A Weekend to Remember, a Blog Story by Liz Lesh

From Liz Lesh, Sales Manager (loved for her flair and fun!), Lord Elgin Hotel

This weekend, 2 of my best friends, Big City girls, Janice and Lisa, are coming to visit from Montreal.  Before I continue, let me give you a bit of background on Janice and Lisa.  56 year old successful professionals who like their steak, wines, espressos and the occasional cigarette (product of the 60’s and 70’s, and some things you just cannot change).  Janice and Lisa think they are coming to visit Liz, the X-Montrealer now Small Town Ottawa Girl.  Well, I am going to give them the time of their life here in “Small Town Ottawa”.

Arrival Saturday noon, we head out to Lansdowne and have lunch on the patio of Local Public Eatery.  People watching is one of our favorite activities and my friends will be very entertained by the cyclists, joggers, walkers, Birkenstocks and Yoga wearing locals in what researchers refer to as “enclothed cognition” (the clothing we wear influence our behaviour).  Janice and Lisa wear Stuart Weitzman flip flops, I wear Birkenstocks.  Yup, I drank the Ottawa Kool-Aid and my feet could not be happier.  After craft beer on the patio and a bit loosened up, we will walk over to Sporting Life for some old fashioned shopping.  Montreal, one of the shopping capitals of the world, does not have a Sporting Life.  Another notch in Ottawa’s belt, and if you have not been to this amazing store, save up some serious dollars, and wait for a sale and GO!!  They have fabulous clothes, active wear, and they “get” customer service.

Off to Bridgehead Coffee we will go a locally owned coffee shop that boasts Fair-trade beans and roasts its own coffee.  It just so happens that my son Sammy is one of Bridgehead’s finest Barista’s.  Of course I need to show off a bit.  Lisa’s son is a lawyer, Janice’s son is a top student at a private school and my Sammy is a celebrated Barista!  And damn it, I am a proud mommy.  Next blog, I will boast his bar tending skills at Belmont Snack Bar…stay tuned.

Pumped up on Bridgehead coffee, we will walk over to Whole Foods and salivate over the stunning display of fruit, vegetables, cheeses, & meats.  Montreal does not have Whole Foods either!!  Booya!

Saturday night, we will Uber to Empire Restaurant on the patio and take in the gorgeous Harley’s, BMW and Ducati bikes parked across the street with their owners strutting their gear.  (Janice, Lisa and I grew up in the “hood” of Montreal East End; we have a secret “thing” for Bikers, but what woman doesn’t?).  Beautiful people, happy people, crazy people, crowds, cameras, iPhones, snazzy shiny cars, high heels, short dresses, tight jeans, music, action, cosmopolitans, and wine.  Reality of our age hits us by 10:00 p.m. and we Uber back home.  Ya, I know, Uber is illegal, but have you tried it????

Sunday, 20 km cycle with Art is In Bakery as our destination and our reward.  The freedom of riding on roads closed to cars will be liberating and wonderful!  Janice and Lisa will feel as if part of the Tour de France.  Well, that is how I always feel.

Over 50 kilometres of parkways in Ottawa and Gatineau Park are open for cyclists, in-line skaters, runners and walkers.

I am so excited to host these Montreal Diva’s.  I think I will be giving them an Ottawa experience they will remember for a long time.  If nothing else, they will have a good laugh at our Birkenstocks, and Ottawa’s healthy lifestyle.

This is my city and I love it!!



The Tulips are Back in Ottawa

From Liz Lesh, Sales Manager, Lord Elgin Hotel, Ottawa

Being of Dutch descent, I’ve always loved Tulips. Tulips in vases. Tulips in gardens. Tulips on paintings, and photos of tulips.  Since living in Ottawa, I do my best to appreciate the Tulip Festival and how gorgeous those 3 weeks of colour brighten up our city after our brutal and messy winters. These flowers bring life and add colour to Canal, our parks, the Byward Market, Confederations Park and our front lawns.  The Tulip is Ottawa flower and symbolizes the strong bonds of friendship between Canada and the Netherlands, forged in Canada’s role in the Liberation of the Netherlands during the Second World War.

Ranked the world’s largest tulip festival, the Canadian Tulip Festival offers tourists the opportunity to explore the colourful tulips in bloom, Dutch culture.

All of Ottawa’s tulips are lovely, but let’s talk about the ones at Dow’s Lake.
As often as I’ve cycled, run or walked around Dow’s Lake, I have to admit that I’ve taken the Tulips for granted. Sure, I’ve taken visiting friends and family to see and experience the Tulip Festival and have taken hundreds of photos of the tulips, but I’ve never noticed the myriad of colour and beauty at this time of the year, until last weekend.

I went on a mission to visit Dow’s Lake as a tourist from a different country.  Dow’s Lake is a focal point for the Tulips, as well, throughout the summer Dow’s Lake plays host to many water recreational activities. Kayaking, canoeing, boating, running, walking and cycling.

I hope you enjoy these images. In all honesty, photos don’t do the Tulip Festival any justice –– you have to see this magnificent festival in person to understand why it’s been ranked world’s largest tulip festival.

Oh, and you cannot miss the diversity of music artists during Tulip Festival, as well as captivating fireworks.

Browse the latest events and attractions Ottawa has to offer.

Tourists looking at the colourful tulips at Ottawa’s Canadian Tulip Festival

Beautiful red and purple tulips in the park at the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa