A family night out with the Ottawa Fury

KITC would like to welcome back, guest blogger, Stephen Johnson. Stephen Johnson is an Ottawa writer who loves to write about family travel.  During the summer, you will most likely find him and his family at a local fair or festival.  During the winter, a beach in Mexico is a likely bet.  

Certain summer nights are almost perfect.  We experienced one of those moments at a recent Ottawa Fury FC match.  

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The first element was the weather.  As all Ottawans know, our spring has been less than stellar. The night we attended the Fury game, there was not a cloud in the sky and the temperature was a perfect twenty-two degrees celsius.   

The second factor was the game day experience.  Our son, David, had been picked to be part of the pre-game ceremonies. We arrived at TD Place  stadium and met up with someone from the Fury staff. We were soon down on field level. David had the opportunity to watch the players practicing. He enthusiastically gave them high-fives at the end of their practice.

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David was given instructions for what would come next.  He was given a Fury flag along with a number of other children. I must admit to feeling chills as the players walked out accompanied by the booming voice of the stadium announcer. David got an up-close view as the players passed through the tunnel of Fury flags.

Soon enough, both national anthems were complete and it was time to make our way back to our seats. The Fury were playing against the Charlotte Independence. Both teams were evenly matched and the soccer was high quality. I liked the fact Fury fans represented all different ages and demographics. There were families enjoying an evening out along with more hardcore supporters who probably knew the history of each player.   

Ottawa Fury Player

After forty-five minutes of action, the score was 0-0. It was the perfect time to stretch our legs so we made a beeline to the family fun zone. This area features a variety of activities including inflatables, face-painting and Jenga blocks. Basically, it is the ideal place to take your younger Fury fan if they want a break from the game. David took a few shots on net and scored a goal. David was craving a hotdog so we headed to the concessions area where he ate almost all the dog leaving me a small bite-sized portion to enjoy!

It was time for the second half to begin. The major excitement for us was when the Fury promo team threw  t-shirts into the crowd. A shirt landed close to our seats but was just out of reach.  An older fan grabbed the child-sized t-shirt and did the kind thing giving it to David.

Unfortunately for the Fury, even though they carried much of the play, Charlotte scored a late goal marking a 1-0 victory. To be honest, the score did not really matter to us. We had a great night out and plan to attend at least another game this summer.  

Ottawa Fury Soccer Game

There is something of a Canadian invasion going on with the Fury lately as many of the starting players are from Canada. There are even several home-grown players from Ottawa that you can cheer. For more information about the Fury schedule and tickets, visit, www.ottawafuryfc.com

Special thanks to the Ottawa Fury for providing David with tickets for the purpose of this article; all views are his own.

Canada Day 2018 in Canada’s Capital Region

Looking for information on the official Canada Day 2018 festivities? Canada Day celebrations start June 30th at Major’s Hill Park and on July 1st at three official sites: Parliament Hill and Major’s Hill Park in Ottawa, and the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau.

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Parliament Hill

Known as the place to see on Canada Day, this year won’t disappoint with Canadian musical performances, a musical workshop, fun-filled activities, and more! Guests can enjoy Canada day on the Hill starting at 8 a.m.

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Hosted by Lisa Charleyboy and Marième, the Canada Day Noon Show will include remarks from dignitaries, a fly past by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and performances by Canadian artists: Arkells, Lights, Brigitte Boisjoli, Iskwé, Jean-Marc Couture, Rose Cousins, Martina Ortiz Luis and Queen Ka.

At 5:30 p.m., there will be an aerial show by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.

The Canada Day Evening Show will feature artists: Arkells, Lights, Brigitte Boisjoli, Iskwé, Jean-Marc Couture, Ruth B, Klô Pelgag, The Dead South, Rose Cousins, Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, DJ Shub and Boogát.

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The evening will end with a dazzling 15-minute President’s Choice pyro-musical show at 10 p.m.

New this year on the Hill: the main entrance to the Hill is at the Supreme Court of Canada (corner of Wellington and Kent). To ensure a quick security screening process, only pack light and bring your Canada Day essentials, such as a hat, sunscreen and a reusable water bottle.

