. However, starting in the spring those giant hills get a makeover and are turned into zip lines and high ropes courses! Leave your skis at home and bring your sneakers for an aerial adventure.
The annual Canadian Tulip Festival will be happening this May 12 -22. The festival marks that April showers are gone and that May flowers are here to stay, with summer looming around the corner. Be sure not to miss the millions of tulips in bloom along with entertainment and fireworks!
Ottawa marathon (Race Weekend) on May 27th and 28th, which has become one of the largest marathon events in North America, is a weekend dedicated to road running events, there are multiple different events to suite many different running abilities. From 2k to over 40k the event welcomes all to participate or support runners.
Canada’s very own music awards will be held in nations capital this year. Be sure to catch the Juno’s at the Canadian Tire Centre on April 2. Also take a look at the website for all the smaller events occurring in anticipation for the Juno’s.
As you might be able to tell by our name, the Lord Elgin Hotel has the absolute pleasure of being located on Elgin St., which is known to be one of the best streets to eat in Ottawa. Therefore, we thought it was only fitting to discuss a “top 11” of the best restaurants on Elgin. However, we decided to put a twist on the usual “top list.” Instead of counting down to a number one spot, we have decided to list the top restaurants for a variety of different cuisines. Elgin St. has a diverse range restaurants to chose from, ensuring that you never have to settle for fast food while you’re here! So without further ado, here are our top choices of restaurants on Elgin.
1. Italian: Johnny Farina
Johnny Farina’s is a casual Italian eatery serving wood-fired pizza, and pasta on top of many classic Italian dishes such as chicken parmigiana and veal piccata. The restaurant has a casual yet classy atmosphere offering a main dining area, a bar and lounge as well as a deli if you’re in hurry. They offer up an assortment of Italian sandwiches you can grab on the go. Stop by if you’re in a rush or if you’re in the mood for a glass of wine, dessert or for a lovely full course meal.
2. Mexican: El Camino:
This little dive is a hotspot almost everynight of the week! This urban chic bar pairs contemporary Mexican plates with a vast assortment of tequilas. Tacos, chips, churros and a whole menu of cocktails ensures that El Camino is certainly worth the line known to form on the weekends. If you don’t feel like waiting for a table, this hip spot also offers a take-out window to satisfy all your taco needs!
3. Pub: Lieutenants Pump
Walk down the stairs and into a relaxed atmosphere for great pub fair. This British pub offers traditionally pub grub and diverse range of beers all at reasonable prices. Monday night is Trivia night and the weekends get a little more lively with a DJ on sight, come eat, drink and have dance at this local favourite. Be sure to stop by Sunday morning for that hangover brunch you may be needing!
4. Mediterranean: Fattoush Lady
Located just one block away from the hotel, the Fattoush Lady is a great place for a quick lunch or takeout. This small spot has definitely become a lunch time favourite for many of the people who work in the area. Whether you want a salad, sandwich or wrap the food is always fresh and will never break your wallet!
5. Japanese: New Generation Sushi
While the restaurant is small there is no need to worry as it makes up for it in flavour! New Generation Sushi blends traditional and innovative Japanese cuisine with a special focus on their sushi and maki. Regardless of what you order, each meal is served in unique and eye appealing ways. They offer a variety of fish, meat and vegetarian options, ensuring that there is something for everyone! Reasonably priced dinners and specials available for lunch, New Generation will please your sushi cravings!
6. Asian: Datsun
A newer restaurant on Elgin Street, Datsun continues to become increasing popular! Situated next to El Camino, the restaurant has the same industrial and urban vibe. Their must have’s are the steamed buns and dumplings. While the restaurant does not serve many vegetarian options there a couple to choose from. The restaurant is open until midnight throughout the week and open late on the weekends, making it perfect for that late night snack. The restaurant also offers a take out window, allowing you to grab your food and enjoy some warm buns in the comfort of your bed!
7. American/Canadian: Grill 41
Grill 41 puts a spin on the traditional American and Canadian cuisine. The restaurant is always playing with new flavours and creating new specials for customers to try. The restaurant is open from breakfast until dinner so there is always something for you to try. The menu offers a range of food from interesting salads to burgers and pizza, always fresh and always delicious!
8. Seafood: Whalesbone
The Whalesbone has two locations both relatively close to the hotel. The restaurant opened their first location on Bank St. in 2005 and became renowned for their quality oysters. After the success of the first location, they opened a second on Elgin St. The restaurant has classic seafood dishes such as fish and chips and lobster rolls but also serves creative and innovate recipes such as scallop ceviche and steelhead trout. The Whalesbone has a large group of regulars and continues to be increasing popular within the Ottawa community. An added bonus is that the restaurant is Ocean Wise certified which means that all their dishes are seafood sustainable!
9. Vegetarian/Vegan: Pure Kitchen
Pure Kitchen embodies that fresh, hip lifestyle that we usually see on the streets of California. Amidst the cold Ottawa winter, Pure Kitchen has fresh food that makes you feel healthy inside and out. Providing a juice bar, take out and table service options, Pure Kitchen has many options to choose from ensuring that each meal is full and satisfying- even the meat-eaters will forget each meal is plant based.
10. Indonesian: Lemon Grass
This relaxed eatery serves familiar Thai noodles and curries! They never take shortcuts and their flavours and dishes always stay true to authentic Thai flavours. The extensive menu ensures that there is always something new for you to try. There are dishes for anything you’re feeling from salads to rich curries, this Bangkok inspired cuisine won’t make you break the bank to taste a medley of great flavours.
11. Fine Dining: Riviera
While technically not on Elgin St., we thought that this spot on the adjoining Sparks St. needed to make the cut! Riviera takes the idea of fine dining and quality food to a new level, come in to the restaurant in a suit or jeans and still feel comfortable, with this casual fine dining experience. The restaurant has and extensive cocktail and wine menu to paired with all of their exquisite and exceptional menu items. This art deco inspired restaurant is definitely worth the price!
– the intern (Terina)