Celebrate a farm-tastic birthday at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

If you’re looking for a memorable, hands-on experience for your child’s next birthday party, look no further than the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. They don’t “horse around” when it comes to birthday parties…they take fun seriously!

The excitement begins with a special tour of the animal barns, led by a knowledgeable museum guide. Children enjoy face-to-face interaction with the farm animals — including calves, rabbits, chickens, and horses — while your guide discusses animal habits and routines. Animal experiences are subject to seasonal changes (spring is lamb season!). Of course, we’re always happy to answer questions about the animals from curious, young minds.

Each two-hour birthday party also includes a game and a craft, as well as making and eating a delicious treat. Choose from two “udderly amazing” party themes:

  • A MOOving Experience: An ice cream-making party (for kids ages three-12)

  • Pizza Party: A pizza-making party (for kids ages five to 12)

Are “ewe” ready to join us? The 2018-2019 calendar is filling up fast – visit our website for pricing details and to reserve your party. They also offer free party invitations – just download and print!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum.

Family Fun at Room Escape Ottawa

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.  

Two years ago,  I didn’t understand all the buzz about escape rooms.  The concept of locking yourself up in a room and having to escape within a certain time seemed crazy to me.

My perspective totally changed when we recently tried an escape room in Kingston, Ontario. Our family had a great time searching for clues and working together. It left us wanting to find an escape room closer to home in Ottawa.

We checked online and found one close to our house that looked like fun,  Room Escape Ottawa. There were five different rooms to choose from with three being listed as youth-friendly. Despite our son, David’s, protests to try the scariest room, we all settled on Boom Room. The description listed the room as being a rigged enemy bunker that was timed to explode with only sixty minutes to escape. Our house has a similar feel in the morning to get everyone up and out the door on time so I thought our chances were good.

We arrived at Room Escape on Bank Street and found out it was in the same facility and business as Archery Games Ottawa. I wondered if perhaps we did not finish the room on time, we might have to do archery games without a bow and arrow!

We were greeted by our escape room host who went over some of the procedures and gave us the scenario. We entered the room and quickly got to work. The room was dimly lit except for a red emergency light giving the space the feel of a World War II bunker. It was authentically decorated with camouflage and other military paraphernalia.

Room Escape Ottawa

We were also provided with a walkie-talkie where we could request assistance. Clues were provided either via a television or our host would come in to assist. I thought this was a great feature especially for those with younger kids as it could be frustrating to be stuck on one puzzle for too long.   

I do not want to give away too much of the escape room in case you try it, but let’s just say there were many different elements including cracking codes, interpreting a board game and diffusing bombs. Ultimately, we did not make it all the way out of the room but got very close.

This experience is a great way to teach problem-solving skills, working together and generally just having a great time.   

Room Escape Ottawa has two other rooms which are suggested for the younger set. Stranded explores being stuck on an alien planet while another De-Composed is listed as being Canada’s first multiplayer virtual reality escape room.

We will certainly be back to Room Escape Ottawa whether to try out another escape room or archery games.  I still don’t think anyone from their staff could escape our house as quickly as we do on a Monday morning!    

The Hockey Sweater: A Musical

Many Canadians, young and old, are familiar with Roch Carrier’s story, The Hockey Sweater. In 1940s Quebec, life centred around school, church and the hockey rink and every kid wore the number 9 Habs sweater as a tribute to the legendary Maurice Richard. But when young Roch outgrows his, he’s mistakenly sent a Maple Leafs sweater instead…

Roch Carrier’s timeless tale, The Hockey Sweater, has been transformed into an energetic and magical musical for the whole family. Presented as part the National Art’s Centre Holiday programming , The Hockey Sweater: A Musical is suitable for all ages and the story of finding your own way in the world will resonate with hockey fans and theatre lovers alike.

The Hockey Sweater is not only a great way to introduce kids to the fun of musicals, but it’s also a fun way for fans of opposing hockey teams to come together and celebrate what everyone can agree has become a classic Canadian tale!

Don’t miss out! Make The Hockey Sweater a part of your holiday plans this December! Tickets start at only $29 and the show runs from December 5th to the 23rd. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the NAC official website.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the National Arts Centre.

2018 Santa Claus Parades & Holiday Activities in Ottawa

Christmas 2018 KITC.png

It may seem early, but it's time to start getting into the holiday spirit! Many Ottawa communities have already set a date for their Santa Claus parades and we want to make sure you don't miss out on this popular festive event! Please note: We are updating this post as more information and details become available. If you have a holiday event you would like to add - leave a comment and let us know!