Major’s Hill Park

Canada Day celebrations start Saturday, June 30th on Major's Hill Park with all day activities for the whole family, including circus performances, games and a community culinary experience.

Kids can enjoy a ride around the park aboard a VIA Rail Miniature Train or get a unique musical ride aboard a bicycle made out of recycled material. 

You can also cheer on top Canadian artists at the Art Battle Canada live painting tournament (11 to 11:30 am) that celebrates creativity, courage and community in the visual arts. Their masterpiece is created before your eyes in only 20 minutes as you vote to help decide the winner!

Then enjoy local musical talent, including: Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine; MEGAPHONO Showcase featuring LeFLOFRANCO, SeiiizMikk and Jah’kota; and in the evening, Andréanne A. Malette and River Town Saints.

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Then, on Canada Day itself, the activities and performances continue!

Jump up to 30 feet in the air on the Jumpaï (“jump high”). It's made up of four separate trampolines. Adults and kids over 36 inches tall can do an unlimited number of jumps—a mix of trapeze, bungee and acrobatics with a guaranteed wow factor!

There will also be performances by Charlotte Cardin, the Noubi Trio, The Beaches, Logan Staats, Jacobus and La Bronze, and so much more!

Canadian Museum of History

Head to the Canadian Museum of History on July 1st and enjoy free family-friendly programming and activities and then stay well into the evening to watch the pyro-musical show as it lights up the night sky over Ottawa–Gatineau.

Canada Day Fireworks

During the day, activities include Hinterland's Who's Who where guests can find out about Canadian wildlife and meet a few wild critters in person; a nature-art workshop with Mélodie Coutou, La Ressourcière, where guests are invited to co-create a forest made from the interbreeding of different tree species; free airbrush tattoos, games and much more!

Canada Day celebrations in Canada’s Capital Region are made possible thanks to official sponsors President’s Choice, Manulife and Tim Hortons, as well as the valuable support of more than 500 dedicated volunteers.

To stay up to date regarding any changes or cancellations to the Canada Day schedule, click here.

This Canada Day post was sponsored by Canadian Heritage/Patrimoine canadien. 

Travelling Light with Kids

"If you can’t carry it, don’t bring it." 

That has always been and always will be my motto for airplane travel. (By car is a totally different approach: If it fits, it comes! - that can be another blog!) Whenever we have gone away by plane, the rule has been if you can’t carry it, it doesn’t come. Because really, I can’t carry it either. And, really, I don’t want to!

My name is Antonia Cetin. I am an educator and the author of You’ve Got This, Mom! A Mother’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Modern World. With my currently 12 year old son, I am a world traveller. Together Matthieu and I have travelled to 17 countries across North and Central America and Europe. We love to explore and to visit new places, meet new people, discover hidden treasures. This summer we are looking forward to going to Hawaii for my 5-0!

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My son and I have always travelled with carry-ons because it’s easier and it’s more hassle-free. If you have large luggage, and your children have large luggage, who gets stuck carrying it all? How would you even manage carrying it into the airport, never mind some distant and unfamiliar destination? No thank you. I am a wuss, and I will stay that way.

I also never wanted the hassle of arriving at our destination with a young child and having to wait for my luggage to come. We just walk right through arrivals and keep heading out the exit. I have never wanted the hassle of wondering if all of our stuff would arrive and if it didn’t, how would I handle that with my young traveller in tow. On occasion, it has happened that our connecting flights have been very close, but no problem because we didn’t have to worry about our luggage making the connecting flight!

Further, with carry-ons, I always know where all of our stuff is, and it is always handy. Having things on hand has been especially helpful on those frequent occasions when Matthieu decided he wanted a certain toy or book or pair of socks while we were in transit. Wait, I think the socks was me!

What about souvenirs? You know there will be souvenirs. You know, those amazing and unique trinkets that your children will not be able to live without and that you will be stuck carrying for the remainder of your trip? Leave room for these in your luggage and only buy the lightest ones because you will be cursing when your luggage gets any heavier!

