Roadtrip: Ottawa

Saturday morning I was up early for a run before we got in the car to head to Ottawa. Only about 2 hours from Montreal, Parker took his morning nap while we drove.

Our first stop as we drove into Ottawa was for breakfast at The Sconewitch, a delicious bakery chain local to Ottawa known for its amazing variety of delicious scones. We got a sampling of several different flavors to try.

Cranberry-orange, currant-ginger, oatmeal, cheddar, feta, jalapeno

The next stop was just outside Ottawa at Gatineau park in Chelsea, where we hiked to the Carbide Willson ruins. Theorized to be built out in the woods due to Thomas “Carbide” Willson’s paranoia that competitors would steal his ideas, the house was left to fall to ruins by one of Willson’s investors who acquired the property when Willson went bankrupt.

The hike was relatively short and though slightly hilly, pretty easy.

We wandered around the ruins of the house and the old mill for some time before heading back down the trail. The ruins were gorgeous.

Original photo of the Carbide Willson ruins

We then headed back for our drive into Ottawa proper.

Our first stop in the city was at our hotel, the historic Fairmont Chateau Laurier, to check in and drop off our car.

From there we were all set to spend our day wandering and sightseeing. We headed west towards the Parliament buildings.

Then we had a nice easy walk around the buildings and back east up the Trans-Canada Trail that follows the Ottawa river. This took us towards Byward Market, and we found some coffee along the way.

We then spent most of the early afternoon wandering the marketplace, and we even purchased a “Beavertail”, sort of like a solid funnel cake, from the Beavertails stall in the market.

After cruising the market we were feeling pretty toasty in the hot sunshine, so we headed inside the Canadian National Gallery to take a break from the heat and see the exhibits.

Notre-Dame, across from the Canadian National Gallery

I especially liked the works of Lawren Harris, a Canadian artist featured prominently in one of the galleries.

We stopped in the gallery cafe for a snack and to feed Parker, and enjoyed a salad and a cocktail before headed back into a few more exhibits.

Upon finishing up in the galleries, we headed up to Napean point, right behind the gallery, for some breathtaking views of the city.

Parker was ready for a break from his stroller, so we took him back to our hotel room to let him crawl around for a bit while we made plans for dinner.

We headed down to Chez Lucien, a pub in the Byward market area, that may not look like much from the outside, but had incredible reviews that it definitely lived up to. Jordan had a burger and I had the protein pasta, and we split the brie and phyllo salad with Parker for an appetizer. It was all amazing and definitely one of the best meals of our trip.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel to get some much needed rest before our next big travel day.

Sunday morning we were up early for a final walk around the city before heading out to Toronto. We were hoping to see the changing of the guard at Parliament, but it turned out that we just missed it as the last day of the season had been the day before!

We took about twenty minutes to watch boats go through the locks at the Rideau Canal, which is fascinating. The Ottawa locks consist of 8 locks, that take approximately 1.5 hours to pass through, and drop ships a total of 79 feet.

After watching the rigorous process of three boats go through a single lock, we headed back to check out from our hotel. Our last stop in Ottawa was to take a quick look at Rideau Falls before navigating towards Toronto.

The drive to Toronto was about 4.5 hours, mostly highway, but quite a long way for the little one. We took a break part way to stop at Tim Horton’s and see what all the fuss is about… I have to say it was a little underwhelming. McDonalds + doughnuts + Canadian accents = Tim Horton’s.

We hit a ton of traffic coming into Toronto, so unfortunately our trip took an extra hour. Our first stop was at The Lockhart, the one and only Harry Potter-themed bar in Toronto.

The bar was super cute, although it was in a little bit of a rough neighborhood. Jordan had the Betterbeer, and I had the Julep of Fire.

“Julep of Fire”

If we didn’t have Parker with us we probably would have stayed for another round, but he was at the end of his rope so we headed out early.

We stayed at the Omni King Edward Hotel while we were in Toronto, and I have to say, of the hotels we stayed in on this trip, this was definitely my favorite. Our room was nice, although not necessarily nicer than any of the others we had, but the hotel was so kind and accommodating of our baby. They were one of the few who already had a crib in the room for us, and they also had a welcome kit for the baby including a chocolate chip cookie.

Room service brought us a second cookie around dinner time on our second night’s stay as well.

The first night it was pretty late by the time we got settled at the hotel, so we ordered room service for dinner. Parker was already asleep by the time the food arrived so we had a fairly quiet dinner before heading to bed.

Back later with our Toronto update!


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