Illustration by Jeannie Phan
Rediscover Ottawa, which walks the line between charming town and cosmopolitan city, with first-class cultural and historic experiences.
Modern digs: Alt Hotel Ottawa
Rest your head at the Canadian-owned Alt Hotel in downtown Ottawa, where you can grab snacks (or full meals) in the lobby and keep up your yoga practice with the hotel's new Nama-Stay yoga videos. Bonus: The Alt is eco-friendly, with geothermal energy used for heating and cooling, plus energy-efficient lighting.
Historic haven: The Century House Bed and Breakfast Ottawa
With just four rooms, The Century House offers a quaint stay without skimping on modern amenities such as free parking and Wi-Fi. It's known for its gourmet breakfasts (think indulgent waffles or a hearty frittata), served up family-style in the dining room.
Morning munch: Benny's Bistro
Hidden behind The French Baker in the ByWard Market, this is a tiny gem that serves some of our all-time favourite brekkies. Order the buckwheat crêpe, which is stuffed with ham and Gruyère and topped with an egg.
Dinner hour: Absinthe Café
Stop by this Wellington West hot spot for French-inspired cuisine and a taste of its namesake drink. On Monday nights, there's a special fondue menu; go with friends and order cheese and meat varieties to share, then finish with the Valrhona chocolate fondue for dessert.
Sweet treat: Moo Shu Ice Cream & Kitchen
Try small-batch ice creams and ice cream truffles made with Ontario dairy and fresh, sometimes surprising, ingredients, like craft beer or lime leaves.
Spring: C'est Bon Gourmet Food Tours
Take a guided walking and tasting tour of one of Ottawa's famed foodie neighbourhoods: the ByWard Market, Wellington Street, Preston Street (Little Italy), the Glebe or Chinatown.
This outdoor music fest will celebrate the country's 150th anniversary with performances by Canadian artists, plus contributions by other international artists.
Fall: The Canada Science and Technology Museum
After $80.5 million in renos, the museum will reopen in November, just in time for its 50th anniversary of celebrating Canadian innovations, such as a prototype of the world's first pacemaker and a cobalt-60 therapy machine from the '50s—at the time, a revolutionary new way to deliver radiation to cancer patients.
Winter: Nordik Spa-Nature
Spend a day rotating between the spa's seven outdoor baths and eight saunas. Book a massage for ultimate R&R.
WHAT'S CLOSE BY?
If you have the time to range farther afield, here are three other spots to see in Ontario.
2 1/2 hours away: Thousand Islands
A pretty archipelago with ton of history (it was once pirate territory!), this region is now an ideal spot to go boating, hiking and exploring historic castles.
3 hours away: Prince Edward County
Visit a few of the dozens of artist studios and galleries in the region, where you can even take an art class—in between wine tastings, of course.
OTTAWA THE GREAT
To celebrate Canada's sesquicentennial—the 150th anniversary of Confederation—Ottawa is leading the charge with a full year of awe-inspiring events. Here's a small sampling of what's on in our nation's capital.
March 3 and 4: Red Bull Crashed Ice
Watch downhill skaters race to the finish line on a huge track that runs along the locks of the Rideau Canal— which will be the final leg of the 2016–17 ice cross downhill championship.
May 20 to Sept. 4: Inspiration Village
Located in the historic ByWard Market, Inspiration Village will pay tribute to our provinces and territories, while also showcasing special exhibits and performing-arts events.
All summer long: Kontinuum, an "underground multimedia experience"
Though the Confederation Line of Ottawa's Light Rail Transit won't open until 2018, one underground station will be transformed into a futuristic world by a 10-weeklong multimedia presentation.
Nov. 26: The 105th Grey Cup
This year, Canada's capital will host the CFL's annual championship game.
