Summer is, believe it or not, just around the corner. I know, I know, it’s still barely in the double digits for temperature in Ottawa and I have forgotten what the sun looks like and I still haven’t washed and put away the winter hats and mitts because we might still need them. Sigh.
But soon school will be out, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ll still be working, but reduced hours, and this year I’m hoping we’ll have a good time. It’s Captain Jelly Belly’s last year before high school, so time for a big blowout, I’m thinking. Enter: The Summer Of Awesome.
Every year I make a little softcover photo book of our summer adventures. My kids spend hours going over these – both at the end of summer, to review their memories, and at the beginning of next summer, when they’ll go through them all and pick out places they want to revisit. (I use Shutterfly for this but I’m open to suggestions if you know of a better place – they do good work but are pretty expensive, especially with the American shipping rates.) This week we’ve been going through the bookperms and the kids – who are already pretty mentally checked out of school – are getting excited about the break.
This summer I’m hoping to go back to some Greatest Hits but also to explore some new places. It’s Canada’s 150 celebration year and there’s tons of special activities on in Ottawa, so there’s never been a better year to staycation.
(Side note: isn’t it crazy that the Canada 150 celebrations are here? I remember when I first saw the Ottawa 150 logo and Ottawa started mentioning it – it was THREE YEARS AGO. At the time I was all like, Super Early Prepared Much? That’s forever away! And then I blinked and here we are. I take it all back, City of Ottawa, I do indeed.)
Here are a few things that are on our list for this summer. What’s on yours?
Red Bull Rallycross Races – at the Museum of Aviation, June 17/18. Uh, that’s next week! Memo to self: GET TICKETS. Hopefully they are still available.
National Gallery – I usually drag the kids to the National Gallery under duress each summer, but then they have a surprisingly good time thanks to their awesome Artissimo program that sends kids on treasure hunts, has them trying on costumes, and encourages them to create their own art. This year, they have a totally revamped Canadian gallery featuring tons of Indiginous art, opening June 15.
RCMP Musical Ride – June 23 to 25
Museum of Nature – new permanent exhibit on the Arctic opens June 21
Museum of History – their completely revamped Canada Hall opens July 11
Bank of Canada – they’ve been remodelling their building for like, three years, and the new foyer and currency museum reopen July 1
We Day Canada – This is so un-Ottawan of me, but I cannot stand the Hill on Canada Day – even though they are pulling out all the stops this year with Serena Ryder, Alessia Cara, Ruth B, Gordon Lightfoot (!!), and the Cirque du Soleil. But We Day is having a secondary concert – it runs most of the afternoon and evening of July 2 on Parliament Hill, featuring Alanis Morrisette, Hedley, Lily Singh, and about a thousand other people. I’ve been to We Day a few times and it’s oddly inspirational, and usually you have to register and do acts of charity to get a ticket but this one is free to all. Still not sure we will trek downtown for the inevitably gross Parliament Hill crowd, but we might.
Inspiration Village in the Market – I’ve heard this is kind of lame but of course, we have to go take a picture in front of the giant Ottawa sign. And it’s always nice to go to the market for treats – perhaps we will combine this with a trip to the National Gallery or The Mint, both popular places around here.
Mosiacanada – a weird, funky garden installation in Jacques Cartier Park that opens July 1 and runs until September (free access!)
Kontinuum – This is some sort of futuristic display/experience set up in the new, as-yet-unopened, Lyon transitway stop. It’s supposed to open in late June and run all summer.
Kingdom of Osgoode – medieval festival running July 8/9 in Osgoode. We recently watched all nine seasons of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix with the kids, and one of their favourite things to quote is how Ted’s character insists that it is pronounced “RenNAYsance Fair”, so I figure, let’s take them to one because that joke seriously does NOT get old.
Northern Lights Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill – same show as last year, but we’ve never taken the kids – I feel like their bedtimes are finally late enough that we could see this in 2017 (runs July 11 through September 16)
La Machine – These are giant robots? that will be walking around downtown? And telling a whole story over the course of four days of impromptu live robot theatre? It’s all very mysterious but let me just say this: giant dragon fighting giant spider. YES. (Runs July 27 through 30)
Cirque Du Soleil Volta – apparently there are roller skates involved. So YES. (August 3 to 27 in Gatineau)
The Canada 150 Train – CP is taking a heritage train, pulling a series of restored historical cars, across Canada this summer in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. They’ll be stopping in Ottawa on August 20 for a concert and a chance to check out the train. I have a kid here who LOVES trains so this is a must-do.
Ottawa Welcomes the World – these are the country-specific celebrations held weekly (approximately) at Landsdowne throughout the year. We have our eye on Macedonia (August 6) and of course, India (September 29).
Company of Fools – Shakespeare in the Park – this has become a beloved event for us and I could not be happier about it. It’s mostly due to my pre-show Lego recreation of the plot (so they can follow along, despite the difficult language) but the show itself is always hilarious and fun. This year it’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. (Runs at a variety of parks from July 3 through August 19, check their website for the full schedule)
Fortissimo – We’ve never been to this outdoor military concert, hoping I can convince the kids this year. (Runs July 20 to 22)
Casino Du Lac Leamy Sound and Light Show – this has been on our list for a couple of years now, hopefully we’ll make it out to the fireworks show in 2017 – running August 6 to 17.
Also on the list:
- Saunders Farm (every year, at least once, sometimes twice)
- Westboro Beach
- Pink Lake hike or Carbide Willson ruins hike in Gatineau Park
- Classic Car Night at Hazeldean Mall (our middle daughter is SUPER INTO cars right now)
- 1000 Islands Boat Cruise (maybe an overnighter?)
- Mont Cascades water park
- Upper Canada Village
- The Pottery Playhouse – one of those paint-your-own ceramics places, I might take the youngest here one day when the older two are being cranky
…and swimming as much as possible at Ottawa indoor and outdoor pools, going to the library often, and going to see ALL the movies (Wonder Woman, Cars 3, Despicable Me 3, Spiderman: Homecoming, Son of Bigfoot, and I will probably get dragged to The Emoji Movie, lord help me).
What are you up to?