Archives for Lifestyle

Turn your Vacation into a Staycation: Activities for families in Ottawa 

Fun things to do in OttawaSummer is a wonderful time to spend a little quality time with friends and family; things are more relaxed, the kids are out of school and you won’t have to worry about a last minute snow storm interfering with travel plans (well here’s hoping!) .

But organizing a family vacation, especially when you have young children, can be stressful (just think of the Griswalds). The packing, planning, stopping, driving, – the list could go on and on. Have you ever arrived at your destination tired, wishing you’d just stayed home?  If the answer is yes, you can take the stress out of your vacation this year, and turn it into a “Staycation”!

At this moment, you’re certainly considering this option, but wondering what there possibly could be to do in Ottawa for a family that already lives here? Have no fear; we have the answers you are looking for.

Staycations are becoming a popular option for many families, as leaving home can be stressful, and expensive. In Ottawa, there are many options for families looking for things to do this summer during their family holidays including, but not limited to; museums, parks, festivals, Mooney’s Bay, Calypso Water Park, Saunders Farm and many more. These activities offer a change from your usual summer activities, without the stress of being far from home.

Ottawa Museums & Parks

Ottawa is a city that is home to many wonderful museums and exhibits just a short distance from your front door. These museums offer a wide variety of topics, from nature to history, to art galleries and more – Ottawa has a museum for every learning opportunity and interest. A more detailed list of museums and their special exhibits this summer can give you a better way to choose which museum to go to first! Don’t miss out on the brains, war history, gallery exhibits and more that will be making their way to museums in the Capital this summer.

Saunders’ Farm
Join Saunders’ Farm this summer for an array of family activities that will fill your staycation with laughter. From challenging mazes to an expanded pedal cart race track to hayride farm tours, a splash pad, and the new jumbo jumpers, Saunders’ Farm has activities for the whole family to enjoy. With reasonable family rates, and even offering a summer camp for kids – this is a stop you don’t want to miss out on.

Beaches, Splash Pads, & Water Parks
Keep cool this summer by visiting one of the city’s many splash pads, or have a relaxing family beach day at Mooney’s Bay Park, on the Rideau Canal. As one of the city’s four supervised beaches, you can relax knowing there are lifeguards on site each day. There is a picnic area, indoor change rooms, and a children’s playground to enjoy. Hike the Hog’s Back Nature Trails, see the Rideau Locks in action, or liven up your day with an interactive Pirate Adventure in Mooney’s Bay. This live theater cruise is on a real pirate ship in the heart of Mooney’s Bay.

There are over 100 splash pads in Ottawa to choose from, each with their own assortment of activities and features. Some splash pads feature water cannons, spray loops, dumping buckets and more, each with their own “cool” functionality. Make it a family mission this summer to visit as many of the 100 splash pads located across the city or find your favourite ones to enjoy this summer sunshine!

If you’re looking for something a little more thrilling than beaches or splash pads, look no further than Calypso Water Park, located here in Ottawa. Opening this year on June 6, the park features water activities for all ages. This park is home to the largest wave pool in Canada and features over 35 different water slides, two themed rivers, and 100 water games. Dive into the adventures of Calypso Water Park and keep the whole family cool and entertained this summer break.

Action and Arcades

With its very own escape room, laser tag, bumper cars, jungle gyms and more – FunHaven is Ottawa’s one-stop shop for family fun. Try your hand at their rock climbing wall, or challenge your family to an epic game of laser tag. Children 0-3years enter for free, and with tons of different arcade games and activities to choose from, there’s fun for the whole family to enjoy!   House of Targ is another hidden gem of Ottawa, located in Old Ottawa South just down the street from TD place. If you’re looking for a cool space with a retro vibe, this is it!  Ottawa’s only true classic arcade, at House of Targ you can play over 35 pinball and classic Arcade games (yes, even PACMAN!). While you might not think of this as a “family” outing, it is very kid friendly during the day and their perogies are AMAZING. After 8pm House of Targ has some of the best live rock, punk and metal shows in the city.