During our three month trip across Europe in 2016, for example, Matthieu, and I had one carry-on and one additional bag each. He had his awesome Star Wars carry-on suitcase with wheels that he could trail behind him, and his very cool satchel made out of recycled firefighter pants given to him for our trip by a dear friend. In his case, he had his clothes, sandals, toiletries, and stuffies; and in his satchel, he carried his notebooks, his reading material, his pencil case, and some precious souvenirs. I, on the other hand, had a nap-sack (because there is no way I could carry two suitcases, carry-on or otherwise, up and down stairs where there are no escalators!), and my large purse. In my knapsack, I had my own clothes, sandals, and toiletries, and in my purse, along with our documents, were our studying materials, our sketchbooks, our Chromebook, and our essential oils.

Everything else, I figured we could find along the way if we needed it.

If you think about it, the more stuff you bring with you, the more stuff you have to keep track of. This way, I only ever had to count as high as 4 and really, when you’re travelling with a bunch of stuff for an extended period of time, 4 is high enough! Occasionally, you end up with an extra bag or two anyway: that snack that doesn’t fit into your luggage, the special souvenir you bring to share at your next stop, the fragile confectionary you got for the road, and next thing you know your hands are full. Besides, you still need to keep an eye and a hand free for your most precious cargo: your child!

As you plan your own vacation this summer, please consider liberating yourself of stuff. Who needs more responsibility on vacation anyway? So, if you’re hitting the road with your kids, my best advice is to only take what you can carry because you know who’s going to be carrying most of the stuff anyway. #mamashirpaisme

For more blogs on travel, parenting, health, or life-balance visit my website: antoniacetin.com and check out my Facebook Page: @youvegotthismom

Driving into summer with the Ford Escape

This spring I had the opportunity to test drive a 2018 Ford Escape, as part of a super fun "Escape into Spring" weekend. We planned out our day trip to Fulton's Pancake House, as I was looking for a road trip/fun destination combo for the kids.

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Full disclosure that I already drive a Ford Escape, albeit a 2006. So I'm probably a little biased towards this car, and towards Ford Canada in general. Ford seems to run in our family's blood ;)

After driving around town in my ageing vehicle, stepping into the Escape was pretty magical. I breathed in the new leather smell, and immediately hooked up my phone to the SYNC-3, with a super easy-to-use touchscreen. I excitedly called my husband: "Guess what? I'm talking to you and DRIVING!!!" There's also the FordPass app, which I didn't have time to set up, but would have allowed me to start the car remotely, locate my parked car, or check fuel remotely!

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I was driving the Titanium Sport, which I had to admit, had a great little kick to it. And with the Auto Start-Stop Technology, the car quietly shut down every time I came to a red light. Gas mileage was OK, but it IS still an SUV, and you would need to take that into consideration - especially with current gas prices!

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My husband was excited to try the Enhanced Active Park Assist, which literally takes over your car to park for you. I think it takes a little practice to figure out though, and I have to admit I freaked out a bit when it started to turn the wheel for me.

The hour (and a bit) drive to Fulton's was so smooth and easy, and the kids were very comfortable. They (of course) shouted out constant requests for stations on Sirius, and the Disney station was a favourite. MY favourite thing about the highway drive was the Adaptive Cruise Control - it actually slowed down automatically for me when I was approaching a car in front that was going a slower speed. 

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Other really cool features? The Lane Keeping system to stop you from drifting, as well collision warning. Not that I'm not paying 100% attention all the time while driving, but we all know how quickly things can change when you're distracted by a screaming child or fighting siblings. And finally, the capless gas tank - I LOVED this!! My cap always seems to stick, and with the capless system you just stick the nozzle in and pump away!

The final, and best feature, on this car was the Foot-Activated Hands-Free Power Liftgate. What exactly does that mean? When you're trying to carry 500 grocery bags to your car, you can give the back bumper a gentle kick, and the trunk will open automatically! Check out the video below:

Although we're not ready to purchase a new vehicle this year, I'd definitely recommend this car to any friend or family member who may be looking for a larger vehicle - it's so perfect for those long summer road trips. It's spacious, easy-to-handle, and let's admit it - pretty sweet to look at!

Disclosure: in exchange for sharing my experience, I was provided a 2018 Ford Escape from Ford Canada for one weekend, along an all-expenses covered day trip. All opinions are my own.