2018 Ottawa Santa Claus Parades

Help Santa Toy Parade
http://toyparade.ca/
Saturday, November 17th at 11 a.m.

This is popular Ottawa Santa Claus parade takes place downtown and is favoured by many in the National Capital Region. Firefighters collect new toys and cash donations along the route. Can’t bring your toy donation? They will also accept new toys at any Ottawa Fire Station until mid-December. Depending on your spot along the route it can get busy, so keep this in mind if your family doesn’t like crowds.

Horses at Santa Claus parade

Santa’s Parade of Lights
paradeoflights.org
Saturday, November 24th

Also hosted by the Ottawa Professional Firefighters Association, this parade takes place on St-Joseph, Blvd. in Orleans. Toys and cash donations will be collected by firefighters along the route.

Stittsville Parade of Lights

Stittsville Parade of Lights
stittsvilleva.com
Saturday, December 1, 2018 at 6 pm

This parade is a favourite community event. The Lions Club will be collecting non perishable food and cash for the Stittsville Food Bank, and The Stocking Project will be collecting new stocking stuffers and gifts for local families who may be struggling.

Kanata Santa Claus Parade
https://www.facebook.com/events/683364755381229/
November 17, 2018 at 10 am

The Kanata parade (a.k.a the Hazeldean Mall Santa Claus Parade) is presented by the Kanata-Hazeldean Lions Club in cooperation with the Kanata Sports Club. The parade starts at Terry Fox and Castlefrank, moves along Castlefrank to Abbeyhill and then on to the Hazeldean Mall. Nonperishable food donations to the Kanata Food Cupboard are appreciated.

Kanata santa claus parade.JPG

Barrhaven Lions Santa Parade
santaclausbarrhaven.com
Sunday, November 18th at 5:30 p.m.

The annual Barrhaven Lions Club Santa Claus Parade runs down Strandherd Drive, west. Tim Hortons will be providing hot chocolate at various spots along the parade route.

Arnprior Santa Claus Parade
https://www.facebook.com/events/917184025147270/
November 24, 2018 at 6 pm

Richmond Village Santa Claus Parade
http://richmondvillage.ca/event/santa-parade/
TBD

Carp Santa Claus Parade
December 8, 2018 12 pm
Parade route starts at The Diefenbunker, 3911 Carp Road, and follows Carp Road.

Carleton Place Santa Claus Parade
http://downtowncarletonplace.com/christmas-parade/
Saturday, November 24, 2018 at 5 p.m.

Santa Claus Parades in Ottawa

Other Holiday Activities in Ottawa

Besides parades, there are many Christmas and holiday activities in Ottawa, including:

Holidays at The Parks 2018
http://wesleycloverparks.com/events/holidays-at-the-parks-2018/
Sunday, December 9, 2018 from 12:00PM – 4:00PM

A great family friendly event, Holidays at The Parks will feature activities for everyone including a vendor’s row, kids craft station, horse-drawn wagon rides, opportunity to meet Zack the donkey, and more! All activities will take place in the Wesley Clover Parks’ heated indoor arena. Meet and take a picture with Santa! Admission by donation.

Alight the Night
http://www.uppercanadavillage.com/events/alight-at-night/
November 30th to January 5th
Upper Canada Village

Step back in time while walking around the beautifully lit heritage buildings, trees and fences of Upper Canada Village. There are festive activities and a chance to meet Santa Claus all throughout the month of December leading up to Christmas.

Almonte’s Light Up the Night!
lightupthenightalmonte.com or
http://lanarkcountytourism.com/events/light-up-the-night-almonte/
Friday, December 7th at 7 p.m.

Bundle up, this is an open-air concert and fireworks display on Main Street in Almonte. Now in its 28th year this night is full of music and memorable outdoor festivities.

Manotick - Olde Fashioned Christmas
http://manotickvillage.com/event/olde-fashioned-christmas/
Saturday, December 1st and Sunday, December 2nd

Horse drawn wagon rides with Father and Mary Christmas to sunset carolling, this wonderful weekend is full of traditional events not to be missed. 

Cumberland Heritage Village Museum Vintage Village of Lights
ottawa.ca/en/liveculture/museums/cumberlandmuseum

30,000 Christmas lights, decorations everywhere, a gigantic reindeer and sleigh and – of course – a visit with Santa Claus in his workshop! Kids will have fun sledding, playing broomball or street hockey, making a snow globe, decorating gingerbread, and sending your Christmas wish list to Santa via telegram. Regular admission applies. 