Treat yourself

After all that family time you might be looking for a wee bit of “me time”.  Le Nordik Spa, is located at the entrance of Gatineau Park and is one of Ottawa’s most popular “staycation” activities for millennials and baby boomers alike.  Offering relaxation using techniques from the Nordic countries you can take time to unwind and re-energize in Nordic baths, waterfalls, steam baths, saunas, and more.  Book a massage or body treatment and even enjoy a meal – baby you’re worth it!  And it’s only 10 minutes from downtown Gatineau-Ottawa.


ByWard Market, City Fun & Other Ideas

Tour the ByWard Market this summer and see what little shops and hidden gems you can discover downtown, or take a visit to Parliament Hill to tour the Parliament Buildings. Enjoy our regal Parliament buildings, stop at museums and shops throughout the day, and celebrate the nightlife Ottawa has to offer. Check out the ByWard Market’s website to view any festivals or entertainment happening during your time and plan to visit a festival or see a show! Test your family’s skills and visit one of the many escape rooms across the city. Whether you’re looking to solve a mystery or follow the clues – see how fast you can escape! If you want to add a little extra sparkle to your staycation, try a night away from home right here in Ottawa. Book a night at the Brookstreet Hotel, Ottawa’s luxury four-diamond hotel. Offering family-rate packages, a night away from home is a piece of cake. The hotel features dining options, indoor and outdoor saltwater pool, and has complimentary kid’s activities. Check into relaxation by checking out their family rate packages.

Whatever your family chooses to do this summer, take the stress out of a vacation and try your hand at a “Staycation.” Become a tourist in your city and enjoy all the family fun the beautiful Capital has to offer. With no worries about what to do with your children this summer to stay entertained, and not needing someone to watch your house and pets – you’ll certainly be less stressed! Enjoy family fun time right at home, and get a good night’s rest in your very own bed.

We might be bias but Ottawa is a pretty great place to live!

You’ve done your research, found the perfect Realtor, crunched the numbers, created your list of must-haves and now it’s time to start the exciting process of HOUSE HUNTING! When you’re looking at homes for sale it isn’t always easy to look beyond the cosmetics.  Not to worry, we’ve created this handy graphic to help home buyers to stay focused.

Viewing tips for Buyers graphic-2

You’ve done your research, found the perfect Realtor, crunched the numbers, created your list of must-haves and now it’s time to start the exciting process of HOUSE HUNTING! When you’re looking at homes for sale it isn’t always easy to look past the cosmetics.  Not to worry, we’ve created this handy graphic to help home buyers to stay focused.

Landlords and Legalization: What budding weed laws may mean for Landlords

With the legalization of marijuana on the horizon, property owners of rental units are wondering what that will mean for them. As all the rules and regulations surrounding cannabis use have yet to be ironed out, it’s only natural that landlords are beginning express concern, or in some cases excitement surrounding the opportunities legalization will present.

The legalization of medical cannabis passed in 2001, but as Canada moves forward to legalize the use of cannabis across the country, there are many different views surrounding the changes. With multiple angles to consider, it’s no wonder that landlords across the country are beginning to question, challenge, and prepare for the pending legalization. What are the pro and con sides of the debate surrounding legalization for landlords, and how might rental properties be affected by the new legislation?

Firstly, one of the stipulations surrounding the new legislations is that marijuana can only be smoked in private residences. With this stipulation, there are two clear opinions stemming from landlords surrounding the pending legalisations:

  • Against – due to questions of property value, maintenance, and lack of control over their rental units
  • For legalisation – viewing legalisation as an opportunity in the rental market, as there will be a need to fill

Looking initially at those against legalization, and their concerns surrounding property values, costs of fumigation, and loss of control within their rental units, it is understandable why landlords are questioning how they will be able to control their properties once smoking weed becomes a legal right, contained to private residences. Much like how many landlords have clauses surrounding not allowing pets within their units, it is likely that there will be a surge in rental units that are anti-weed smoking, meaning that tenants are not permitted to smoke weed in these units. Although it is a tricky situation to regulate, as smoking weed is going to be a legal right, it is possible to see landlords increasing their rents, and tightening up conditions of leases in order to accommodate the new legislation and the costs that could be ensued. In the same way that landlords try and regulate the type and number of pets permitted in each unit, it is possible that they will attempt to make these same regulations surrounding marijuana in order to protect their property from damages, the need to fumigate, and to ensure the well being and happiness of al their tenants. A potential surge in rent increases could lead renters to be searching for weed-friendly apartments, (much like pet-friendly apartments), which could see a rise in vacancies in some places, along with some renters seeking out the option to purchase a private residence in order to enjoy their space freely, and as they see fit.

