Five reasons to love spring in Ottawa

There are many reasons to love Ottawa every time of year, but there is something magical about this time of year that puts a little extra 'spring' in my step. So, with that in mind, here are five reasons to love spring in Ottawa: 

1)   Sugar Bushes

Maple Syrup Season

Maple syrup season is pretty much over, but this spring was one of the best I can remember with an overabundance of sap and maple syrup – yum! Packing up the family and heading to various sugar bushes in the Ottawa region for pancake breakfasts and wagon rides is a tradition in our house and is a favourite early spring time activity. Some of our favourite sugar bushes within the Ottawa area include: Fulton’s Pancake House, Proulx Maple & Berry Farm and Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm. We never leave for home without at least one litre of fresh local maple syrup. 

2)   Baby Animals

Back before my daughter frequented the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum on school trips, we would make a point to visit the working farm every spring to visit the barns to see lambs, calves, piglets and ducklings. The farm is oozing with cuteness in the springtime and is a great place to educate your child on Canadian agriculture and farming. And if you are lucky enough to visit on a warm day there are plenty of areas for family picnics and the onsite playground is always a hit with the kids.

3)   Canadian Tulip Festival

Tulip Festival

The Tulip Festival takes place May 12-23rd this year, and runs annually for about two weeks. It’s your chance to snap some gorgeous photos of your little ones smelling some of the more than one million tulips in bloom. The best spots to see the tulips are along the Rideau Canal, Dow’s Lake and Commissioner’s Park. Ottawa Tourism has a handy “Tulip Map,” which is great for planning your trip.

4)   Parks reopen

We love to ski and snowshoe, but there is nothing more fun for my daughter than heading to the neighbourhood park with friends after school for a little fresh air and fun. Kids in the Capital has written about many great Ottawa parks in the past (you can find those posts by clicking here), but we’re always looking for updated information or information on new neighbourhood parks, so if you have a favourite park let us know!


5)   Longer Days

The earlier sun rise means I am more inclined to get my morning jog in before noon and the longer evenings mean we all have more energy and desire to not only do our chores, homework, etc. but we also have time to get outside and have fun before the sun sets.

What are some of your favourite things about spring in Ottawa? To be honest, my absolute favourite thing is sitting in the backyard on a warm spring evening chatting with my husband over a glass of red wine… and I love hearing the bird chirping outside my window at 4:30 in the morning (my husband, however, does not). ;) 

Spring Biking

We went out for our first family ride today after a super long winter. My husband and I are training for several charity bike rides this summer, so we were long overdue for a venture out. Living in Orleans, we headed north to the river pathway. As we turned towards the direction of Petrie Island, we quickly realized the path was impassable. Spring flooding has covered both directions!

We decided to turn around and head back towards the house and do some side streets on the way. Just as my husband started to peddle off, the chain on his bike snapped. And being totally unprepared, we hadn't brought any tools or even a cell phone.

I decided to peddle home myself and pick everyone up with the car. The girls were very happy to run around the giant field down by the river, and were super tired by the time we got home.

So lesson of the day? When you're heading out for your first ride, make sure to do a proper bike tune-up ;)

Here are some resources for bike tune-ups in Ottawa:

Re-Cylces: A Community Bike Shop
Kunstadt Sport Kanata
Giant Orleans
Full Cycle 

Now to figure out an alternative biking route to work that will bypass the flooding!

Kids in the Capital: Spring Call for Pictures

by Karen Have you been enjoying our winter collage at the top of our web site? We have. It's so fun to look at pictures of kids from the KIC community doing fun stuff in Ottawa when we come to the blog.

It's hard to believe that March isn't even over and the snow is practically all gone. But you know what the snow melting means? SPRING!

Last spring was a fun one for the Wilsons. Brandon turned 3 and we marked the day by visiting the Museum of Science and Tech. Not long after, we took him to the Agriculture Museum for the first time. We made a trip across the river on a ferry and drove to Manotick to see Watson's Mill, among other things.

One the the best parts of last spring was a little discovery we made in the top of the arbor over our gate. Three little robin eggs. We got to watch the eggs appear one by one, see the babies hatch and wave as they flew away.

What did you do last spring? Do you have memories you'd like us to consider including in the KIC banner? Email your photos (or links) to!

Thank you to everyone in advance for your help!

A Very Good Day at the Agriculture Museum

by Natasha The Canada Agriculture Museum is a fantastic place to take your kids on a holiday weekend, like I did at Easter. The Museum has many activities planned for busy family-oriented weekends. There may be a line-up to get inside, but it’s really worth the wait.

My family and I stood in line for half an hour before getting inside for the 11 o’clock set of activities, but once in we were very happy to have ignored the size of the lineup and persevered anyway. The Easter bunny that walked up and down along the lineup was a really good distraction for some of the fussy kids, and the staff were very accommodating and quick at getting everyone in with the least amount of hassle.

Those with memberships for the Museum don’t have to wait in line at all, so it may be worth looking into if you’re a regular at the Museum.

The tour started with us meeting the new baby rabbits. There are specific times during the day where staff members bring out the bunnies for the children to see. We met a tiny and fluffy six-week lion head bunny, and Baby H was absolutely mesmerized.

After the bunny meet, we headed towards the dairy barn to see the cows. Last year, when Baby H first saw large cows, he got really scared. This year, he was very interested in the creatures and spent some time watching them eat and drink. He walked around the barn, saying “Moo” to every passerby and eventually ended up seeing the new calves that were just born.

Our next stop was the tractor exhibit. We saw different and old models, and sat in the John Deere simulator tractor. I think there’s a future for Baby H in farming, as he was very happy with his Grandpa in the simulator swaying back and forth and pretending to drive it around. Baby H had a giant smile the entire time he was fake-driving and was very happy for the duration of the visit.

Baby H made some more tiny furry friends when he spend some time watching little chicks that were waddling back and forth in their cages. There was an entire process in the Museum showing children the egg hatching process, with some of the older kids designing their own eggs and some colouring pictures of chicks.

The Easter bunny that kept us company at the lineup was walking around the farm handing out chocolates to attendees. Baby H participated in the Easter Egg Hunt, and traded in some colourful eggs for special chocolate treats.

And finally, a quick visit to the demonstration kitchen showed us how the delicious hot cross buns are made. We couldn't pass this up, as the buns are one of my family’s favourite treats.

If you’re looking for a fun outing with your family on a holiday or long weekend, head over to the Canada Agriculture Museum and brave the lineups for some of their special events and activities, and put Easter at the Farm on your to do list for next year! Your children will definitely enjoy their time there.

Natasha is a new mommy to her first born, Baby H. She runs ShopHaven, a blog that reviews products and profiles local businesses and individuals from the Ottawa area. Natasha is also the creative force behind ShopHaven Baskets; a highly customized gift baskets service.