A Nepean Christmas
https://ottawa.ca/en/residents/arts-heritage-and-culture/museums-and-historic-sites/nepean-museum#upcoming-events-and-programs

Bring the whole family and get into the Christmas spirit by coming to the museum for a Nepean Christmas Celebration!  There will be Christmas crafts, treats, and of course Santa! There is a fee.

Barrhaven: Winter Wonderland
Saturday, December 8th from 10 am to 12 pm
https://www.facebook.com/events/1219112084895128

Presented by the Minto Recreation Complex, this festive event will include pictures with Santa, crafts, games and cookie decorating. Admission is free!

Goulbourn Museum Olde Fashioned Christmas
Sunday, November 18th from 10 am to 3 pm
http://goulbournmuseum.ca/event/old-fashioned-christmas-outdoor-artisan-market-4/

Get a head start on your shopping at this holiday celebration and Christmas market that features activities for the whole family. Write letters to Santa and pose for a photo with the jolly old soul, enjoy free hot chocolate and apple cider and buy one-of-a-kind handmade gifts from local artisans. Free admission.

The CP Holiday Train
http://www.cpr.ca/holiday-train/schedule-canada

You may not see Santa here, but this is a great holiday event all the same. The CP Holiday Train started in 1999 and raises money and food for the Food Bank. Over the three weeks of the program, musicians will play more than 150 concerts from a boxcar that’s been turned into a travelling stage.

Family Travel: Explore Winnipeg, Manitoba

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.  
-----

We took a family trip to Saskatchewan this past summer and decided to return to Ottawa by car.  One of our unexpected surprises were all the great family-friendly attractions we found in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Here is a list of our favourite attractions we checked out while in Winnipeg.

Assiniboine Park Zoo  -  The zoo has been on my list of must-visit places since they opened their Journey to Churchill exhibit in 2014.  The stars of the show are the polar bears.  It is possible to view the bears through a glass-enclosed tunnel similar to what you find in an aquarium.  The day we visited the bears were in full-performance swimming and generally frolicking about.

Polar Bears at Assiniboine Park Zoo .jpg

There are plenty of things to keep you busy at the zoo.  A few other animals we saw were muskox, timber wolves and harbour seals (thankfully kept away from the polar bears!)  One other feature of the zoo I liked was the indoor polar-themed playground. Our son, David, who is ten was not quite the target audience but we were visiting with friends who had an eight year old and six year old.  They took full advantage of the playground and it brought back memories for me of Cosmic Adventures in Ottawa.

The Forks -  Perhaps the most important and popular destination in Winnipeg is The Forks.  Located in downtown Winnipeg, The Forks are found where the Assiniboine and Red River meet up.   The site has also been a meeting place for the past 6000 years as archaeological digs show it was used by Aboriginal peoples.  More recently, it was a centralized site for fur traders, Metis buffalo hunters, Scottish settlers and everyone else in between!

The Forks - Winnipeg

Today, The Forks mixes in the contemporary with the historic.  You can find the Manitoba Children’s Museum along with numerous displays detailing the history of the area.  For our family, we gravitated towards the Forks Market where you can find numerous restaurant kiosks and vendors selling a variety of products.  Our favourite food stall was Fergie’s Fish ‘n Chips where we appropriately had delicious Fish ‘n Chips wrapped up in newspaper.

We also enjoyed climbing up to the top of a small tower found in the Market.  We were treated to a panoramic view of The Forks and the two rivers.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights -  Opened, in 2014,  the Human Rights museum has helped to put Winnipeg on the map as a tourist destination.  The first thing a visitor will notice is the unique architecture. The curved form blends in seamlessly with the landscape.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg, Manitoba

The museum might not seem to be the most obvious choice for those with younger children.  The exhibits deal with hard subjects including the Canada’s mistreatment of Aboriginal peoples and the Holocaust.   Our son, David, loves history so really enjoyed the museum. While difficult issues are addressed, the exhibits tell the story from the perspective we can all make a difference in improving human rights.  

A visit to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Accommodation -  For our time in Winnipeg, we stayed at Delta Hotels by Marriott Winnipeg.  Located right in downtown Winnipeg, it was only about a fifteen minute walk to The Forks and the Human Rights Museum.  Aside from the location, David loved the indoor and rooftop swimming pool. His parents more enjoyed the hot tub after touring around all day!  

The perfect place to start all tour planning to Winnipeg is at www.tourismwinnipeg.com.

Disclaimer: Tourism Winnipeg assisted Stephen with hotel and attractions but all views are his own.