On the other hand, some landlords are viewing this new legislation as an opportunity to take advantage of what will be a need in the market, much like those who take advantage of the need/want for pet-friendly rental options. The legalisation of marijuana opens a new need in the rental market for properties that will allow tenants to smoke, and grow their plants hassle free. With this opportunity, landlords can specialize their units with these new stipulations in mind, allowing those who wish to be able to smoke without hassle to find living arrangements that are both suitable, and enjoyable to them. With some landlords pushing to ban cannabis smoking in rental units, it is possible that cannabis users could end up with no where left to go, unless units like these exist. Although they may see a slight increase in the cost of renting these units, the ability to partake in cannabis use without issue is attractive to those seeking to exercise their legal rights. Much like those individuals who look specifically for rental units that allow pets, these tenants may result in fewer vacancies and longer tenancies, as the accommodations will be difficult to find with many landlords being against the new stipulations. Although the desire to smoke and grow cannabis would not be a requirement to live in a rental unit such as this, new tenants would have to be okay with the fact that the building does allow tenants to partake in their legal right, and therefore would minimize possible complaints surrounding smoke and pot smell. Although there is much to still be decided and ironed out in terms of details on these types of rental properties, it is certain to be a wise investment and a new opportunity to take advantage of within the market.

The new legislation is a topic of discussion all around, surrounding use, growth, and ability to purchase marijuana, and it’s regulation. Landlords are preparing themselves for the coming changes, whether they are pro, or con, in terms of the new legislation and how their properties may change for existing and new tenants. It is possible there will be a rise in tenants seeking out marijuana friendly rental units, willing to pay premium prices for personal privacy and their ability to smoke hassle free.

December has arrived! And with it, for many, comes the anticipation of holiday activities, traditions and celebrating with family and friends.

We’ve been lucky to have had some truly incredible events in the Ottawa area this year, but it’s not over yet!   As Canada 150 comes to a close, there are a multitude of Christmas events that are taking place all over our City, allowing us to commemorate the end of one year, and the start of something new with our family and our friends. Here’s a taste of what’s happening in Ottawa this holiday season:

  • Alight at Night at Upper Canada Village: travel back in time to the days where wagons were drawn by horses, and buildings were built by hand to view the magic that is the over half a million lights lit up throughout the village’s streets, trees, shops and homes. From December 1st to January 6th between the hours of 5pm and 9pm, Upper Canada Village will offer scenic horse drawn wagon rides, a life size gingerbread house, a toy train ride for the kids and so much more.
  • Originals Ottawa Christmas Craft Sale: Ottawa’s very own 10-day holiday shopping event! Between December 7th and 17th, the EY Centre will gather some of Canada’s most talented artists, artisans and designers for you to meet and purchase from – over 200 to be exact! A great opportunity to support our local community as well as cross a few items off your shopping list! For more information on hours, admission and handmade goods, follow this link to their website.
  • Stanley’s Christmas Village: get whisked away by horse drawn carriage to Ottawa’s only Elf Village! Every Saturday and Sunday through December (until the 23rd), Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm offers you and your family the ultimate Christmas experience – as seen through the eyes of an elf. Enjoy a hot cup of cocoa, and take a ride through the Wrapping Warehouse, The Reindeer Stables, Ginger’s Bakery and so much more. And hey, why not end your day selecting your very own Christmas tree? Freshly cut, locally grown trees are now available at the Farm – all additional details can be found here!
  • Viewing the Christmas Lights: With our nation celebrating its 150th milestone this year, the City of Ottawa (and across the bridge into Gatineau) have set up thousands of lights for your viewing pleasures. Catch the glow between December 7th and January 7th of 2018. And it doesn’t end there! if you’d like to experience even more spectacular “drive-through” light displays this holiday season, load up the car, blast the Christmas tunes and venture to the Magic of Lights in Ottawa’s west end at Wesley Clover Parks or even the beloved Taffy Lane in Orleans.

Needless to say, the number of Christmas activities that our City has planned for us this holiday season are endless – and absolutely amazing. From rides in sleighs to light displays, there is something for everyone and more. Have a safe and memorable holiday!