A Family Weekend in Montreal

KITC would like to welcome guest blogger, Stephen Johnson to the blog. Stephen Johnson is an Ottawa writer who loves to write about family travel.  During the summer, you will most likely find him and his family at a local fair or festival.  During the winter, a beach in Mexico is a likely bet.  

Our family literally reached new heights on a recent trip to Montreal. We achieved this by riding a new Ferris wheel, taking the funicular up Olympic Stadium and visiting La Ronde amusement park. I was holding my breath the entire time!

The adventure started at La Grande Roue Ferris wheel located in Vieux Montreal. Our son, David, spotted it last summer while appropriately taking a zipline. He had been asking my wife, Sandy, and I all winter when we could take a ride on it. The day had finally arrived. I have never been one for heights but was pleasantly surprised by the comfort of the cabins and the smoothness of the ride. David was taking photos like it was the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The glass compartments made taking photos easy. I must admit to being somewhat uneasy when David told me it was the largest Ferris wheel in Canada, especially when we stopped at the top, but all was well.

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After we finished at the Ferris wheel, we decided to check out the nearby Montreal Science Centre. David enjoyed all of the interactive exhibits. He particularly liked the exhibit about the human body. We spent a couple of hours exploring the museum. Once we were done, the spring weather was still doing its impression of hide and seek. One hour it was warm and sunny and the next was cool and rainy. We decided to wait out the damp weather with a tasty meal at Les Trois Brasseurs. Soon enough, the weather cleared and it was time to head back to our hotel.

The following day, we were ready for more high-flying fun. We headed to Olympic Stadium to visit the Montreal Tower. It is the tallest inclined tower in the world at 165 meters and a 45-degree angle. To reach the top we took a two-minute funicular ride that was stunning. Once at the top, we had a panoramic view of Montreal and surrounding area. Staff at the tower said on a clear day, it is possible to see up to 80 kilometers away.

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Once done at the tower, we were ready for an out-of-this-world visit. I’m not talking about a ride aboard an Elon Musk or Richard Branson rocket ship. We saw a show at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium The presentation was about the aurora borealis. The colours were truly spectacular and the presenter filled us in on the science behind the aurora borealis. We were also taken on a tour of all the constellations and planets we could see in the night sky.

After our celestial entertainment, we hopped on the Metro and made our way to Old Montreal. We decided to visit the Queens of Egypt exhibition at the Pointe-à-Callière museum. The exhibition was world class. It featured many different objects including monumental statues, frescos and even a mummy!

We wrapped up the day doing one of our favourite activities, just wandering the streets of Old Montreal and enjoying the ambiance. Street buskers and musicians just added to the atmosphere.

For our last day in Montreal, we fittingly scheduled more high-flying fun. La Ronde amusement park is one attraction we have never visited in Montreal so we were excited to go. To my knowledge, it is the only amusement park that can be accessed by metro in North America which I find cool. Upon entering the park, David wanted to find the highest ride. The Super Manège roller coaster fit the bill. My wife, Sandy, was brave enough to accompany David. I was given camera duty and was happy to snap away while Sandy and David had fun flippin’ and flyin’.

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The next ride on deck was the Bateau Pirate. The boat delivered up many thrills with it reaching extreme heights. David seemed more energized by every ride while Sandy bowed out after the Bateau. Next up, David decided to try the Goliath roller coaster. Afterwards, I read online that the ride went 110 km an hour (never shared that detail with Sandy!)

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For his final ride, David chose the Ednör roller coaster. It was a fun way for David to wrap up the day as the ride spun around and even went over a small lake. For the rest of the time, we walked around the grounds enjoying the sights and sounds. I liked the fact the park delivered many rides in a relatively compact space.

We had a comfortable stay at the Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown. It is located very close to the Peel metro station making it easy to get around all of Montreal. The hotel also had a delicious breakfast to start off the day.

We are already our next trip back to Montreal!

For more information about Montreal, attractions and events visit, www.mtl.org/en.

Tourism Montreal assisted David with attraction passes and hotel, but all views, etc. are his own.