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21 things to do in Ottawa this spring

Tulips during a previous year’s Canadian Tulip Festival. (Photo/Devyn Barrie)

Welcome to spring, Ottawa. Although it’s been official for some time (the equinox happened on March 20) it took the weather a little bit longer to catch up. That, plus Ottawans are rightly skeptical whenever it starts to feel like spring. (Rightly so, judging by the weekend forecast…)

But more and more, it’s looking a whole lot like the new season is underway. That means emerging from our sunshine-free indoors and soaking up the newly-available vitamin D (on days it isn’t grey and rainy, that is.) There’s also plenty of cultural events and social activities happening this season you’ll want to check out.

Here are some suggestions for activities to partake in this spring.

  1. Take a photo of a gorgeous sunrise/sunset. Kareen Rispal, ambassador of France to Canada, has the right idea!
  1. Go for a jog. Ottawa has tons of paths for you to enjoy a run on. If you can swing it, nothing beats the views of a brisk jog along the Rideau Canal pathway!

  2. Go for a picnic on the grounds of Rideau Hall. We readily recommend the GG’s official residence as a place to check out year-round. There’s plenty to see and do at this urban sanctuary. If you haven’t been yet, don’t miss it this spring!

  3. Biking season is officially on! OC Transpo has started its rack and roll program on over 600 buses. You can find out all about cycling across the city and on NCC lands by visiting ottawa.ca/cycling and ncc-ccn.gc.ca/places/cycling. We’ll be keeping an eye on cycling-related events for you in our twice-weekly newsletter, Etcetera — here is an urban cycling workshop May 8 in Kanata North that looks very informative.

  4. Get fresh local food at a farmers market. Most open in May.

  5. Spend an afternoon in the sun and enjoy the local businesses along your favourite commercial streets: Elgin, Bank, Sparks, Wellington West, Stittsville Main, Robertson, Montreal, etc. Or, visit one you’re not familiar with and discover something new!

  6. Go on a Jane’s Walk to learn about the environment and community around you.

  7. Sample the sights, sounds and flavours of the European Union at the E.U. Short Film Festival at Arts Court Theatre, May 2–4.

  8. Check out a City of Ottawa drop-in recreational activity. Here’s a list of them.

  9. Learn about upcoming titles to add to your spring reading list at the Ottawa Public Library Spring Book Social, May 9.

  10. Check out the Canadian Tulip Festival, May 10–20!

  11. Or enjoy Ottawa’s two consecutive poutine festivals: on Sparks Street and at City Hall.

  12. The Ottawa Children’s Festival hits LeBreton Flats May 8–12, featuring “award-winning programming from across Canada and around the world, developed specifically for young people and those young at heart to ignite their creativity, imagination and individual expression.”

  13. The grown-ups can take an extended beer run with the Ottawa Beer Festival.

  14. Shop till you drop at the Great Glebe Garage Sale. (May 25 this year!

  15. The Happening in Hintonburg goes down later in May.

  16. See Barack Obama speak at the Canadian Tire Centre at the end of May. Tickets on sale April 26!

  17. Learn to crochet.

  18. Or play croquet. There’s an open house at the Elmdale Lawn Bowling Club on May 11.

  19. National Doughnut Day is June 7! (Summer starts June 20)

  20. Enjoy Ottawa Italian Week June 6–16.

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