Ignite 150: In a series of 17 stunts spaced throughout the year—from yoga on a barge accompanied by a live orchestra to gourmet dining at a table suspended nearly 50 metres in the air—Ottawa will delight visitors and residents with once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Ottawa Welcomes the world: Ottawa's many embassies and high commissions will be given the opportunity to take over Aberdeen Pavilion and the Horticulture Building with multicultural celebrations including food, art and music.
Agri 150: More than 20 unique one-day outdoor events in 2017 will showcase Ottawa's food and drink, such as the Wine and Words Tour, which will take participants to local wineries to sample wine and cheese, with a local author to tell stories at each stop.
For more events and info, visit ottawa2017.ca.
Photography by Brett Walther Image by: Photography by Brett Walther
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Get the recipe: Chicken Skwers with Peanut Lime Dipping Sauce
Charring the cherry tomatoes adds flavour, and they still hold their shape.
Get the recipe: Yogurt-Spiced Chicken with Grilled Tomato Kabobs
Fragrant with coconut, ginger and shallots, this bright flavored curry is best served over jasmine rice or rice noodles.
Get the recipe: Thai Coconut Chicken Simmer
This is a slow cooker version of one of The Test Kitchen's favourite braised chicken dishes
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Lemon and Olive Chicken
Kielbasa sausage gives this chili a hearty texture and lots of flavour.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker White Bean and Kielbasa Chili
This mild, sweet curry has all the comforting flavours of a curry without too much spice, making it a great choice for the entire family.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Peanut Chicken Curry
A sweet glaze makes grilled chicken shine-literally!
Get the recipe: Fig Balsamic-Glazed Chicken Thighs
Tender chicken thighs make a juicy canvas for painting on this rosemary and mustard glaze.
Get the recipe: Grilled Rosemary-Mustard Chicken
I love Vietnamese food and have fond memories of bonding with my mother over hot bowls of pho and crispy fresh rolls.
Get the recipe: Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi
Simple pantry ingredients make a flavourful sweet-and-sticky glaze for juicy chicken thighs.
Get the recipe: Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs with Lemon-Broccoli Couscous
These cheesy chicken thighs taste like Jalapeno poppers and are the perfect fit for a family-friendly meal.
Get the recipe: Cheese and Jalapeno-Stuffed Chicken Thighs
With plenty of noodles, kale, sweet potatoes and chicken in every bite, this soup is satisfying and healing for your taste buds, your body and your soul.
Get the recipe: Souper Chicken Noodle
You know what saves time on a busy weeknight? Making a marinade that doubles as a salad dressing base.
Get the recipe: Miso Chicken with Broccoli Slaw
Ideal to dig into on a chilly evening, this one pot chicken stew comes together in no time.
Get the recipe: Quick Chicken and White Bean Stew
Chicken thighs are less expensive than breasts and they give this robust soup added heartiness.
Get the recipe: Curried Lentil and Chicken Soup
Topping Vietnamese-inspired tacos with a fresh carrot salad adds the perfect amount of crunch.
Get the recipe: Lemongrass Chicken Tacos
This sodium-reduced, vegetable-packed dinner is full of flavour and comes together in half an hour.
Get the recipe: Chicken Ratatouille with Lemon Basil Polenta
This hearty French stew (named after the earthenware pot that it's traditionally cooked in) normally takes hours to prepare. Using canned beans and chicken thighs (instead of the usual duck confit) allows you to get in on the table in minutes.
Get the recipe: Quick Cassoulet Stew
Get the recipe: Chicken Skewers with Peanut Lime Dipping Sauce
Economical one-pot recipes like this one are essential in everyone's repertoire. Toasted walnuts and fresh herbs bring a pleasant crunch and bright flavour to this Mediterranean- inspired dish. Use California walnuts for the freshest flavour.
Get the recipe: Chicken Pilaf with Spinach and Walnuts
Tagine is a stew eaten all over Morocco served in earthenwear pots of the same name. All tagines start with a spice base, often including cinnamon, saffron, turmeric and cumin. Serve with lemon wedges over couscous or with flatbread to soak up the delicious juices.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Saffron Chicken and Apricot Tagine