Ottawa, Canada – April 1999

Current Happenings

Events special to this month are not numerous, but I’ll let you know of upcoming and ongoing gallery and museum exhibitions in coming months. Summer is usually better for such things.

At the National Gallery (on Sussex Dr., within blocks of the major hub of bus activity, the Rideau Centre, and visible from Parliament Hill):

I’d like to think I’m cultured, but looking at this list and not recognising any of the names, maybe I should reconsider that assessment.

Until April 25, 1999

  • William De Morgan Ceramics

Until May 2, 1999

  • French Prints from the Age of the Musketeers
  • Robert Murray: The Factory as Studio
  • A Collective Vision: Gifts to the Photographs Collection
  • Sculptures by Liliana Berezowsky
  • Tibetan Thankas

There’s also an impressive Inuit Art exhibit going on, from what I hear. For more information about events and exhibitions at the National Gallery go here.

At the Museum of Civilization in Hull (take OC Transpo bus #8 from Ottawa):

The Birth of Nunavut has resulted in several exhibits on the Inuit, opening on April 1st. Don’t know what Nunavut is? Go here.

The exhibits at the Museum of Civilization:

  • Iqqaipaa
  • Inuit and Englishmen
  • Nunavut: Jewel of the Arctic

Also, the International Year of Older Persons is being celebrated there on April 22nd.

At the Canadian War Museum (next to the Gallery on Sussex Drive):

Apart from the great permanent exhibits, there are two new ones opening this month.

  • A Garrison Country: Newfoundland and Labrador in Canadian War Art opens April 1st; and
  • Athena (about Women in the military) opens April 8th.

Will have more complete listings next month. For more information on entertainment in Ottawa, check out the listings in the Ottawa X-Press, a local entertainment paper (don’t worry, it’s free).

Most exciting news about spring so far is that the Royal Oak Laurier has opened up its patio. This pub is my second home. They also have many other locations.

Royal Oak Laurier


Does Ottawa have a nightlife? Sort of… There’s a handful of decent clubs including Zaphod Beeblebrox and Barrymore’s. No big names in town at either this month (unless you count the Moffatts, who are playing April 1st), but some good local stuff. Check out this site for more details. (Eugene’s the sorta icky owner guy of both establishments.)

As for dancing, check out the Cave’s (Sparks Street) Retro Night (Tuesday and Thursday) Swing Fridays. From what I hear, Atomic (Besserer)has DJ’s spinning just about anything on any given night. Unless you’re into meat markets and Eurotrash music, avoid Reactor.

Ottawans aren’t big clubbers. Flannel shirts are fairly normal attire and in most bars the Tragically Hip and similar Fratboy rock is the music of choice. (I won’t diss the Hip, but it’s not good dancing music, is it?)

That’s it for this month. Next month…What the hell is with all the tulips?!?!

General Info on Ottawa

Okay, so Ottawa-Hull is probably not the most action-paced place in the world. Most visitors say things like “It’s pretty”, “It’s clean” or “It’s pretty clean.”

Its biggest distinction, apart from being the capital of Canada, is that it’s home to the world’s longest skating rink, the Rideau Canal,

which was originally built for some long-forgotten defence scheme in the nineteenth century.

Ottawa’s full of beautiful gothic-style government building and some butt-ugly modern ones (the Provincial Courthouse and the Regional Headquarters are the best examples of hideousness.)

Despite its reputation as a boring town full of even more boring civil servants, there really is a lot to do here and in the surrounding area, particularly in the winter (Winterlude), late spring (the Tulip Festival), and in the festival season in the summertime (not a patch on Edinburgh, I’ll


Unfortunately, as of this writing, there’s still plenty of snow on the ground. Of course, this’ll disappear soon as it has been t-shirt, albeit long-sleeved, weather for the past few days. The snow is crap for attempting most winter activities right now, but some ski areas are still open.

Spring skiing is quite liberating, so you might want to check it out. Mont Tremblant, which is about 1.5 hours in the direction of Montréal, makes snow until May 1st. Check out this site for more details.

Once the snow’s melted, take advantage of the many, many bike paths around the city. Beware if you have mold/spore allergies because melting snow makes everything really damp. The pong of some parks is appalling until the ground dries up a bit.

Here’s a sad, but mildly amusing spring activity. Head to Parliament Hill and start a game of Frisbee. It’s amazing how many tourists’ll take your picture. Or, go to the visitors gallery at the House of Commons and see how immature parliamentary debates really are.

Now that they’re no longer the laughing stock of the NHL, you might want to check out a Ottawa Senators hockey game.

They’re at home on the 1st (vs. Pittsburgh), 8th (vs. Toronto), 10th (vs. Buffalo), and the 12th (Florida). Game Day tickets are between $19 and $95 (you get what you

pay for) and can be bought through Ticketmaster (613)755-1111. The Corel Centre, where they play, is way out in suburbia, so give yourself plenty of time to get there. OC Transpo runs shuttle buses from most transit stations.


A Little About Megan:

My boots are Doc Martens. They’ve been my favourite since I was 14.

When I’m not dreaming about travelling, I’m a student at the University of Ottawa. I’m currently on a Co-op placement at Parks Canada.

Here’s her website.